John Carter

Film, Action and adventure
3 out of 5 stars
John Carter

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

This sprawling 3D adaptation of ‘A Princess of Mars’, the first in ‘Tarzan’ creator Edgar Rice Burroughs’s epic sci-fi series about a civil war soldier who travels to the red planet, has all the makings of a monumental folly. It was absurdly expensive (rumours suggest upwards of $250 million), stars no one you’ve ever heard of (the voice cast notwithstanding), is based on a property very few outside the geek community are familiar with, has a wildly convoluted storyline packed with silly names and outlandish locations, is saddled with one of the least exciting titles in recent memory and was directed by a relative newcomer getting his hands on a major live-action studio picture for the first time.

Taylor Kitsch is John, a reclusive ex-soldier who discovers a secret portal to the planet Mars – or Barsoom as it’s known in the local language. There he steps into the middle of a war between the forces of evil, led by preening conqueror Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga (Dominic West), and the forces of general decency, as represented by philosopher-scientist-princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins).

Now, maybe there are legions of multiplex-goers to whom the words ‘Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga’ sound like a surefire bet – but it’s unlikely. And this is merely the tip of a hefty iceberg: chuck in some four-armed Tharks, some eight-legged Thoats and Mark Strong as an evil spirit and you’ve got an unholy mess. Luckily, thanks to some stunning visual design, a sense of wry humour and ‘Wall-E’ director Andrew Stanton’s knack with an action setpiece, it’s a very entertaining, unusual and loveable mess.  ‘John Carter’ could be ‘Dune’ for the 21st century – or it could be the next ‘Avatar’. Only time will tell.

By: Tom Huddleston



Release details

Release date:
Friday March 9 2012
132 mins

Cast and crew

Andrew Stanton
Ciarán Hinds
Lynn Collins
Taylor Kitsch
Samantha Morton
Dominic West
James Purefoy
Willem Dafoe
Daryl Sabara
Mark Strong
Polly Walker
Thomas Haden Church
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