Tag Archives: John Carter

2012 – Year in Review

Another year has come & gone, and another end of year list has been written. But before I continue I want to state my goals for 2013:

1. Write at least one review per week – last year this was easier said then done.

2. Use Monday to spotlight another blog, though it does not have to be film related.

3. Come up with a weekly feature–probably for Wednesdays and starting next week.

4. Improve on my stats from this year – link to 2012 stats at the bottom of this post.

That being said, let’s get back to 2012. All movie titles or images will link to the corresponding review.

Worst “Film” of the Year: Dreams of My Real Father

Worst Film of the Year Released in Theatres: Trouble With the Curve – I did not review this movie

Best Guilty Pleasure: John Carter

Best LGBT Films of 2012

5. Elliot Loves
4. Naked As We Came
3. North Sea, Texas
2. Tomboy
1. I Do

Best Documentaries






Best Films of 2012












(Honorable Mentions)




Annual Report


“John Carter” – A Second Opinion

I like Peter Travers’ take on the negative publicity of John Carter.  You can find it here:  Rolling Stone Review.  All the negative press because of the budget reminds me of when Titanic first came out and a lot of people seemed to want it to fail; but then it kept bringing in $20 million weekends and eventually shut everybody up.  Unfortunately, the same won’t happen for John Carter.

Click on image to view extended "Great Ape" scene.

“John Carter” (2012) – Movie Review

Click on image to view trailer

Director:  Andrew Stanton

Writer:  Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon

Stars:  Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe and Mark Strong

John Carter–or John Carter of Mars, or Princes of Mars, or how Disney is totally failing at marketing a movie that has the potential of being a successful franchise–is a solid and thoroughly entertaining popcorn movie.

The character of John Carter was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912, and the plot of this film is based on the first novel, Princess of Mars.  John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is a Confederate veteran from Virginia who is transported through alien technology to Mars (aka Barsoom).  Due to the lighter gravity of Barsoom he in effect becomes Superman–able to leap great distances and gaining incredible strength.  He is captured by the twelve-foot tall, four armed, and reptilian Green Martians–specifically from the Thark tribe.

Barsoom at this time is a planet with depleting resources.  The Green Martians are the least advanced of the races on Barsoom.  They live in deserted cities, have a hive mentality, and believe in survival of the fittest–their leaders dethroned by physical challenge.  The Red Martians are humanoid.  They live in cities, have advanced technology, and have air ships that use light for power.  The two Red City-States of Helium and Zodanga are locked in a battle for supremacy.  Into this conflict the Therns–a highly advanced and mythological race–interject themselves.  Awarding Zodanga new weapons that tip the balance of power in their favor.

While in captivity, John Carter earns the trust of Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe), the leader of the Tharks.  From the Thark city he witnesses and then becomes involved in a great battle between air ships of Helium and Zodanga; in the process rescuing Dejah Soris (Lynn Collins)–Princess of Helium.  Their story and adventure continues with journeys across the desert, battles in arenas, races against time across the desert in air ships, epic battles in cities, and a final swashbuckling climax to prevent a political & doomed wedding.

One of the amazing things about the story and visuals of the film was the familiarity of it all; and the realization that George Lucas borrowed a lot of material from Edgar Rice Burroughs.  But whereas Lucas had flat scenes with wooden acting, Andrew Stanton (the director) brings life and joy to his depictions.  The film also has a good balance of action, comedy and drama.  The characters are played straight, but never take themselves too seriously.

The film is bookended with the character of Edgar Rice Burroughs (Daryl Sabara) reading the journal of John Carter and visualizing the story.  The beginning is paced slowly, but that pacing sets-up a good pay-off at the end.  The action on Barsoom is faced paced with a lot to keep track of.  Clocking in at 2 hrs and 9 minutes, the movie never feels flabby or slow.  The 3D was unnecessary and not very noticeable,  As a matter of fact, the only scene that looked truly 3D were the graphics used during the closing title credits.

The acting is strong throughout.  Taylor Kitsch carried the film well, and if given a chance with a sequel can really grow and improve the character.  Willem Dafoe was able to convey both the brutality and compassion of his character despite being unrecognizable.  Lynn Collins comes across as the strong and intelligent person her character is.  Also, and this is a compliment to the screenwriters, the character was not made perfect and had her faults.  With the exception of Mark Strong as the main Thern villain Matai Shang, the remaining roles could have been played by anyone.  The normally reliable Strong was not on his “A” game.

Disney is hoping for a Pirates of the Caribbean type franchise, but I am not sure they are going to get it.  Their marketing did not make it clear this is a science fiction-action/adventure film, and audience members in the advance screening I went to weren’t sure what it was about before the movie screened.

This is a fun film and I hope for more.  A lot happens on the screen and it should be watched in a theatre.

Grade = B+

Where Have I Been and How Did I Do?

I’ve been neglecting my reviews, but for good reason.

My second (unpaid) job is Co-Chair of the Program Committee for a local film festival in Miami.  Last week was the deadline for submissions, and we are in a time crunch to finalize the Program so we can lock down the films and go to press.  With the exception of this past Sunday, literally all of my free time has been sent screening shorts, docs, and features, and imputing the rating sheets into the master spreadsheet from the other committee members.  I’m looking forward to this Thursday and the weekend when we finalize our dream schedule.

The fun part of the scheduling process is going to be when the different committee members–myself included–have to go to bat for certain films because there are only so many slots.  I definitely have my favorites that other members do not agree with.

Look for a multi-part series I am going to entitle “How to get your Film into a Film Festival” in the upcoming weeks.

Switching subjects, I watched an advanced screening of “John Carter” on the 22nd.  All I will say for now is Disney is doing a poor job of marketing the film.  As for my review, look for it March 8th.

Switching subjects one last time, I got 17 out of 24–though I think I posted 15/24 on my Facebook page–last night at my Oscar Party and won the pool.  I was very happy.

Recent Trailers I’ve Seen

Here are trailers for some upcoming films that have caught my attention:

Click on image to view trailer

Click on image to view trailer

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“John Carter” – Trailer

Click on image to view teaser trailer

I saw this teaser trailer on Friday night at Harry Potter.  I’ve heard a little about  John Carter recently.  He is the main character of the Adventure of John Carter on Mars series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs–of Tarzan fame.

Based on the trailer, the production value and mood is similar to the Mummy series.  I’m not sure how I feel about it now, but it is still nine months away.  As for the books, I might ask for them as stocking stuffers for Christmas.  Below is the original cover art, and beneath that is some fan art–of which there is a lot.

Click on image to learn more about the series

This looks most similar to the movie

The Mars World