Friday, 16 March 2012

Film Review: "John Carter" (2012)

"Mars. So you name it and think that you know it. The red planet, no air, no life. But you do not know Mars, for its true name is Barsoom. And it is not airless, nor is it dead, but it is dying. The city of Zodanga saw to that." This is what’s going down in Disney’s John Carter. This epic science fiction action film directed by Andrew Stanton and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the interplanetary adventures of John Carter from Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series. The film centers on Former Confederate captain John Carter who is mysteriously transported to Mars (Barsoom) where he becomes part of a conflict between the various nations of the planet. Carter takes it upon himself to save Barsoom and its people from a growing threat.

Andrew Stanton, director of the animated Pixar hits WALL-E (2008) and Finding Nemo (2003), lobbied the Walt Disney Studios to reacquire the rights from Burroughs' estate. He then lobbied Disney heavily for the chance to direct the film, pitching it as "Indiana Jones on Mars." The studio was initially skeptical. He had never directed a live-action film before, and wanted to make the film without any major stars whose names could guarantee an audience, at least on opening weekend. The screenplay was seen as confusing and difficult to follow. But since Stanton had overcome similar preproduction doubts to make WALL-E and Finding Nemo into hits, the studio approved him as director. By 2008 they completed the first draft for Part One of a John Carter film trilogy; the first film is based only on the first novel. In April 2009 author Michael Chabon confirmed he had been hired to revise the script. Following the completion of WALL-E, Stanton visited the archives of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., in Tarzana, California, as part of his research. Jim Morris, general manager of Pixar, said the film will have a unique look that is distinct from Frank Frazetta's illustrations, which they both found dated. He also noted that although he had less time for pre-production than for any of his usual animated projects, the task was nevertheless relatively easy since he had read the Burroughs' novels as a child and had already visualized many of its scenes.

The film stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Haden Church, Dominic West, James Purefoy, and Willem Dafoe. The cast gave disappointing performances, ranging from just plain to total utter cliché despite the effort.

John Carter is an unqualified disaster. It fails so completely that you might suspect Mr. Stanton sold his soul to obtain the success of Finding Nemo and WALL-E and the Devil has just come around to collect. It is the most scandalous cinematic waste I have ever seen since Battlefield Earth (2000) and Heaven’s Gate (1980), and I've seen both. This is a movie that has destroyed the director's career. This is a movie that lost so much money it is literally a major financial loss for an American studio. This is a movie about a man from Virginia who is trapped on Mars and who is in the middle of an epic struggle between good and evil. This is a movie that stars Taylor Kitsch as a warrior who can "jump". This is a movie in which Mars is called "Barsoom". This is a movie that has five minutes of uninterrupted talking about what is right and what is wrong (I suppose). This is a movie that defies belief. Even though it deserves praise or recognition for its stylistic visuals and special effects, it has to be one of the worst films ever made and one of the worst films of 2012.

Simon says John Carter receives:

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