Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.
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. Later 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
The first "John Carter" story by Edgar Rice Burroughs made its debut in 1912 in a magazine serial. Thus, the 2012 feature film marks the centenary (100th anniversary) of the character's first appearance. See more »
When Edgar Burroughs is given his uncle's private journal, he first turns the book so that he can open the lock with his right hand. After the attorney leaves, he turns it another time, just to put it in the same position again. 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.
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