Saturday, March 17, 2012

Under the Moons of Mars

Why 'John Carter' Is Loads Of Fun & You Should Ignore Cynics Who Can't Have Fun At Movies - Forbes

I'm so disappointed.

Not in the movie. "John Carter" may be the best film translation of an Edgar Rice Burroughs book ever. (But after nearly a century of "Me Tarzan, you Jane, me name son Boy because me cannot spell 'elephant'", I guess that's not saying a lot.) I've read the books, I've re-read them recently, and almost everything that's up there on the screen is in the books. Some of it isn't in the same order it is in the books, but it's there. And the little that is different improves on the books.

I loved "John Carter". I loved Woola rocketing around the Martian landscape. I loved the complexity of Sola, the Thark woman who "adopts" Carter. I loved Tars Tarkas Gibbs-slapping Carter on the back of the head. I loved "I told you he could jump!"

I loved that the first time we see Dejah Thoris, she's wearing the Barsoomian equivalent of a white lab coat, because she's a scientist. No, it isn't a white lab coat... but it is. It obviously is.

I loved Carter leaping to catch Dejah Thoris as she fell from a Martian flyer. I loved the Martian flyers! I loved the cruel Jeddak Tal Hajus, watching one gigantic white ape mop the floor with Carter,  boredly commanding, "Free the other one." I loved the "Oh, give me a break" expression on Carter's face when he sees the second ape.

More. Too much. I'm running on. I loved this movie. It was exactly what a John Carter of Mars movie should be.

So why am I disappointed? Because the assembled brain trust of movie critics determined, long before March 9, that this movie was a flop, a disappointment, a money sink of ishtaric proportions. And because that was the story they wanted to tell -- and because the mighty Disney marketing machine didn't have a clue how to sell this story -- that's the story it became. "A Princess of Mars", that's the name of the book, that should have been the name of the movie.

Go see this movie. If you think the critics might know better than me, save money and go to a cheap 2-D matinee. But go, while you still can.

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