Starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong, Dominic West, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, Ciaran Hinds, James Purefoy, Thomas Haden Church, Bryan Cranston and Daryl Sabara. Directed by Andrew Stanton.
"Of Mars! Say it!"
After Mars Needs Moms bombed, Disney changed the original title John Carter of Mars to the much blander John Carter.
If you forget all the surrounding noise about how expensive it was to make, and how much money it will lose, it's actually a pretty decent sci-fi adventure with one central flaw. Taylor Kitsch is not that interesting.
It's all about John Carter, a Confederate Civil War vet forced back into active service by the United States of We Yankees Kickedyerbutt. While Kitsch's line-reads rarely stray from the obvious choice, I enjoyed watching Bryan Cranston dig into his expository officer character. I wish his character had been zapped to Mars too.
So yeah, about 20 minutes in, John Carter's on what the natives call Barsoom. The ensuing plot goes through several familiar tropes of the genres. Star Wars, Avatar, Dune, etc. owe a debt to Edgar Rice Burroughs.
This is the live-action directorial debut of Andrew Stanton (WALL-E), and all the money is up there on the screen. The cities and ships and landscapes are all great. I really felt transported to another place. There was an air-battle that got confusing and that made me think of how I appreciate George Lucas the choreographer.
And for me, Kitsch is a notch below Chris Hemsworth's Thor. Maybe after a couple more movies he'll figure it out. I still would have enjoyed a sequel, as this is essentially an origin story, but we know that won't happen.