on 25 October 2014
JOHN CARTER 3D  [3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray] Star Wars for a New Generation! Brimming With Spectacular Effects! Lost in Our World, Found in Another!
Unleash the full power of this sweeping action-adventure as it explodes off the screen and into your living room in cosmic 3D Blu-ray — the absolute best you can get at home.
From Academy Award® winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton [2008 Best Animated Film, ‘WALL-E’] comes ‘JOHN CARTER.’ Set on the mysterious planet of Barsoom (Mars), and based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic novel, John Carter is a war-weary former captain who’s inexplicably transported to Mars. Reluctantly embroiled in an epic conflict, he rediscovers his humanity when he realizes the survival of Barsoom rests in his hands. Stunning special effects, great characters and villains — and complete with extraordinary bonus features — ‘JOHN CARTER’ is a heroic and inspirational adventure that will thrill you in heart-stopping 3D Blu-ray.
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: ASCAP Awards: Win: Top Box Office Films Michael Giacchino. Annie Awards: Nominated: Best Animated Effects in a Live Action Production for Sue Rowe, Simon Stanley-Clamp, Artemis Oikonomopoulou, Holger Voss, Nikki Makar and Catherine Elvidge. Nebula Awards: Nominated: Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation for Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon. Golden Trailer Awards: Nominated: Golden Fleece for Ignition Creative and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. International Film Music Critics Association Awards: Win: Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film for Michael Giacchino. Nominated: Film Music Composition of the Year for John Carter of Mars for Michael Giacchino. Saturn Awards: Nominated: Best Special Effects for Chris Corbould, Peter Chiang, Scott R. Fisher and Sue Rowe.
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker, Daryl Sabara, Arkie Reece, Davood Ghadami, Pippa Nixon, James Embree, Philip Philmar, Figs Jackman, Emily Tierney, Edmund Kente, Rupert Frazer, Nicholas Woodeson, Kyle Agnew, Don Stark, Josh Daugherty, Jared Cyr, Sean Carrigan, Dusty Sorg, Christopher Goodman, Amanda Clayton, Akima, Joseph Billingiere, Aldred Montoya, Phil Cheadle, David Schwimmer, Arnie Alpert, Ian Ray, Peggy Clements, Evelyn Dubuc, Jhil McEntyre, Daniel O'Meara, Emma Clifford, Oliver Boot, Rebecca Sarker, Philip Arditti, Jon Favreau, Art Malik, Holly Weston, Gary Milner, Cate Fowler, Darwin Shaw, Eileen Page, Simon Evans, Myriam Acharki, Steven Cree, Garry Tubbs, Jeremy Booth, Jill Baker (voice), Devin Allen (uncredited), Christian Black (uncredited), Ekaterina Botziou (uncredited), Bern Collaco (uncredited), Shane B. Cook (uncredited), Hasan Dixon (uncredited), Matt Lasky (uncredited), Morgan Lester (uncredited), Thomas J. Post (uncredited) and Jacqui Shaw (uncredited)
Director: Andrew Stanton
Producers: Bob Roath, Colin Wilson, Jim Morris and Lindsey Collins
Screenplay: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Cinematography: Daniel Mindel
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HR Master Audio, Spanish: 2.0 Dolby Digital and English: 2.0 Audio Description
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish and Portuguese
Running Time: 132 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: On the run from the Union army in 1868 out to conscript a former Confederate soldier from the Virginia militia, John Carter [Taylor Kitsch] discovers a medallion in a cave which transports him to Barsoom, which he later learns is Mars, where he finds that another civil war is taking place, this time between rival factions of the dying planet. In order to quell the war, the leader of Helium Tardos Mors [Ciaran Hinds] has offered his warrior daughter Dejah Thoris [Lynn Collins] in marriage to the powerful leader of the Zodangans Sab Than [Dominic West], not knowing that Sab plans to use his special ray to take complete control of the planet, guided by a group of mysterious god-like shape-shifters called Therns headed by the devious Matai Shang [Mark Strong]. Meanwhile the nomadic four-armed creatures the Tharks are the first to discover Carter when he appears on the planet, and he eventually gains the trust of their leader Tars Tarkas [Willem Dafoe], becoming their ace in the hole of bringing the planet back under peaceful control.
With the über-strange names of all of the Martian characters, including the dog-like pet who early claims John Carter as his master and who comes in handy at just the right moments, screenwriters Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon have their work cut out for them in making their viewers comfortable with their alien landscape, this apart from the bookended sequences set in 1881 involving John Carter and Edgar Rice Burroughs, which causes some confusion with the initial viewing, but becomes much clearer, upon a second look, and is of course one of the great benefits of viewing it on the Blu-ray format. With John Carter’s Earth-oriented body mass allowing him to leap tall buildings and cliffs at a single bound, one is surprised that these leaping experiences, which happen throughout the sci-fi film aren’t more exhilarating to watch, and the film is burdened by being set on the rather desolate-looking, arid Mars and with these green-skinned creatures that aren’t that appealing or endearing. Andrew Stanton covers the bases with battle scenes and a rip-roaring confrontation in the arena, promised in the early going and finally occurring much later, with its echoes of Rocky as the crowd chants John Carter’s assumed name, “Virginia” which is one of the films recurring gags that works, after he’s inevitably victorious. But the fun is missing: the effects are fine, the actors are robust and doing their all, but there’s a déjà vu quality to all of it. The cosmetics may be different on the aliens, but the battles and fights are all too familiar, and with the leading characters not having much chemistry together, the movie emerges as rather blankly forgettable despite the hundreds of millions having been spent on attempting to make it unique.
Taylor Kitsch seems a bit young for the leading role and a little lacking in charisma, too, particularly paired with the exquisitely alluring Lynn Collins as his great love. She’s sensational: very Amazonian in her martial tendencies and with gorgeous make-up and costumes that accentuate her physical attributes. And the pity is that the film has an actor who has the necessary presence and age to pair seductively with Collins, James Purefoy who’s been relegated to the secondary role of right-hand man to Ciaran Hinds’ leader Tardos Mors. Dominic West makes a fine snarling villain, and Mark Strong is his obvious foil: the quietly calculating snake that lies in wait ready to strike at the right moment. Willem Dafoe makes effective use of his voice and body movements in his motion-captured performance as Tars Tarkas.
3D Blu-ray Video Quality – The film’s 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully delivered in a stunning 1080p transfer. Except for a few shots where images aren’t as sharp as the shots surrounding them, image clarity is first-rate with lots of detail to be seen in those Martian landscapes, the alluring costumes, and the facial features, including the hypnotising blue eyes of Lynn Collins’ Dejah Thoris. Flesh tones are accurate and appealing. Black levels are deep, and overall colour saturation levels are always well controlled but quite rich. The white subtitles used when the Martians are speaking in their own language are very easy to read. The film was converted into 3D after the fact which accounts for the rather unexceptional stereoscopic effects of the imagery. Of course there is no forward projection even if there is one shot of a gate explosion that sends sparks flying forward but which never reach past the front of the frame. There’s fair depth to the image, but nothing about it seems extraordinary. There is some fairly impressive use of people and objects on separate planes which gives the image an amazing 3D illusion.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix does exactly what a big budget special effects extravaganza is expected to do aurally. There are plenty of split effects to keep the front and rear channels continuously occupied, and Michael Giacchino’s score gets superb placement throughout the sound field. There’s an occasional bit of directional dialogue though most of it has been placed in the centre channel. There are occasional problems, however, with some of the dialogue being heard over the explosive special effects and music.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary with Director Andrew Stanton and Producers Jim Morris and Lindsey Collins: Director Andrew Stanton and producers Jim Morris and Lindsey Collins deliver a spirited overview of the film, beginning with the project all but dropping into their laps and quickly moving on to its development, casting, production and visual effects. Great care is devoted to outlining the technical challenges, commenting on the live and computer-generated performances, and charting the 100-year journey from page to screen.
Special Feature: 360 Degrees of John Carter [1080p] [35:00] This extensive day-in-the-shoot production diary and pays a visit to the costume and makeup departments, and follows Andrew Stanton as he goes about his routine, and watches as the cast and crew prepare to film several shots.
Special Feature: 100 Years in the Making [1080p] [10:00] Though much too short, this excellent feature examines Edgar Rice Burroughs' life, the genesis and success of the original "John Carter" series, the many attempts filmmakers from almost every era made to bring his stories to the silver screen, and the eventual adaptation that finally made it into theatres some one-hundred years later.
Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Andrew Stanton [1080p] [19:00] Ten deleted scenes are available, especially among them an alternate opening, but they're in various states of disrepair. Some have been cobbled together using near-finalised footage and storyboards, some have been hurried to the disc with incomplete visual effects, and some rely on overlays and pre-visualisation CGI to convey the events of any given shot.
Special Feature: Barsoom Bloopers [1080p] [2:00] This is a very short “gag reel” of sorts and proves to be pretty funny, ending with some dancing.
Finally, as was the case in theatres, ‘JOHN CARTER’ needn’t be experienced in 3D at home. While the 3D Blu-ray 3D is totally fantastic, it’s seldom a necessity and this film is just as enjoyable in 2D. The 1080p picture quality is absolutely fantastic, as is the surround audio experience, though nothing short of impressive audio and video should be expected out of any big release nowadays. Overall, Disney has offered a solid release of ‘JOHN CARTER,’ in not only bringing a strong sci-fi film to home audiences, but also emphasising the importance of this film actually getting made and the relationship of its story to just about every sci-fi film that has been created over the last 100 years. With all the reviews I have seen, there is far too many negative views against this, especially they keep going on how it was a massive flop, well I couldn’t care less, as I found this an amazing 3D sci-fi adventure and viewing it the first time blew me away and I have viewed this 3D Blu-ray several times and it still hold a lot of magic visual extravaganza and it is such a shame that Disney has pulled the plug on another follow up, especially as the Edgar Rice Burroughs boos are massive hit with people and so despite no more films, I will still love watching this film with many viewing, as the 3D makes this film such an exciting visual extravaganza and a total joy to view. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom