John Carter Movie Review: Great Plyometrics But Heads Will Roll
You know the part of John Carter where he is slinging a big round rock over his head with a giant metal chain? I kept imagining the rock as some Disney Studio executives head….as in “heads will definitely roll” and be pitched about like so many medicine balls in Disney’s corporate gym somewhere deep beneath Orlando. Later, when John Carter slays thousands of those cool looking Martians with multiple arms, I had to force myself to not see them as Disney stockholders screaming in agony over the 250 million spent on this convoluted spectacle. There are some redeeming moments in the movie but ironically most of them are clever repartee and cute dialogue that cost the director, Andrew Stanton, Disney and its mega producers nothing, like the Princess screaming after her evil doppelganger, “Hurry, Im getting away!” One of the most uncomfortable feelings in watching John Carter, other then suspecting it will be a financial disaster up there with the Costa Concordia lying on its bloated broken side in some quaint Italian peninsula, is noticing how many different blockbuster films the movie borrows from either by design or by accident. It is impossible to watch John Carter ride on the air scooter, for example, without thinking of Luke Skywalker on his xwing. I expected Ewoks at any moment to invade the computer generated castle en masse along with the 4 or 5 other unidentified alien races. Other scenes create unintended flashbacks of Avatar, 300, Indiana Jones,Tron, Star Wars, Star Trek, Dune, Lord of the Rings, The Time Machine, The Scorpion King, etc….basically everything Hollywood has ever made except maybe Lassie. Actually, now that I think of it, the admittedly cute oversized blob dog creature, one of my favorite characters in the movie, reminded me alot of Lassie, so nevermind. Again, I hope for the directors sake the stockholders and audience members raised on his Pixar features will be nearly as loyal as Lassie or the blob puppy. I doubt it. There are certain viewer behaviors that I would consider a “bad sign” such as catching my 25 year old son whom I took to the movie updating his Facebook profile on his IPhone during one of the film’s slower scenes. My other son kept mumbling, “and this is 3-D because…why?” That’s not exactly what movie viewers do when they are engrossed and enchanted. The fact that the films bad guys (Therns) morph into various other characters from old women to sinister warlord generals further complicates the dense storyline. It’s fairly obvious by certain cliche “devices” that accommodations were made to help the audience figure out what the bleep is going on. I can just imagine the LA based focus group now, “Umm, er, Mr. Stanton, who was the first group of humanoid Martians again? Excuse me, why are they now in the Old West in 1870? Hey, do you think you could add a couple of red and blue flags to the spaceships to tell the good and bad guys apart sort of like the Crips and Bloods?” I’m not kidding. They actually added blue and red flags! In fact the whole movie reminded me of a game of multicolored, multi-ethnic galactic Stratego, the war board game I played when I was 12 years old, except only 5 times more confusing. Again, the movie’s redeeming qualities, such as John Carter’s chiseled physique and the Martian Princess’s hot body do deserve mention. In fact if there is an Oscar nomination to be gotten, it will be for the film’s Personal Trainer, period. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Oscar for Best Jumping and Plyometrics both in the real and computer generated category goes to……John Carter.