Monday, 19 March 2012

John Carter

I went to see this film a couple of weeks post release and at the earliest possible  showing of the two-dee version on a Sunday so I wasn't expecting the place to exactly crowded but there were only half a dozen of us in the particular screen. So fine views of the screen at least!

Once the ads and trailers were over we finally start into the film with an attack on the Helium aircruiser with the baddies' hellish new weapon then a meeting of Helium's Council to discuss the terms of the city's survival. As this involves her marriage to the enemy Jeddak, Princess Deja Thoris is somewhat unhappy with this. The film then breaks to Earth where we meet a youngish Edger Rice Burroughs being presented with his uncle's journal of the strangest gold hunter's dream ever. We then go back in time to the start of the Great Adventure. This bit we've seen in the trailers but John Carter is on Mars soon enough wondering just how come he can leap mountains and jump miles in a single bound...

Eventually Carter is found by one of the two main races on Barsoom, the lizard like tharks and after impressing their Jeddak with his strength he's sort of adopted and sort of taken prisoner. Of course being chained and unable to speak the lingo is no barrier to escape though shaking off the 'watch dog' might prove trickier. As Carter is about to be punished for the escape attempt, an attack on a Helium airship by their enemied diverts the attenton of the tharks and Carter meets Deja Thoris...

It was fairly easy to see where Disney had spent the money on the effects and if you can see homages to other films its also fair to recognise the debts their stories owe to the ERB originals. Of course, given modern knowledge of conditions on Mars, there are some serious suspension of disbelief issues to overcome but the story does largely do this IMO if not necessarily in terms of world sales figures - indeed Disney are looking to post a group loss after this.

You can read the originals as digital dowloads from Project Guttenberg.