Movie Review - John Carter

I happen to think that A.O. Scott's review for The New York Times is probably the best review for this movie, both in terms of explaining what it is and also in terms of praise. I just have a few words to say about Disney's John Carter, which aren't much. The movie is amusing. It's an adventure that every now and then perked me up from slumping in my theater seat and the writing when it came to the life and times of the Tharks, the tall, green, four-armed, horn-headed Martians, was pretty interesting and entertaining.

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly in his review pointed out Taylor Kitsch's look and body and analyzed it in a way that the other major critics didn't. I wanted to piggyback off that. Most people might agree that he's handsome and/or sexy. I would not be one of them. I wasn't a fan of Friday Night Lights, the TV series where Kitsch is most famous, but even if I were, I would still argue there's something not quite right about his look here or at least the filmmaker's use of it.

This might be weird to include in a film review, but I'll go for it and feel free to call me shallow, but I didn't like Kitsch's hair. I don't know if it's his real hair or a wig, but it just wasn't working for me. His outfit in which he was running and jumping was just not flattering either, mainly because his body just isn't flattering. He's chiseled but there's still something scrawny about him. Jason Mamoa from Conan the Barbarian who's much larger or even Liam McIntyre from Spartacus: Vengeance who is considerably smaller would have been preferred over Kitsch. I would have even preferred if Kitsch's character would have stayed in his Civil War costume the whole time. Everyone else looked great, from Kitsch's X-Men Origins: Wolverine compatriot, Lynn Collins, to Mark Strong who was bald and pasty throughout the movie.

Aside from the allusions that A.O. Scott made, I also got a Stargate (1994) vibe to this movie. Depending on who you are, this could be a positive or negative, but I think it's the former. A lot of people have also made comparisons to Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. I will confirm those comparisons and add that the fight sequences and overall battle sequences are better rendered here. There is a smoothness to it that Attack of the Clones lacked.

One knock is that there is a language barrier that the film never really overcomes. When John Carter arrives on Mars, the Tharks that he encounters speak a different language. Through magic of some sort, John is able to understand them, but even then, the audience is still left in the dark. There is so much mumbo-jumbo that I found myself not being able to follow much of what was being said. There were so much plot details and chunks of dialogue that went way over my head. For example, I have no clue what the bad guys even wanted.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 12 mins.


  1. Despite occasional moments of silliness, the old-fashioned sense of adventure and brilliantly rendered aliens elevate this above other derivative big-budget sci-fi fare. I still wished that Kitsch did a lot better in this lead role but he was only there for eye-candy really. Good review Marlon. Check out mine when you can.


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