Even though I’m not much of a movie guy, and I’d heard some bad things about this John Carter movie, we went out to see it opening weekend. Actually, we wanted to celebrate some good news in my wife’s photography world, and it was the only movie out that seemed worthwhile watching.
I do not think this movie will do well at the Box Office. Opening weekend and the theatre wasn’t very full.
I was pleasantly surprised though.
I’m not that familiar with the source material. Many years ago, when I was a kid, my public library only had one of the many Mars books Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote. It was well into the series, and while I have read many, many SF and fantasy series out of order, I was totally lost. So all I really know about the series was what was related in Carl Sagan’s book, Cosmos (my childhood bible until I discovered Hichhicker‘s Guide to the Galaxy – but that’s another post) and some cool covers that where made during the seventies/eighties. I DO have most of the books squirreled away on my iPod, but I’ve never had the chance to read them as I’m still old fashioned and prefer books.
But on to my impressions of the movie.
It was pretty good. The acting and dialog could have been a little better, but considering the pulply/slocky source material, I’d say it was mostly appropriate. The visual effects were great. I could have done without the 3D though. It really did nothing to advance the movie so all it really gave me was some sore eyes and a wallet a little lighter than I would have liked. Kimmy wanted to see the female lead wearing more clothes, but I pointed out that most of the popular renditions of the story usually have much less in the way of clothing, so we should be grateful it was Disney who filmed the movie. There was also quite a bit going on (and made the movie rather long). Seems the writers wanted to try and explain as much as they could about the world the Mars books take place in. So my major complaint about the movie is this: it could have been broken up into maybe two movies, braking up the need for all the exposition. My other minor complaint regarding the movies, stems from the soundtrack. This movie is being billed as epic as Star Wars. Say what you will about Star Wars, but it has real awesome, epic music. John Carter of Mars has very forgettable music.
Oh, and Kimmy had some questions regarding the whole 9th ray business. I’d have to see it again, but the room with all the planets showing (and illustrating the power of this so-called 9th ray) may cause some furor amongst astronomers if it does indeed show 9 planets. And we cannot blame it on the source material as I do not think Pluto was discovered when most of the books were originally written (though it was suspected to have been in existence). I doubt I’ll see it again in the theatre (it wasn’t THAT good), but I suspect my in-laws will probably buy it, so I can watch it any time I want, and maybe clear up that mystery, should I still care once it comes out on video.
I wonder if anyone has ever published some sort of omnibus collection of the Mars chronicles, and if I can get a used copy on Amazon. I wonder…