Friday, August 10, 2012

PCP on DVD - John Carter

John Carter was a Disney film that came out earlier this year in theaters, bombed at the box office, and came out on DVD a mere three months later.  Disney lost a ton of money on the film, hurting their financial bottom line until The Avengers came along to give them a financial boost.  It made me wonder how the film was, because despite it bombing at the box office, I actually heard some good reviews from friends.  I decided to check the movie out for myself to see if I had missed out, or if the movie bombed for a good reason.

John Carter - 2012, rated PG-13.  My rating:  7 out of 10.

John Carter is an interesting character.  Written originally about 100 years ago by the same author as Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the character had many adventures on the printed page.  The film version had been stuck in development hell for almost a century.  The series was extremely influential on the development of the science fiction genre as it was one of the earliest and most popular works.  That popularity faded with time however, and by the time this film came out, few people remembered the original character or knew of his influence on sci-fi.

The film itself almost feels like a throwback to the 1930s, which makes sense given the source material.  The action sequences and visuals on Mars are quite entertaining.  The plot is relatively straightforward, and it feels like a pulp novel of nearly a century ago, or like a sci-fi version of the more familiar Tarzan character - a man out of the normal place in the world.  This retro appeal was a turnoff for many, and that is in part why the film bombed at the box office.  But if you are a fan of a decent sci-fi action film, go see this one.  It feels like something out of a different era of film making, and that's not totally a bad thing sometimes.

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