I’m sure I speak for some when I say it’s been awhile since anything productive, intriguing or memorable has come out of Hollywood when it deals with films.
The never-ending loop of 3-D graphics, mixed with a thoughtless story and actors who couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag are enough to make anyone skip the movie theater entirely and just wait for the feature to show up on Netflix.
Well get your popcorn ready because “John Carter” steals the spotlight in this Stargate-meets-Star Wars sci-fi action movie.
The film wastes little time as it throws the audience directly into an airship battle sequence. The planet of Barsoom (aka Mars) has been ravaged and depleted of resources due to centuries of war. Control of the planet is being fought over by two rival factions, Helium and Zodanga.
It is during this battle sequence we meet two of the film’s main antagonists, one being Sab Than (Dominic West). After an enthralling battle which almost spells the end for Than, he is saved by Matai Shang (Mark Strong), leader of the Holy Therns under the Goddess of Mars.
In exchange for saving his life, Shang gives Than a weapon of massive power that will give the Zodanga Empire a huge advantage in the war. Shang tells Than that the Goddess wishes for his side to win the war, and he must show no mercy to the Empire of Helium.
Why don’t more films have detailed introductions like this? We have a clear central starting point, an introduction to the stories protagonist(s) or antagonist(s) and a reason why these people are fighting in the first place.
It’s nice to finally experience an intro that had a nice sequence of events, rather than shove nothing but visual effects down your throat and move the story along at lightning-fast pace hoping your audience won’t ask too many questions.
As the film progresses, we are introduced to the main protagonist, John Carter (Taylor Kitsch). A former captain of the Confederate Army, Carter is a broken shell of a man. His family killed during the war, he is a drifting traveler who is in search of a cave he calls, “The Cave of the Spider,” which supposedly houses vast amounts of riches.
Carter eventually ends up at the cave and does find these riches, but not mountains of gold or diamonds the size of your fist. Instead he finds an amulet that will throw him into the world of Barsoom and send him on an adventure that inspires tales to be written about for generations to come.
Now I know a lot of people may be concerned that this movie has “Disney” in the credits. Even I thought this movie was going to be dumbed down as far as violence was concerned. I couldn’t have been more wrong. While there aren’t any limbs flying around or massive amounts of blood and gore, there are particular scenes that clearly paint the picture of war. War is hell, and there’s nothing pretty about it.
My only complaint with this movie was the final battles between the protagonist and antagonist. This is what you build the audience up for and what keeps them on the edge of their seats. It’s all about the final confrontation between good and evil, right and wrong.
Yet, instead of having some epic battle that takes a few minutes to pan out, it’s over in less than 15 seconds.
Overall, if you can look past that one flaw, the movie is worth every penny. With solid acting, edge of your seat special effects and a tale you won’t soon forget, “John Carter” will not disappoint.