About less than a halfway through “John Carter,” I found myself wondering. If John Carter was discovered by the “red” team and instead of a beautiful woman he had met a not-so-desirable woman, what would happen? Does he still going to follow the path of good, or does his judgement would have led him to believe that actually the “red” team who has this noble cause to save the planet instead of the “blue” team? As interesting as it was, this is why I’m not too keen with the whole movie. Besides the fact that it makes my mind wandering off someplace else, it is the notion that everything is textbook precise. Alpha male, handsome and charming, and going through the righteous path from zero to hero. Alpha female, luscious and beautiful, strong willed and a run-of-the-mill damsel in distress. Add in some adventurous places, exotic beasts, faithful sidekick, and a clear, unambiguous line between good and evil, and it is a very safe ingredients to an action-adventure movie. In the end, “John Carter” is nothing but that, a very save action-adventure movie.
Based on what considered as the staple of adventure sci-fi, Edgar Rice Burrough’s “A Princess of Mars,” “John Carter” is a hero in the making, transported to the red planet (“Barsoom” as the locals have it) and pitted in the center of a civil war between the humanoid “red” team and “blue” team while making an alliance with the Tharks, the race of four armed green horned aliens of Mars. He is unwilling to be involved in the politics of Mars but as he tries to find his own way back home to Earth, he found solace and probably in the end, a place he could call a home.
This is an origin story. And although it moves through its first act with a break-neck speed, I felt that there’s nothing to a very small coherence to hold the plot solid. I mean, I could read a book during this act, and only occasionally glanced on the screen and still didn’t miss a thing. Of course, it was made with a considerable budget that mostly, understandably, went to polish and although it was pretty good, visually, but I don’t think that an extra dimension is really necessary. Obviously, I was never a fan of 3D technology to begin with. The meat of the story itself is wedged between one set piece after another and I should say that it was the bare essentials of the story. Just enough for a cause of civil war, and just enough for a background story. I figured that there should be more to it, but even at that, the movie didn’t lured out my curiosity.
The casts were solid. That is at least, as solid as an adventure movie goes which is to say that not any of them would be considered for an acting award anytime soon. Which also means that nobody in this movie would be singled out (probably Mark Strong, but that is a stretch) and all of them are forgotten once the movie ends. But, for a light entertainment on a Saturday evening, this movie will suffice for most. Although, if I should chose between having a chat with a friend or seeing this movie, I would opt for the former option. All the time.