Saturday, March 17, 2012

John Carter of Mars was essentially Episodes 1 & 2 remade by Disney

I liked John Carter a lot. I have to think Disney was convinced that it was getting its own version of the Star Wars franchise, but better since it was directed by Andrew Stanton and written by Michael Chabon.

For better or for worse, that's what they got - - a remake of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. The hero is an acrobatic swordsman. His love interest is a feisty princess who dresses like Slave Leia. The villain is a Sith Lord. Success depends on the hero gaining the aid of primitive aliens mistrustful of humans. The action takes place half on Tatooine and half on Naboo, and the hero gets from place to place on a jetbike. There's even a gladiator arena battle against mindless giant monsters.

Like the Phantom Menace, the action is exciting (except for a scene of mindless slaughter that's so irrelevant to the plot that I suspect it was added solely to get a PG-13 rating), and the vehicle design is great. Really, everything looks great - - the vehicles, the Martian dog, the tattoos, the rooms in the mansion on Earth... It's also frequently funny.

But also like the Phantom Menace, the villain's complex plot makes little sense and the love scenes are painfully clumsy.

All in all, my whole family and the kids we brought with us liked the movie. It deserves better than to be remembered as a famous failure. (Like Chronicles of Riddick, I look forward to a long life of repeats on tv.)