Transported to Barsoom, a Civil War vet discovers a barren planet seemingly inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter Woola and a princess in desperate need of a savior.
The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father's corrupted creation and a unique ally who was born inside the digital world.
A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led - goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.
John Carter, a Civil War veteran, who in 1868 was trying to live a normal life, is "asked" by the Army to join, but he refuses so he is locked up. He escapes, and is pursued. Eventually they run into some Indians, and there's a gunfight. Carter seeks refuge in a cave. While there, he encounters someone who is holding some kind of medallion. When Carter touches it, he finds himself in a place where he can leap incredible heights, among other things. He later encounters beings he has never seen before. He meets a woman who helps him to discover that he is on Mars, and he learns there's some kind of unrest going on. Written by
Mario Kassar had the project at Disney in the 1980s, but it was also listed under his development projects during his deal at Paramount in the mid-'90s. In 2004--when the project was still known as "A Princess of Mars" after the book on which it's based--Robert Rodriguez had originally been signed and announced as director and had begun pre-production early that year (it would have been his largest project to date, with starting budget reported at $100 million). Rodriguez' most notable contribution was to hire fantasy painter Frank Frazetta (whose most acclaimed works have included striking illustrations of Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, most notably the "John Carter on Mars" books) as production designer. However, when Rodriguez resigned from the Directors' Guild of America (DGA) the same year (due to a dispute over his film Sin City (2005)), Paramount was forced to replace him. The studio has a long-standing arrangement with the DGA in which only the organization's members may direct Paramount films. He was replaced with Kerry Conran, who had just finished Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004). In 2005 Conran left the project and was replaced by Jon Favreau just before the release of Favreau's movie Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005); Favreau was on-board to direct until around August 2006. At that time Paramount chose not to renew the film rights, preferring to focus on Star Trek (2009), and Favreau left to work on Iron Man (2008). In January 2007 Disney regained the rights (it had rights to film the story previously: in the 1980s with director John McTiernan), and enlisted Andrew Stanton from Pixar to direct. See more »
In the beginning of the film, John Carter is told that to send a telegraph he must choose a minimum of ten words. The letter is shown as only containing eight words. However, telegraphs have always had a certain number of words as a minimum cost. It cost however many cents per word, but the minimum was ten words that it would cost, not the minimum number of words that can be sent. See more »
[back at Carter's estate, Dalton reads from Carter's will]
And lastly, I hereby direct, that my estate shall be held in trust for twenty five years. The income to benefit my beloved nephew, Edgar Rice Burroughs. At the end of which term, the principal will revert to him, in full.
Edgar Rice Burroughs:
[Burroughs looks shocked]
Of course, I always adored him, but it's been so long. Why me?
He never offered an explanation, I never asked him for one.
[Dalton passes an old looking journal to Burroughs]
It was his private ...
[...] See more »
At the end of the movie, a title card comes up that says John Carter of Mars. See more »
Not a movie about Noah Wyle's character from the show ER, but rather one based on a book I've never read titled A Princess of Mars. Originally going to be titled John Carter of Mars, the movie apparently dropped the 'of Mars' to "make it more appealing to a broader audience" and this film is supposed to be the origin story "about a guy *becoming* John Carter of Mars" - this probably explains why we finally get the originally-intended title of 'John Carter of Mars' at the very end.
The man in question is John Carter from Virginia, ex-Civil War soldier who lost his family and is now gold prospecting. Proceedings are rather slow-going in the beginning of the film, although it's necessary set-up for what's to come. Things don't really get interesting until Carter's transported to Mars, which is known as Barsoom by the inhabitants there, who are 9 to 15 foot tall four-armed green aliens with tusks called Tharks. Thanks to the lower gravity of Mars, Carter has enhanced strength and can leap great distances. We even get a montage devoted to him discovering as much. Some Tharks discover him, the least hostile of which is one named Tars Tarkas (voiced by Willem Dafoe), who winds up thinking Carter's name is Virigina due to miscommunication. Subtitles are used up until Carter is eventually able to understand the Tharks and we hear them speaking in English. At one point he comes to the rescue of an alien dog named Woola, who is extremely loyal/fast and becomes his constant companion. Carter also finds an ally in Sola (Samantha Morton). Eventually he meets the Princess of Mars herself, Dejah Thoris, after having rescued her (it's what he does). And this is where the real story begins.
As John Carter and Dejah Thoris, Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins reunite (after the rather ho-hum affair that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Kitsch fits the role of the long-haired hero well (although he is saddled with some rather dodgy dialogue at times). His reactions to the bizarre situations, customs, etc that he finds himself having to deal with are pretty good. He is well-paired with Lynn Collins, who manages to make Dejah actually very human (like when she's nervous about the presentation she's about to give when we first meet her in the city-state of Helium...though, oddly enough, nobody there speaks with funny high-pitched voices like you'd expect). She's certainly the prettiest thing on Mars, but she's also very smart, as well as able to handle herself in a fight. She's equal parts scientist and action heroine. Kitsch and Collins play off each other very well, sharing both humorous and touching moments between them. Also good is James Purefoy as Kantos Kan. Although it's not a big role, he manages to make the most of it and is easily likable, as well as amusing at times. Mark Strong, meanwhile, continues to be the go-to guy for playing a villain.
The story is not exactly easy to follow if you aren't paying attention. There's a lot of names of things to keep track of, as well as some twists and turns here and there. The film feels like it kind of rushes things a bit towards the end, as it has to wrap up stuff. Given the running time, you wouldn't think things would need to be like this, but it seems the makers realised their movie was reaching the limit of its runtime and there was still some stuff left to address at the last minute.
The effects on display are as dazzling as Dejah's blue eyes. The thought and effort that has gone into designing/creating the creatures, the ships, the costumes, etc is fully on display on the screen. The music helps too. While this movie might not be everyone's cup of tea, it does offer something a bit different in place of what could have been a rather paint-by-the-numbers affair. Yes, some parts are predictable, but there are also some parts that you might not expect. Don't let the trailers fool you, it's not just all mindless action. There is some actual real story going on here (provided, of course, that you can keep track of/follow it). Recommended for anyone who's looking for a slightly off-kilter sci-fi film.
180 of 260 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?