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243 of 257 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review of the movie itself...
Ok. Where to start?
Firstly, I have not read the book. So I can't draw any comparisons on content/accuracy etc.

What I wanted to do is simply dispel the rumours and terrible press this move has had to endure.
To start with the painfully obvious: This movie is unlikely to win any oscars (although the CGI is really really good).

I sat down to...
Published on 21 May 2012 by P. Vlahodimos

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not terrible, but too bogged down in exposition and clumsy storytelling to be enough fun
Fanboys may love to blame the marketing or the title change or even an elaborate conspiracy by Disney to sabotage their own massively expensive film for John Carter - formerly John Carter of Mars - becoming the biggest money loser of all time, but Andrew Stanton's very loose reworking of Edgar Rice Boroughs' books has plenty of more fundamental problems that turned a...
Published on 7 Dec 2012 by Trevor Willsmer


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243 of 257 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review of the movie itself..., 21 May 2012
This review is from: John Carter (Blu-ray 3D / Blu Ray 2D) [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Ok. Where to start?
Firstly, I have not read the book. So I can't draw any comparisons on content/accuracy etc.

What I wanted to do is simply dispel the rumours and terrible press this move has had to endure.
To start with the painfully obvious: This movie is unlikely to win any oscars (although the CGI is really really good).

I sat down to watch this with very very low expectations. I mean, how much could I expect from a movie panned by all critics and recording massive losses for Disney.

But you know what? This is actually rather good.
It's not going to make it into my all time top ten, but it's a lot of fun.
Maybe it helps that I'm a big sci-fi fan in general, but this type of movie is typically what I like to sit back and watch with full immersion without the need to really work the grey matter in my brain.

The alien race(s) are well developed, the imagery is superb, with Mars looking both daunting and amazing, and as mentioned before, the special effects are top drawer. The battles, especially those in the air are stunning visually.

The lead actors do a decent job of drawing you into their characters and their fight to address the demons in ther respective closets. The female lead is stunningly beautiful, and you never tire of her screen time. The bonus being that she doesnt whine or complain a great deal and really comes accross as a tough heroine in her own right. Carter is well acted, with occasional reference to his troubled past, but this works well as well as it's not overly frequent, and when it does occur, you actually feel for him, at least a bit.

And of course the story itself is excellent. You have to remember just how long ago the book was written. It makes it even more astounding as the level of imagination and creativity that has gone into the story is incredible.

So I guess my point is that this is a good movie. Really. Ignore the press, ignore the negative review. Speak to people that have seen it. Take a chance. Go and see it. Or buy this blu-ray. It's a bargain, and the movie will provide entertainment for all ages (excluding the very young kids).

PS. I thought one of the slightly weak bits was the white apes. Which bizarely is on the cover of the blu-ray. But don't let that put you off. This is a much, much better movie than it's given credit for.
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117 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Movie !, 21 Mar 2012
I saw this film last week and it is an excelllent representation of ERBs "A Princess of Mars"

The savaging of this film by the media is not only unfair, its unjustified and frankly I have been disgusted at some of the so called critics and their reviews.

Everyone,I know,that saw this film, loved it-so give it a chance-you will not regret it.

This film is good old fashioned escapism, of a swashbuckling kind,I thought it was better than Avatar ( it was more fun,thats for sure)

Its a pity the film was not given a proper chance.I think it will be judged very kindly, in future years and its a pity more people didnt take a chance on going to the cinema to watch it.
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113 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good adventure movie based on "Princess of Mars", with the amazing Lynn Collins stealing the show as Dejah Thoris, 9 Mar 2012
By 
Darth Maciek "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: John Carter [DVD] (DVD)
I liked this film a lot. Long long time ago, when I was a teenager, I read some of Edgar Rice Burroughs novels in the "Barsoom" series (Barsoom means Mars in Martian language) and I enjoyed them greatly. And thanks to this movie, I just relived again this experience and I could enjoy a little bit of the old magic.

Burroughs books about Tarzan (he created this character) had quite a number of movie adaptations, but his Martian and Venusian series were considered for a long time too hard to film. Considering that the first book was written in 1912 and that the first plans to film it were made (without success) in 1931, it certainly took time to have a movie version of the first of "Barsoom" books - but considering the rather pleasant result, it was worth waiting that long.

Below I tried to describe the best things in this film, with as little SPOILERS as possible.

1. John Carter from Virginia, a former captain of Confederate cavalry. For my personal taste Taylor Kitsch pictured him quite well, and the scenario describes him like in the book, as a man courageous, strong and aggressive but also noble, faithful and clever. Unlike in some other action movies I found this hero quite LIKEABLE - he is a little bit grim and sullen in the beginning, but we soon come to understand why and frankly he has reasons to be in such a state of mind. His progressive awakening to a second chance in life is credible and a pleasant thing to watch.

2. Dejah Thoris of Helium, the Princess of Mars. Actually, the first book in "Barsoom" series, of which this film is the adaptation, had for title precisely "A Princess of Mars", as Dejah Thoris is a character as important as John Carter. In the film, in my opinion her character completely steals the show and it is in large part due to the excellent performance of Lynn Collins. Whoever cast her in that role was a genius! Her Dejah Thoris is an excellent mixture of an amazon (courage and strength), a scholar (brains and learning) and an aristocratic young lady (pride and manners). In this film Dejah Thoris is different from what we could see in the first "Barsoom" book (in which she never even touches a weapon), but it doesn't really hurt the story.

Lynn Collins was clearly instructed to play Dejah Thoris as warrior princess, but she still kept Dejah Thoris a very feminine character, in the best sense of the term. Although she swings the sword and pilots the warships as the best male warriors of her country, she also can display a moment of girlish cheerfulness and enthusiasm, smile in a way which melts the hardest hearts, give looks filled with an almost motherly warmth and tenderness (and also a purring promise) and walk in such a way that all males in the assistance are almost howling! I particularly appreciated the fact that when sharpening her sword she simply couldn't resist to look on the blade, check her make up and preen a little... And then, there are short moments when we perceive a brief glimpse of vulnerability - and at that time she is even more impressive.

The fact that Ms Collins is a very beautiful woman with an exceptional figure only adds to her performance - also her clothes, body paintings, haircut, makeup and jewelry were perfectly well chosen! And I really believe that her model of wedding dress should be MANDATORY on Earth - the number of men willing to marry would probably explode overnight as the result! Frankly, when she appeared in her wedding dress, the male part of the public gasped - and in the same time many girls in the cinema started to emit noises similar to those made by a very angry rattlesnake when choking on a half swallowed chinchilla...)))

To resume, Lynn Collins pictured a PERFECT Dejah Thoris. Even if this character is not entirely faithful to the one imagined by Edgar Rice Burroughs, I still had a feeling of "Dejah Vu" (sorry for that, I couldn't resist...)

3. The Tharks, desert warriors. Excellent. I found every scene with Thark tribe a delight. The characters of Tars Tarkas and Sola are very well done and played. The Woola "dog" is simply too cute and extremely funny - every scene when it appears was welcomed by a big laughter in the cinema.

4. Other special effects. This film was very costly and you can really see the effects on the screen. The mobile city of Zodanga, walking through the desolate deserts of Mars is really impressive. The flying warships are excellent. The gigantic White Apes are really impressive and scary. The city of Helium is very beautiful. And finally, the panorama of Mars is really well done - one can immediately see that this world was once full of life, but it is now dying and in dire need of help...

5. Dominic West. He plays a scoundrel - again. I must admit that I have a weakness for this actor, since watching him in "The Wire", but also the "300" and "Centurion". Here his role is not as important as it could be, considering that he is not exactly THE main villain (it is not exactly a spoiler - we learn it in the first scene of the film). But it is still a pleasure to watch him.

6. Difference with the books. There are many small and one HUGE difference with the "Princess of Mars", concerning the race of Therns, who in the book do not play an important role - in the "Barsoom" series they really appear in later parts. But I believe this HUGE change for once was a rather good thing, as it allows for a more logical explanation of John Carter's travels from Earth to Mars. The smaller differences didn't hurt the movie either.

7. The ending is quite good, not stupid at all and rather moving. And that is something not so frequent in modern Hollywood movies. Good job for this one!

Bottom line, I liked this film a lot and I am certainly going to buy it as soon as it is available - preferably in Blu-Ray, because here the quality of image has its importance. And I will certainly go to see the sequel if there is one, for many obvious reasons but especially because I am DYING to see how they would solve the little problem of Martian reproduction - because you see, in the books, when John Carter and Dejah Thoris are married, she lays him an egg...)))
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Barsoom, 27 Aug 2014
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: John Carter [DVD] (DVD)
I never saw this when it came out at the cinema but I know that it received a very mixed bag when it came to reviews, and also that it was considered as a box office flop as it didn’t bring in the expected takings that had been estimated. So saying, though, when this was released on DVD,etc this did quite well. I don’t know how long it is since I last read the John Carter novels but I will admit that I quite enjoyed this.

This has some great special effects as now we have the use of CGI, which this film does rely on quite a bit as you have monsters and large scale scenes that are required for this. The story is based upon Burroughs’ ‘A Princess of Mars’ the first of the five stories. Obviously this isn’t quite the same as the novel, as indeed films usually aren’t, but this is fun to watch. Full of derring-do, and some swash buckling this is action packed from beginning to end and so should keep most people more than interested.

When John Carter suddenly finds he has been transported to Mars or Barsoom as the natives call it, he finds himself embroiled in the culture and politics of the planet. Originally captured by the Tharks it is not long before he discovers that there are other people on the planet who resemble homo-sapiens. When he sees the princess Dejah Thoris he is instantly smitten. But Dejah has been promised to another which will hopefully stop the warring going on on the planet between the humanoids, or Red Martians. As John Carter sets out to find a way back to Earth, his feelings certainly come to the forefront when it comes to Dejah. Also finding out about the mysterious Therns, Carter knows that Mars is itself in danger and he realises that one day it could be Earth facing the same problems.

As Carter is from a different planet he finds that due to his physiological makeup and the lower gravity on Mars he has some sort of superhuman power over the natives of Mars, rather like Superman on Earth. Will Carter be able to stop the warring on the planet, and get the girl of his dreams?

I liked the idea of having Edgar Rice Burroughs included in this story, but I will admit that the beginning when we first meet Carter is a bit disjointed, and the same when we first meet a Thern. Apart from that though this film I found to be quite an enjoyable romp that certainly held my attention. There is a subtitles option on this, and also the short documentary ‘100 Years In The Making’ is worth watching – well, for us adults, not so much for children. I must admit seeing Ciaran Hinds and James Purefoy in this in costume did make me think of ‘Rome’, although Polly Walker is in this she is one of the Tharks, if she had been one of the Red Martians I could have thought that perhaps I had the wrong disc in the player.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not terrible, but too bogged down in exposition and clumsy storytelling to be enough fun, 7 Dec 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Fanboys may love to blame the marketing or the title change or even an elaborate conspiracy by Disney to sabotage their own massively expensive film for John Carter - formerly John Carter of Mars - becoming the biggest money loser of all time, but Andrew Stanton's very loose reworking of Edgar Rice Boroughs' books has plenty of more fundamental problems that turned a potential franchise into a $200m loss on its theatrical run. The twin perils of poor casting and lumpy storytelling for a start. Stanton never made much secret of the fact he didn't think Burroughs' influential pulp novels were that good and made huge changes not just to the plot, not least introducing a radically reworked version of the villains from the second novel into the film, but also to the central character, turning him from a heroic adventurer to a bad tempered, moping gold-hungry prospector so he can have more of an emotional journey before becoming the saviour of Barsoom, as the locals call Mars. The kind of thing that Harrison Ford could have done in his sleep back in the 80s before he settled into his grumpy old man routine, it could have worked with a genuinely charismatic lead, but Tyler Kitsch ain't it, sulking and growling his way though the first half of the film as the script requires without ever making you give a damn about him.

Not that he's the only one who feels wrong - the actor playing Burroughs in one of the film's multiple framing scenes and the cavalry officer who tries to press Carter into service against the Apaches in what feels like the third opening of the picture grate more than somewhat, and you suspect that they're not getting much help from behind the camera. Stanton's direction doesn't help keep things moving either. It's not always that his ideas are all bad, more that some of them just don't work, partially because of the constant stop/start rhythm of the film, partially because the character doesn't win you over and you tend to notice the joins more because of it. Even when the film finally does promise to burst into action, it's either uninspiringly handled or, in the case of the Tharks' attack on the city that oh so very briefly promises to turn into Lawrence of Arabia with aliens, over in a few shots because a minute of thousands of CGi creatures is much more expensive to shoot even on a $250m budget than several minutes of thousands of real Arabs on real camels.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that in the hundred years since the books were published, they've been strip-mined by everyone from George Lucas and Frank Herbert to James Cameron, so that there's so little that's new to moviegoers here that it needs to be told with real panache and enthusiasm. Unfortunately what we get is an overfamiliar tale clumsily told, despite the large amount of money spent telling it. It's not a disaster of Dune-like proportions, though it does share David Lynch's film's habit of spending so much time stopping the film to explain the plot that the story never really gets a chance to get going: it's the kind of film where Mark Strong's shape-shifting villain will capture the hero only to take him for a long walk in front of expensive CGi backgrounds so he can explain the plot at great length for several minutes. What makes it worse is that his character is actually from the second novel in the series and remains an unresolved behind-the-scenes manipulator obviously being set up for a sequel that will never happen. Not that this is good enough for that to be a cause of much regret.

There is enough that is good to make it worth a look, albeit more as a rental than a purchase: the Tharks are well realised and parts of the film do work and momentarily create a very 1960s fantasy film sense of wonder before the film almost completely loses its way in a rather messily staged final battle and a twist-in-the-tale epilogue that needs far too much setting up at the beginning of the picture. It's certainly not as bad as its huge losses would imply, but it's just too mediocre to really stand out in an increasingly crowded field.

Typically for a flop, the extras package seems a lot less extravagant than it was presumably originally intended to be (the French 3-disc 3D release also includes two extended scenes and an additional featurette). There's a lengthy selection of deleted scenes that wouldn't have improved the picture - one even includes the Princess of Mars telling the assembled statesmen of her kingdom all about their planet at great length as if they needed to be told where they were - a decent look at a day in the making of the film, audio commentary by Stanton and his producers, self-congratulatory featurette about the origins of the film that includes a glimpse of the test footage Bob Clampett shot for his proposed 1930s animated version as well as an interview with Jon Favreau, who spent years developing a much less expensive version of the film that was abandoned due to budget concerns, and a blooper reel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHITE MEN CAN JUMP, 5 Aug 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: John Carter [DVD] (DVD)
The blockbuster "Avatar" was loosely based on this book as was "The Princess of Mars." Edgar Rice Burroughs (Daryl Sabara), the author of the book, plays a part in the film in order to give credence to the tale. The tale is patterned on the common early 20th century belief that Mars was inhabited by a dying race with technology greater than our own.

The character of John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is nicely introduced through a series of events that take place in Arizona. Carter, a soldier of the lost cause is suddenly transported to Mars and finds himself part of a different war. Because of the low gravity of Mars, John Carter finds that he can run faster and jump higher than the natives. There are two warring factions of humans and giant green creatures just to add to the mix.

Lynn Collins plays the warrior princess who wants John Carter to help her defend her city of Helium. Carter, wants only to return to Earth.

This movie is finally a fitting tribute to the works of Burroughs. When you watch it, you think, "Oh, this has been done before," or "that was taken from Star Wars..." But really this wasn't taken from them, they borrowed from Burroughs. Modern movie goers might find this film a bit cliche and trite. As a sci-fi fan who loves 50's sci-fi stuff, this was 5 stars.

No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. Tween safe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie berated wrongly by the critics, 30 Aug 2013
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This review is from: John Carter (Blu-ray 3D / Blu Ray 2D) [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
John Carter will eventually make its money and will hopefully lead to sequels, but hopefully with the same cast and not cheap substitutes like Disney normally do (Splash and Percy Jackson for example). I am just reading the original ERB book now as I have never got around to it before, and although a bit of licence has been taken with the film adaption, it is surprisingly close to the 100 year old novel.
Over all a fantastic film, visually stunning, great 3D and a great addition to any sci fi movie collection.
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109 of 128 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast, fun and likeable., 18 Mar 2012
By 
Davywavy2 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: John Carter [DVD] (DVD)
What with Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, Hollywood is mad keen to find potential established intellectual properties to turn into movie franchises. Franchises are easy, you see. If people love the first one, they'll go and see the others no matter how rubbish they are (Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean, I'm looking at you) and guaranteed revenue streams are the dream of, well, not just Hollywood executives, but it is definitely their dream as well as everyone elses.

With that in mind, it was sort-of inevitable that Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter series would make their way to the big screen. It is not the original man-travels-to-alien-culture-and-has-an-adventure story in spite of what some might say, but certainly a early and pivotal addition to the genre especially in American culture. Burroughs' stroke of genius with John Cater was to realise that when it was written the British had most of the globe stitched up in terms of travelling to foreign places and showing the natives who was best, and so he transferred the action to outer space. It's an idea that has been mined by James Cameron and George Lucas and many others for the last century and that is, perhaps, the biggest problem the film faces. We've seen it all before. In Avatar, in Dances with wolves, in books like Ursula le Guins The Dispossessed. Most of the reviews I've seen have taken the line that John Carter is kinda samey and unoriginal. Reviews like that are going to put people off seeing it, which I think is unfair because I really rather liked it.
Perhaps because the story is so old, it lacks any pretentions or postmodernism. It's an unapologetic adventure romp as earthman John Carter is whisked off to an adventure on the planet Mars where the yellow sun - sorry low gravity - gives him superpowers, and where he jolly well shows the natives who's best. And perhaps due to the lack of any knowing winks, political subtext or post-colonial guilt, it's a tremendously enjoyable adventure romp. John (the unfortunately named but pleasingly charismatic Taylor Kitsch) leaps about the screen showing baddies what's what and is ably supported by a supporting cast including Dominic West, Ciaran Hinds, James Purefoy, Mark Strong (typecast as a villain, Mark?) and Willem Dafoe who all ham it up with gusto. The design of Mars is great - referencing decades of pictures inspired by Burroughs' work, whilst neatly bringing up to date some of the more dated ideas (like Martians flying round in airships) and rendering the lot seamlessly between CGI, model work and location filming to create a convincing image of a life-bearing by dying mars. The director even takes the time to reference the work of Boris Vallejo in one battle sequence which ends with Carter standing atop of pile of slain enemies. All he really needed was a girl or two clutching his leg and gazing up at him adoringly.

As I sat and munched on my popcorn, one thought just kept popping into my head. Well, actually two thoughts . First that Lynn Collins, who plays Princess of Mars Dejah Thoris, is one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen and where has she been all my life?, and second the repeating thought: "This is what The Phantom Menace should have been like". Phantom Menace failed in two major areas. One, a clunky, exposition-heavy script which led to considerable yawning and bemusement by the audience, and two, a comic sidekick who any normal person wanted to see killed as quickly and painfully as possible. John Carter gets both these things completely right. The script is fast-paced, doesn't pause for breath much or take time for unnecessary exposition and instead of winking at the audience it smiles broadly at you instead. It's like the film is an playful dog, saying "Isn't this fun? Let's play some more!" before launching into some more action-packed intergalactic hi-jinks with an enthusiastic twinkle. Perhaps most impressively, the film contains an amusing comedy sidekick who - get this - you don't want to see dead or maimed and is, in fact, both likeable and amusing.

Wow. Beat that, George Lucas.

So in many ways, the reviews are correct: John Carter is dated, twenty years too late, and filled with ideas that have been done to death.

On the other hand, it's fast, fun, highly likeable, and extremely pretty. It is, like I say, everything the Phantom Menace should have been. The tragedy is that George Lucas is the one who got all the money whilst we're unlikely ever to see the heavily flagged sequel to John Carter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Star Wars, 15 Dec 2013
This review is from: John Carter [DVD] (DVD)
Who would have thought? It's one of of the best sci-fi adventure films ever made. A genuine timeless classic that's full of charm. Shame on those who panned it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly good, 28 Sep 2013
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This review is from: John Carter [DVD] (DVD)
I had seen the dreadful reviews of this film along with the disastrous box office performance and as an independent film maker was interested to see what had made it so bad. However after watching it I thought it was an honest and entertaining piece of work that brought the Edgar Rice Burroughs style of pulp fiction and imaginative fun, brightly to the screen.
I think the reviews were unfair, it certainly won't win any acting awards but the cinematography, CGI and flashes of humour work really well and if viewed with an open mind, gives an entertaining two hours. the price for the DVD is very low but it's worth having in any DVD sci-fi/fantasy collection.
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John Carter (Blu-ray 3D / Blu Ray 2D) [Region Free]
John Carter (Blu-ray 3D / Blu Ray 2D) [Region Free] by Andrew Stanton (Blu-ray - 2012)
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