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John Carter (2012) Movie Review

March 11, 2012

The term epic has been over-used in recent discourse about films and music.  Films and various soundtracks are described as epic far too often.  If you look back to the true epic films like “Lawrence of Arabia” or “Ben Hur” there is something that clearly defines a proper epic.  The best way to define an epic film is one that has a broad scale and includes travel over long distances.  “John Carter” is epic in the traditional sense because it deals with a character transported from Earth to Mars and within Mars there is some significant movement between the various countries.

John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is a typical American in the late 1800’s who is transported to Mars by an amulet he finds on his travels.  This leads him to a world that is completely unfamiliar to him, most immediately apparent through the difference in gravitational field that allows him to jump much higher than a human could on Earth.  His arrival lands him right in the middle of a war that has been going on between various factions of people on Mars.

A warlord of sorts has been given a large amount of power and uses it to try to subjugate the remainder of the population of the planet.  John Carter  finds himself in the company of a strange race of green people with four arms who resemble a simplistic tribal race in many ways.  When he witnesses a battle between the two other warring nations on the planet, he encounters a Princess (Lynn Collins) from Helium in need of his assistance to fight for the survival of the planet.

“John Carter” straddles the line perfectly between providing the audience with all the answers and providing just enough to advance.  The film manages to introduce multiple warring nations while making the audience care for the outcome.  Every scene is meaningful so that even after over 2 hours of plot, it is hard to identify a scene that was unnecessary.  Michael Giacchino provides the film with the proper epic feel through his highly thematic score.  The main theme is repeated throughout the film enough times that most viewers who pay close attention will recognize it by the end.

In an age where studios are cutting out the character development from scripts left and right, it is refreshing to see a properly developed plot in a film like “John Carter.”  The cast is fantastic, with a number of great supporting roles and a great performance by Taylor Kitsch.  Lynn Collins is extremely hot as the Princess of Mars and fills her role with class.  If you enjoy epic action-adventure films, “John Carter” will satisfy you greatly.  The film hits all the right notes and has a well-constructed and satisfying ending.
4.5/5

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From → Drama, Epic, Fantasy

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