The Star-News


'John Carter' film celebrates sci-fi classic book's 100th anniversary

Wed, Mar 14 2012 12:12 PM Posted By: Jeri Jacquin

Now playing in theaters from director Andrew Stanton and Disney is the epic Mars film that brings us the newest interplanetary hero “John Carter.”

This film tells the story of John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a Civil War vet who doesn’t want to fight anymore. Instead he is looking for his piece of gold but for a very different reason.

The fact is, John Carter has been to the planet Mars. Through an accident of fate, he lands on the Red Planet with special abilities. That is until he is found by the four-armed nine- foot tall alien creature Tars Tarkus (voiced by Willem Dafoe) and his daughter Sola (Samantha Morton).

Carter quickly discovers there is a war of a different kind on this planet. A group led Matai Shang (Mark Strong) is trying to take over a people led by Tardos Mors (Ciaran Hinds). In order to arrange peace, Shang arranges a marriage between Sab Than (Dominic West) and the princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), who is not as eager to wed.

Carter joins the princess and the Tarkus in order to save the people of Mars and, find his way home, but is that what he truly wants?

Final word
Kitsch is interesting as Carter. Through it all he keeps his wits. He is a man from Earth doing incredible things on Mars. Viewers will love his dedication to a cause that starts out serving his needs until he realizes there is so much more to the people of Mars.

Dafoe as the voice of Tarkus is humorous and well done. Morton as Sola is a character so genuine and loyal, I truly did enjoy watching her character unfold. I have to admit I’m in love with the Mars puppy as well.

Strong as Shang comes across as evil is as evil does. He’s become so good at playing a bad guy, so don’t let those robes fool you. West as Than is another good guy gone bad. The want of power flows through West’s character and he’ll do just about anything to get it.

Hinds as leader Mors is strong, even when he doesn’t want to be. I always find it interesting the roles that Hinds takes on and it’s never a dull moment. Collins is pretty cool to watch as she shows Carter that she has the same fighting capabilities as he does. From “True Blood” to “X-Men: Origins” this actress is proving to be able to play any role and play it well.

Other cast members include Thomas Haden Church as Tal Hajus, James Purefoy as Kantos Kan, Bryan Cranston as Powell, Polly Walker as Sarkoja and Daryl Sabara as Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Tubs of popcorn
I give “John Carter” three tubs of popcorn out of five. It is filled with action, adventure and loaded with special effects, characters and battle scenes. There is a little something for everyone in the film.

Now, that being said, make sure you know going in that this film has a running time of more than 132 minutes. Yes, that’s quite a while to be sitting and, although I truly did enjoy the film, there were moments I thought it needed to be a tad shorter.

However, if there is going to be more of “John Carter” in the future, this film certainly sets up the story line pretty well. “John Carter” is based on a classic novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the book’s release and Disney found a way to celebrate it.


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