What does $250m get you nowadays? Well, Roman Abramovichs' Yacht will set you back $590m so that's out of the question but a private island is on the cards, so are a few Veyrons and a fleet of Gulf stream G6's and it goes without saying that you can comfortably live on KCF for the rest of your life, you'd even get $200m change from Tamara Ecclesteons pad but one thing you wouldn't want to do is be the person responsible for forking out this much on making John Carter. Sadly though, someone did and whoever you are, P45 springs to mind!
I so wanted to fall in love with this movie, it had everything from the beefed up Led Zeplin soundtrack on the trailer to stars including Mark Strong, Taylor Kitch & Lynn Collins (both from Wolverine) & Dominic West taking the lad roles, backed up with voice performances from Willem Dafoe & Thomas Hayden Church as a few of the 12 foot aliens it seemed that all of my Sci-fi dreams were coming true.
My anticipation was at its highest, that was until I watched the 'Review Show' on the BBC(?), Oh Dear. All my hopes melted quicker that an ice cube in the Sahara as it was dubbed poor, long winded, over priced & badly acted with most of the cast wondering why they signed up for such a donkey of a movie. The problem was it should have been awesome so what went wrong?
Well, its long - 2hrs in length and you really feel every minute of it with the first 30 minutes all set back in the 1800's during the American Civil War. I was not aware of the stories so although for people like me this needed to be explained, half an hour of slow, ploddy dialogue was just too much.
By the way, there is a plot which probably does need some recognition and it sees our hero, Carter (Kitch) on a search for his fortune and on the run from the confederate army when he comes across a resident of Mars hidden in the cave of gold he so eagerly seeks - after a quick fight, Carter find himself transported to Mars where he almost instantly discovers that due to his size and weight, the gravitational pull has given his almost superhuman like strength and an ability to leap phenomenal distances. After a short time, Carter is captured by a tribe of 12 foot alien beings and once his abilities are discovered he becomes a leader of their armies and goes into battle against Sab Than (West) who is hell bent on capturing one of the last remaining cities, marrying the princess and destroying everything. It's up to Cater and the band of Tharks to work with Princess Deja (Collins) & her dad, Tardos (Ciaran Hinds) to bring an end to Than's rule.
So, that's the story, simple enough and with the money spent and the special effects it should have been nothing short of spectacular but I have to agree with the critics, even with my highest hopes wanting to ignore the reviews - I too fell into a trap of disappointment and loathing by the time the movie was even half way through.
The sad thing is, I cant put my finger on exactly what was so bad - the effects for the White Apes and the spaceships was as good as lets say the Phantom Menace and the cast have each excelled in previous movies but all together with a drawn out script and too long getting anywhere it just seems like a slow, laborious rumble in the sand and one I could have easily done without.
The adaptation, from comic book author Edgar Rice Burroughs will undoubtedly have its admirers and if your one of those then this may be everything you dreamt it would be, but maybe I was expecting a little too much, wanting it to be the next Star Wars but I was way off target. For me, too much time was spent in the 1800's and it just seemed to drag on for an eternity with nothing really seeming to get going, the battles over too quickly and the cast looking like they made the biggest mistake of their careers - not to mutter the fateful words 'Water World' but this makes the Kevin Costner mistake almost rectifiable. Oh, and my final note - as for the 3d, WASTE OF MONEY!
Sorry Disney, normally an admirer of your work I feel the money that went into this could easily have been better spent buying the population of South Korea a Big Mac each (if my maths is right!)