Tuesday, February 28, 2012

John Carter: Movie Review

I went to an advance screening of the new Disney movie, "John Carter of Mars" this weekend, so I thought I would post an advance review.

See the movie trailer here:

Overall, I give the movie a rating of seven on a scale of one to ten. The special effects in the movie were outstanding and the action was great, but I must say, the storyline became confusing at times.

This movie begins with the apparent death of John Carter, a wealthy explorer. His nephew, oddly enough, named Edgar Rice Burroughs, is summoned, and when he arrives at the Carter mansion, read the last will of John Carter with instructions. The boy is given a journal and told that only he can read it, and this is where the action begins.

As he begins to read the journal, the real story develops. John Carter, a fresh veteran from the Civil War, is prospecting for gold, and is chased into a cave by Indians. A series of events leads him deep into the cave where he discovers a strange medallion that, when taken, transports him to Mars.

Upon arrival, he is promptly taken captive by the local inhabitants, and becomes embroiled in a Civil war between at least three civilizations living on the planet.

I will stop here for fear of giving away spoilers.

Although this movie is called "John Carter of Mars," it is based on a novel by another title by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The novel was originally titled "A Princess of Mars" and was published in 1917, six years after it was first written in 1911 and serialized in "The All-Story" magazine in 1912.

You may have trouble finding this serialized version though because it was published with the title, "Under the Moons of Mars." An interesting little fact is that the author name was listed as "Norman Bean." Edgar Rice Burroughs originally wanted to use the name "Normal Bean" as a joking way to indicate how normal he was. He was in business at the time, and was afraid that if he used his real name, his business partners and potential clients might think he was off his rocker.

The story originally titled "John Carter of Mars" was originally written by Burroughs' youngest son and later edited by Burroughs himself. It was originally published by Little Big Books in 1964, ten years after his death.

While this movie can surely hold itself as a standalone story, I suspect Disney has plans to produce sequels to this movie. The original "Mars" series published by Edgar Rice Burroughs included ten novels with "A Princess of Mars" as the first.

A good movie overall with outstanding special effects, and a believable story. I would also add that, even though this story is rated PG-13, it seemed suitable for a younger audience to me. While there is no sexual situations, nudity, or blatantly adult themes, there is some gore and blood, although the blood comes from alien beings, and is blue or green.