Monday, November 19, 2012

Dispatch from Barsoom

John Carter
2012.  132 minutes. USA. Directed by Andrew Stanton. Watchdate: 3/10/2012.
John Carter was a lot of fun. It's much more engaging than Avatar even if the visual spectacle of its world isn't nearly as fantastic. The Disney marketing wizards really screwed up, their advertisements seemed weirdly confused and even ashamed of the movie's story. The movie is just a really well-executed adaptation of the precursor to Star Wars, Avatar, Indiana Jones and all those kinds of adventures. That shouldn't be hard to market. Instead, they removed everything distinctive about the title and went as generic as possible with the trailers. Dumb move, Disney. Dumb move.

But anyway, leaving aside this obsession with money that often consumes mainstream "entertainment journalism" (if you can think of a more odious term please don't let me know), I probably would have suggested cutting or refashioning the opening scene but other than that I have no complaints. It's largely flawless as far as these sorts of mythic adventures go and I would commend it especially for the super jumping (must be seen to be appreciated) and the pig-dog-thing (pictured above).

I was also very pleased with the Civil War era frame narrative. It's like you get to learn about some of the  American mythology that lies beneath the surface of so much modern action adventure entertainment, but you don't even notice since it's such a fun ride.

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