John Carter (2012)

John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) realises too late that reports of Mars being uninhabited were inaccurate

Can a poorly chosen name really cause a film to flop? Well it can’t help and John Carter is certainly one of the worst names for a film since…. well maybe ‘The Phantom Menace’, which managed to make Star Wars : Episode 1 sound like an episode of Scooby Doo.

This name certainly tells you nothing about the film which is based on a 1912 Edgar Rice Burrough’s book ‘The Princess of Mars’, and sees ex US cavalryman John Carter transported to the red planet. Once there, Carter finds that he has superhuman strength and jumping ability – due to the reduced gravitational pull – and becomes involved in a conflict between two Martian tribes.

It’s hard to find a decent film set on Mars, and John Carter doesn’t really buck that trend. Part of the problem is the location is so uninspiring. It’s basically a big red dusty desert with rivers (I don’t know why it has rivers but hey it’s a film). On a positive note the film tells it’s story well, and is very reminiscent of old-fashioned adventure films e.g. The Clash of the Titans, and Sinbad. Although a more modern day equivalent might be The Prince of Persia.

Some of the acting is bad, notably female lead Lynn Collins who plays Martian Princess and chief romantic interest Deja Thoris, is slightly wooden in her delivery. One of the main villans in the film Sab Than (Dominic West) isn’t charismatic enough and comes across as a bland villian. However primary antagonist Mark Strong as the leader of the evil Therns is a lot more interesting, and provides some much needed menace.

Watch it : as a piece of entertainment with dramatic but unspectacular action sequences
Don’t Watch it : if you are looking for a meaningful cinematic experience or good acting.

An average 5/10

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