|Just another day for JOHN CARTER. Image: DISNEY.|
It's been a very long time coming, with lots of development hell and changes of studio, writer and director over the years (including IRON MAN's Jon Favreau at one point), but Edgar Rice Burrough's Grand-daddy of sci-fi action adventures, JOHN CARTER (well, it should have been JOHN CARTER OF MARS, before the Hollywood publicists got scared of the word MARS), has finally arrived. STAR WARS AFICIONADO got to see it at a London sneak peak a few weeks back and I'm happy to report that its a very enjoyable crowd-pleaser in the best sci-fi/post STAR WARS revolution/ tradition. Its lead stars/heroes Taylor Kitsch as the ex-soldier from Virginia, Earth transplanted to Mars, John Carter, and the lovely Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris (a feisty Princess to almost match Carrie Fisher's Leia) work nicely together, Willem Dafoe lends great support as one of the alien warriors who befriends Carter (I'm assuming this is where George Lucas, from reading these early sci-fi books, later got the idea of his Gungan armies for the STAR WARS Prequels) alongside a solid British supporting cast that pretty much includes the entire cast of the HBO series ROME and Mark Strong being menacing playing Mark Strong, but also as an ethereal universe events manipulating baddie who really does needs Obi-Wan Kenobi to come along and give him a good whooping!
Trailer: New John Carter Trailer introduced by Andrew Stanton | Official Disney 2012 Trailer | HD - YouTube
John Carter Trailer 2012 -- Official Movie Trailer | HD - YouTube
London premiere feature: John Carter UK premiere sees Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins on red carpet | Metro.co.uk
With super effects, alien characters (including a great little creature/ally to Carter that runs like quicksilver-a true kid audience pleaser that's actually fun, and a Geonosis arena type battle against mighty creatures), action sequences that looked great in 3D (and 3D that actually works in favour of the film for a change), PIXAR animation director turned live-action director Andrew Stanton, following in the footsteps of Brad Bird's excellent work on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 4, keeps it enthusiastic and exciting and actually emotes some heart and fun for family audiences to enjoy. There are a few places where the film isn't perfect- a few sluggish moments here and there as the story builds momentum, a couple of miscast supporting actors in roles that needed stronger talent, and you have to get your head round some of the character names and places as the story unfolds- but JOHN CARTER is ultimately a very entertaining two hours-a commendable risk from DISNEY that's well worth a trip to the multiplex, in a time of difficult modern film showbiz when new, big budget sci-fi movies that aren't from older, more established franchises are slowly dying out...
Go on, treat yourself to an old/new universe...
AFICIONADO RATING: 4 out of 5