Monday, June 11, 2012
It was just ok.
Visually it was pretty nice to look at, but it says something about a sci-fi epic that the earlier scenes in New York of the 19th century and the desert of Arizona were more visually interesting and beautiful than the Maritian Landscapes to which our hero is transported. The Martian vistas were just a little bland, and the alien technology and architecture didn't thrill me all that much. I did love the look of Tars Tarkas, however, and I felt that he was perfectly captured and just about the best character in the film. The CG on Tars and the others was great, but some of the other effects (especially the ships) was kind of weak, which was odd considering this film's notorious budget.
Storywise, it was fine, although it did seem to meander quite a bit. It didn't have the sense of urgency or adventure that made the novels so thrilling and fun. This had a nice, lighthearted tone that was still reverent to original author Edgar Rice Burroughs, but all in all it just made me want to go reread the books instead of finding a new Blu Ray so I could finish the movie. But if you're a big fan of the novels, you won't find much new here, but at least you won't find anything off-putting or offensive. And if you're never read the books, maybe you'll find this more exciting and original than I did. It's certainly fun and likable enough.
But the absolute worst thing about this movie was our hero. John Carter, the Warlord of Mars himself, was played with an otherworldly blandness by Taylor Kitsch. This guy was seriously boring and sunk just about every scene he was in, which is a shame because he's the star and his character's name is even the title of the movie. This was an odd casting choice in my opinion, not only because he was so wrong for the role (too young, too bland, too... just not very good), but because the rest of the cast included such wonderful actors like Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Bryan Cranston, Dominic West, Ciaran Hinds, and the voice of Willem Dafoe. Other than our star, that's a cool cast. So why didn't they get somebody cool to play our hero?
Anyway, this movie was ok, but maybe I'd feel less ok about it had I sat through more of it. Then again, matbe the ending was amazing and I missed the worst part. I'm ok with never finding out.