JOHN Carter is the tale of an American civil war vet (Taylor Kitsch) who is magically transported to Mars and stills the tribal tensions of the red planet while falling in love with a beautiful Martian princess (Lynn Collins) and learning a bit about life back on earth while he’s at it. If this synopsis sounds simple it is misleading of the actual but indicative of the tales potential, which drifts as far from the film itself as Mars from the sun.
The film’s attention to detail and special effects are, admittedly, hugely impressive and if all one had to pay was the extra Euro it costs for the 3D show one’s money would be well spent. As far as the remainder of the price is concerned, little or no work has been done to prevent the average cinema-goer mourning the loss of the two and a half hours this film attempts to sneak away with. There is a fun Martian dog that can run at many miles per hour, spectacular cityscapes to rival a Marvel comic illustration but the glue that traditionally holds these components together is entirely absent: plot.
To say this film flopping will be a surprise would be dishonest. Everything about it yearns to usurp the throne that Avatar built, but not a second’s celluloid is worthy of mention next to James Cameron’s revolutionary re-working of the sci-fi epic. I personally admire everything Andrew Stantan has produced to this point and I hope John Carter provides a learning curve for him in the ways of live-action film-making. Considering his back catalogue (he scripted all three Toy Story’s) I find it impossible to deal this director an outright “fail”, but my integrity as a reviewer forbids me to mark his helming of John Carter above “capable of better”.