John Carter (12a)
Direced by: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe
Running time: 132 min
Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.
If ever a film has an identity problem it’s John Carter.
A decision not helped by the studio’s decision to remove any reference to Mars from the title in case women are put off.
That speaks volumes for the contempt movie execs have for audiences.
Negativity aside, this is a film that deserves to be seen by the widest possible audience.
It would be easy to be dismissive of the big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s tale that has inspired, or been ripped off by, depending on your mood, the creators of Star Wars, Avatar, Flash Gordon, The Chronicles Of Riddick and Superman to name but a few.
Easy but wrong. Andrew Stanton makes his live action directorial debut here, but he’s created an epic adventure that puts more experienced film-makers to shame.
The story of an Earthling who is transported to another world and becomes embroiled in war and finds romance, has been done numerous times in the past.
That doesn’t stop John Carter from being an exhilirating thrill ride. The cast deserve credit too, especially the leads. Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins give meat to roles that could have easily ended up as cliched, you know exactly where their relationship is headed but that doesn’t stop you from caring.
Stanton deserves credit for keeping the focus on characterisation, especially in the current climate of blockbuster film-making that adheres to the ‘dumber the better’ school of thought.
John Carter feels fresh, a great achievement considering how often the story has been mined by others.
It’s an adventure that’s out of this world.