JOHN CARTER (Dir. Andrew Stanton)

Verdict: 2 Stars (out of 5)Torrent it to Procrastinate

No word of a lie, I was excited for this movie. Wars in space, alien civilizations from a different planet, superhuman feats, cool swords and gallons of (blue?) alien blood. However, what I got with John Carter was a two hour movie that felt like five, with short action pieces interspersed with long moments of awful dialogue, a generic plot, and cookie-cutter alien races. I don’t think Disney understands that its audience doesn’t go to see its Imax 3D movies to see the latest Thor lookalike trying desperately to look teary through layers of muscle. If I wanted that I’d watch Michael Clark Duncan in that Tom Hanks movie!

The most confusing thing about this movie was the plot. And not because it was complex or hard to follow, but because Michael Chabon, a Pulitzer prize-winning author, is credited as one of the writers of the screenplay…which is odd since the product is something I thought was written by a lobotomized monkey (or perhaps the movie’s central character…ZING!): there’s an ‘empire’ race that wants to destroy and rule everything with some death star-type weapon, the virtuous kingdom that is losing the war and needs help to save the planet, and the nomadic warrior-hunters that don’t want in that fight but are brought in to help turn the tide. I’m all for generic sci-fi plots if they’re done well, but this movie was so boring because it didn’t seem to give a shit about anything except its eye candy. Every line of dialogue is predictable, from John Carter refusing to aid the blue-blooded princess with ample cleavage (and an unexplained British accent) to evil imperialists reveling over the Ninth Ray power that lets them bitch slap everyone. I’ve literally seen more interesting stories come out of a 6 year-old playing with Star Wars Lego…or me playing with Lego…sshhhhh!

One thing I really liked was Willem Dafoe’s character, the CGI green alien king with four arms, and I was disappointed his story wasn’t fleshed out more. He was a compassionate ruler in a brutal, combative society and thus had some dramatic moments and tensions that were actually interesting, especially with his secret daughter. There was a lot of squandered potential there.

The world of Mars and its civilizations themselves aren’t very well explained either, as it’s difficult to see any internal logic to them. For instance, why are the doors opening by swiveling from the center, why do Caesar and Marc Antony from the TV miniseries Rome get such a small amount of screen time, why do these evil priests want to use their magic blue light to mess up everyone’s day, and why should I care about these two dimensional stock-characters? It seems that things are different just for the sole purpose of being different instead of being functional for a different species…oh no, these are alien boats, so we have to…curve the boat paddles to the point that they don’t even make sense, to make sure everyone is aware that this isn’t Earth.

Since this movie is so boring, predictable, and entertaining only in very brief moments, it’s two-hour running time seems to draw on and on until you start focusing on how uncomfortable the 3D glasses are and start gettingreally pissed at having spent twenty bucks to see some British woman throw her boobs around in Imax 3D…wait…I mean…5 stars!

Thank god I was able to redeem my Scene points to see this garbage for free…I mean, use my press pass!

Movies that do it better: Avatar, Star Wars (series), Minority Report, Blade Runner, pretty much anything that creates a coherent, compelling mythology as oppose to just picking out the simplest and worst sci-fi stereotypes.