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John Carter
BLU-RAY disk
Jun 11, 2012 By: Jason Adams
John Carter order download
Director:
Andrew Stanton

Actors:
Taylor Kitsch
Lynn Collins
Willem Dafoe


Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A former Civil War soldier is accidentally transported to Mars, where he once again finds himself choosing sides and fighting for his lifethis time in an epic battle for control of the Martian planet.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
JOHN CARTER isnt the best movie ever made, but it definitely didnt deserve the unfairly lethargic marketing campaign or the lackluster box office and media persecution that followed. Im willing to bet if theatregoers hadnt heard all the negative press going in to it, JOHN CARTER wouldve been better received.

Its taken exactly 100 years for Edgar Rice Burroughs classic story to make it to the big screen, so obviously a lot his influential ideas and character archetypes have become age-old staples of the science fiction genre. However, Pixars Andrew Stanton was a great choice to bring the adventure to new life. Though not on the same level as FINDING NEMO and WALL-E, CARTER still showcases the same strong storytelling and spark of wonder as with his preview films. Stanton excels at world building, and although Barsoom does initially come off as a tour of the American southwest, he uses the different characters and alien races to slowly build up the unique culture of Burroughs books. Theres also some truly great sequences here, like Carter first learning to walk on Barsoom, the brilliant scene where the soldier bravely fights off an immeasurable number of aliens against flashbacks to his wife and son, or anything with Woola. Things like that automatically make John Carter more worthwhile than most big budget blockbusters.

Taylor Kitsch seemed like a bizarre choice for the title character, and while he isnt a bastion of charisma, the actor does better with the material than I assumed based on his work in WOLVERINE. (I havent seen Friday Night Lights.) His gravelly John Carter voice sounds a bit forced, but he does bring a certain brash American ruggedness to the role which works in the story, and as he acclimates to Barsoom, you also acclimate to him. Willem Dafoe is inspired casting for the four-armed Thark Tars Tarkas and you can definitely feel the actor through his CG counterpart. There are others who make less of an impression, like Samantha Morton, Bryan Cranston or Mark Strong as one of the mishandled Therns, but the one person/character who does stand out in JOHN CARTER is Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris. As executed, the Martian princess is probably one of the great female heroes of recent cinema. Shes regal as royalty, strong as a warrior that can hold her own alongside Carter, smart as a Martian scientist, and sexy as the girl on the cover of Burroughs novels. And Collins pulls off each of those elements surprisingly well.

The main thing that keeps JOHN CARTER from being a complete success is the pacing and the length. At over two hours, the movie is long and definitely feels like it. Perhaps its the close adherence to its older source material, but the film is slowly paced and noticeably drags in its long second act. Its never boring and does eventually build to an exciting ending, but watching it a second time through I could feel myself getting restless for large chunks of time. Overall, I think JOHN CARTER is still worth the journey in the end, but its not an effortless trip.
THE EXTRAS
This 4-Disc Blu-Ray set comes with the film on 3D on one disc, a normal Blu-Ray on the second, and a DVD and Digital Copy on the third and fourth. There isnt a massive amount of bonus material to wade through, but what is present is quality.

Commentary with director Andrew Stanton and producers Jim Morris and Lindsey Collins: Stanton is passionate about the world of JOHN CARTER and a joy to listen to, as he is on his other commentary track. He and his producers have no shortage of material to cover, from the source materials history to the quickfire production and the difficult visual effects. An entertaining track overall.

Deleted Scenes (19:02): These ten scenes vary from completely finished to rough sketches and come with optional commentary by Stanton, but theres ultimately nothing of major consequence. Theres an alternate opening that combines the history lesson and Hall of Science sequences, a bit of backstory of Ned and a couple more action beats.

360 Degrees of JOHN CARTER (34:32): This is a very cool and unique feature that gives you an all-access pass to a single day of the production. It starts at 5 a.m. as they fire up the catering trucks and finishes with the final stunt shot of the day. You get to see all aspects of a movie set, including the extras being corralled, Lynn Collins in hair and makeup, Willem Dafoe on stilts, costumes, fighting and the actual filming itself. At over a half an hour, it does a good job showing you the crazy schedule and hard work that goes in to a film and all different talented people doing different jobs.

100 Years in the Making (10:43): This gives you a quick overview of Burroughs and the history of John Carter through first person narration from Burroughs own words as well as interviews with cast and crew, Jon Favreau, author Michael Chabon and other science and history experts. There are some cool stuff, like some test footage from a 1930s animated attempt to adapt the story.

Barsoom Bloopers (1:56): Your basic gags and cast and crew zaniness.

Second Screen: This interactive experience connects to your iPad or laptop (if you have the app downloaded, which presents John Carter's journal chock full of extra info and trivia.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Though it can be slow and drawn out, JOHN CARTER is nowhere near as bad a disaster as the marketing, box office or media suggested. Andrew Stanton and the cast do their best to give the influential story a modern take and the biggest compliment I can give the film is that I walked away interested in a sequel that continues this world. Lets just sell it better next time.

Extra Tidbit: Previous directors that attempted to make JOHN CARTER include Robert Rodriguez, Kerry Conran (SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW) and Jon Favreau. Actors that almost got the part included Jon Hamm and Josh Duhamel.
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+1
6:27AM on 06/13/2012
Yeah, I saw it recently, and it has plenty of things to like in it. I agree it didn't deserve Avengers success, but people out for a fun night out wouldn't be disappointed if they had seen it. I was a bit sad at the end to realize that no, there wasn't going to be a sequel.
Yeah, I saw it recently, and it has plenty of things to like in it. I agree it didn't deserve Avengers success, but people out for a fun night out wouldn't be disappointed if they had seen it. I was a bit sad at the end to realize that no, there wasn't going to be a sequel.
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3:39AM on 06/13/2012
On an unrelated note, does anyone here actually know what my avatar is?
On an unrelated note, does anyone here actually know what my avatar is?
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9:21PM on 06/12/2012
Also, check out Friday Night Lights to see that Taylor Kitsch actually does have charisma.
Also, check out Friday Night Lights to see that Taylor Kitsch actually does have charisma.
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9:18PM on 06/12/2012
I completely agree with you about the battle that's cut along with flashbacks of what happened to his family. Very moving scene that actually got right here (points to heart).
I completely agree with you about the battle that's cut along with flashbacks of what happened to his family. Very moving scene that actually got right here (points to heart).
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