Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: John Carter [2012]


Background:
Release Date: 8 March 2012 (Malaysia), 9 March 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Andrew Stanton
Written By: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon, Edgar Rice Burroughs
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, Dominic West, Mark Strong, Thomas Haden Church, Ciaran Hinds
Duration: 132 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Based on the 100-year novel series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, where John Carter (played by Taylor Kitsch), who is a former military captain is mysteriously transported to the planet Mars (also known as Barsoom). Being on a different planet and atmosphere, Carter gains enhanced strength and agility, especially the ability for him to make incredible leaps. Carters is initially held captive by creatures called Tharks and their leader, Tars Tarkas (played by Willem Dafoe). Meanwhile the survival of the planet is under threat as war breaks out between the Kingdom of Helium, led by Tardos Mors (played by Ciaran Hinds) along with his daughter Princess Dejah (played by Lynn Collins), and the Kingdom of Zodanga, led by Sab Than (played by Dominic West).



Thumbs Up:
+ Interesting enough story with strong and dimensional characters
+ Excellent chemistry between Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins and good performance overall by the supporting cast
+ Captivating visuals and special effects
+ Nicely placed humour throughout the movie
Thumbs Down:
- With so many things going-on especially in the earlier parts, it may be hard to keep-up with everything
- While the action sequences qualifies as good and entertaining, it doesn't really break any new ground. Kind off disappointing considering the huge budget the film had.
The Verdict Is In:
After Brad Bird showed the transition from directing animation to live action feature can be successfully achieved in Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol [2011], it is now turn for another Pixar director, Andrew Stanton to follow in those footsteps. All the news leading up to the release of this film was how big the budget was, while the trailers seemed to portray that this will be a giant CGI-infested feature and nothing much more. But people seem to forget that Andrew Stanton has proven through his previous films, WALL-E [2008] and Finding Nemo [2003] that he is an excellent storyteller.

The earlier parts of the movie may have a lot elements to establish, so it might actually be a little hard to keep-up with everything that's going-on. But after around 30 minutes, Stanton's storytelling abilities will have us engaged with the plot and characters rather than the CGI. That of course is no easy skill to pull-off seeing that the special effects here are almost flawless. Having said that though, the action sequences while impressive is nothing we haven't seen before.



Other than their performances in X-Men Origins: Wolverine [2009], I wasn't quite familiar with the works of both Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins. In fact after initially seeing the photos and trailer, I felt Kitsch was miscast as he just seemed like a skinny Hercules or Conan. But both him and Collins gave strong performances while the same can be said of the supporting cast too.

Walking out of the cinema, the movie had managed to provide me with 132 minutes of enjoyable entertainment although it didn't quite reach the level that I was striving for. But my gut feeling however tells me that this film will improve upon a second viewing. And that is exactly why I will be doing so in this very near future.
Rating:
7 out of 10

6 comments:

  1. Based on your review this movie is quite great on just entertaining. I don't know if I will see it in the future. But thanks for sharing this!

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  2. Good review. Kitsch could have definitely been a little bit more charismatic but the flick still works due to amazing special effects and some really fun and exciting action. Sad thing is that this flick was made for $250 million and won’t make any of it back. Check out mine when you can.

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  3. Andina: I'm rather undecided about how rate this movie, and as I wrote, I probably need to see this one more time to really make up my mind. But yeah, I enjoyed it.

    Dan O: I really hope they make the money back. I won't mind this being made into a franchise.

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  4. Still a bit shocked by all the good reviews this is getting. Thought it looked a bit rubbish from the trailer. Sounds like a good one to see in the cinema but think I will have a tricky time persuading the girlfriend to come with me! Nice review!

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  5. your review confirmed what I have been hearing elsewhere. That I would be better off waiting to catch this streaming or on cable.
    enjoyed checking out your blog.

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  6. @Pete: I know, the trailer makes it seems like one of those video-game based movies. But it actually does have a story and dimensional characters although somewhat uneven and definitely can be better made.

    @3guys1movie: Thanks for dropping by, I've enjoyed your blog too.

    ReplyDelete

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