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John Carter: Review

Posted 02/07/2012

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John Carter
Years in the making thanks to its spectacular FX wizardry, ‘John Carter’ whisks us along with its titular character from the post-Civil War Wild West to an even more arid landscape: Mars. The flick is based on a 1912 story series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, but it took a century for technology to bring his vision to richly rendered 3D life.

Taylor Kitsch plays—you guessed it—John Carter, a rugged cavalryman who finds himself mystically transported from a cave in Arizona to ‘Barsoom’, a world where he has superhuman strength and the company of a smoking hot princess (Lynn Collins). Sounds like a pretty sweet free vacation…except that the princess is being forced to marry an evil warlord bent on conquering Martin civilization. Carter’s got to stop the wedding, save Barsoom from annihilation, and figure out a way back to Earth…but hey, at least he doesn’t have to deal with getting through airport security!

‘John Carter’ dazzles with truly breathtaking visual effects (not least of which are Kitsch’s abs and Collins’s curves!) and epic alien battle scenes. Though the plot is, at its core, fairly formulaic (save the princess, save the world!), the exquisitely rendered sights of Barsoom and the nonstop whirlwind of action keep things fresh and exciting.

Upsides:
- The strange new world of Barsoom is a masterpiece of imaginative effects artistry.
- Every scene rests on newly minted leading man Kitsch’s shoulders—and luckily, the likable actor has very broad shoulders. Also, did we mention the abs?

Downside:
- Though flashbacks show us John Carter’s backstory, the human characters are actually not quite as developed as the not-so-little green Martians.

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