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John Carter (of Mars)

Posted by Richard on March 9, 2012

The new Disney film, John Carter, is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series, begun in 1911. The eleven books in the series are among the great classics of science fiction, and inspired many of those who followed in Burroughs’ footsteps. But did Disney do right by this legend of the genre?

Bryan Young of Big Shiny Robot emphatically says yes. He wrote not only a glowing review, but an intelligent one — the kind of review that persuades me to go see this film. Here’s an excerpt:

There’s one thing you have to do for this movie, and that is this: forget that you’ve seen every other cliched, formulaic blockbuster of the last thirty years. The source material is the thing that inspired all of the tropes we’ve seen in cinema since the old Flash Gordon serials and somehow John Carter’s adventures have remained sacred and off the big screen.

Watch this and understand that it’s true to the source material. You’ll have fun.

But on a subconscious level, you’ll be entertained by a level of filmmaking much more even handed, capable, and mature than you’re used to. The story is told elegantly, the wraparound sequences serve a purpose, the characterizations are deep and complex. …

But it’s still a Saturday afternoon serial, perfect for a matinee.

Read the whole thing, and see if you aren’t persuaded too. I’ll update with whether I think he’s right or not after I see it. If you see it first, let me know what you think.

UPDATE (3/25): Finally saw it today, and enjoyed the hell out of it. Excellent film! Go see! (If I have time tomorrow, I’ll post about it in more detail.)

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2 Responses to “John Carter (of Mars)”

  1. Rick Shultz said

    I, for one, will be interested in what you think when have seen this film. With little else to do I might actually go to a theatre to watch it even as much as I hate movie houses. I must admit with a certain amount of embarassment that I have not read even one of Burrough’s Barsoom Books. The closest I have come to this point to planetary romance type stories has been my one and only reading of Heinlein’s “Glory Road” which from reviews I have seen seems to have a plot quite close to that of “John Carter”. I am interested to see if you think it would be worth the time to see this film.

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