Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Know Nothing, John Carter

John Carter was so bad I couldn't even be bothered to shush the couple sitting in the row in front of me who had a conversation the entire movie. I'm a militant shusher, y'all. But the thought of proclaiming to the world with the shush that I really cared to hear the godforsaken dialogue coming out of these character's mouths was just too embarrassing to even consider. When the guy a few seats over from me turned on his iPhone at the three-quarter mark I almost leaned over and watched him play Angry Birds instead of bothering with the screen anymore.

This all makes me sad. I had high hopes for JC, and with all its negative box office attentions this week I'd hoped I'd be one of the people defending it, saying it's a misunderstood pop masterpiece. I love an epic outer space yarn filled with four armed aliens and the buxom men and lady-folk that fight them, love them, et cetera. When I heard they were finally making the film I ran out and read several of the books in anticipation - it always seemed like I should have read the books anyway, so this made a good excuse - and while I thought the first book was the weakest of the ones I read (I enjoyed the religion-bashing second book a bunch more) I figured all that could be straightened out on-screen once the political pronouncements and dopiness were streamlined and Burroughs' tendency to write action like, "And then Carter fought them, and he beat them good, next scene" could be filled in with, you know, actual scenes of cool fighting.

But good god is this thing plodding. And dopey, and god it's unattractive to look at. Garish and muddled and edited incomprehensibly. There's not a single action scene here that involved me. Taylor Kitsch looks good and looks better in less, but I'll be damned if I could tell you if he can act after this (I know, Friday Night Lights fans, I know). His accent is as wobbly as his triceps are firm - John is supposed to be Southern, not a Canadian Clint Eastwood. That's not the sort of thing I usually call attention to but it gets so thick at moments, his attempts to Southern him up - usually whenever his character being Southern is brought up - and then just vanishes for the rest of the time, that I can't not. The script does him no favors - the dialogue's thuddingly dull, even for someone who recently geeked out about Therns and the River Iss.

I will say I kind of liked Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris - she gave some fire to the character - and Woola was cute. Ending it on some positive notes! Two itty bitty positive notes that are completely drowned out by an opera of failure otherwise.


Anonymous said...

Thank you! For me it was a 5/10. I know it's the grandpa of star wars and lotr etc but it was bad in every way possible. I coudn't care for the heroes or the vilains, poorly directed, terribly edited. I watched an interview with the producer and I'd love to watch an extended cut. This movie tried to hard to be Avatar or star wars but it was not even prince of persia. I'm sorry too coz I heard some great things about it from friends.


Lizou said...

I have to admit that I'm relieved you found this movie disappointing (to say the least). Thank you for watching and suffering so that I can finally decide I don't need to see it. Several elements of the movie and other reviews have warned me against it but your vote sealed the deal. Thanks!

Drew F said...

As much as I usually love all your hyperbolic talk about how awful or amazing movies are, this post annoys me. Maybe its because everyone else has been panning this since it came out too, I dont know. But I really didnt think it was that bad. Sure, it certainly could have been done better (alot of it felt quite rushed and over edited) and the dialogue was pretty bad in some parts (having never seen FNL though, I just blamed that on Kitsch) so I was disappointed that it didnt live up to its expectations. That said, some of that can be attributed to the goofy cheesiness I kinda expect from a Disney movie. This was never gonna be the next Star Wars! I think mostly this film suffers from a disconnect between the audience to which it was marketed and the audience for which the film was made.

DuchessKitty said...

Count me in as another person who enjoyed this film. I had a great time, and several people in the theater I was in actually cheered at the end. I wasn't that enthusiastic, but I certainly don't get why so many people hate it so much.
I'm curious when you say that it was "unattractive to look at", did you see it in 3D? I did not, because I had read two critics' reviews where they strongly recommneded seeing it in regular 2D. I thought the Mars landscapes sets and the ships etc. were really cool looking and well done. But I know that the 3D has been panned for being shoddy.

I know Taylor Kitsch's accent gets a lot of flack but good god y'all have you heard his real voice? He has such a strong Western Canadian accent normally, the fact that he turns it into something Clint Eastwood-esque is an accomplishment. You can take the boy out of Kelowna but you can't take Kelowna out of the boy. Kitsch even lives perrmanently in Texas now, so you'd think that he would have been able to do better.

Nick B said...

You said it better than I could, JA, and a lot more humorously. I hope that Woola was that alien bulldog because that was about the best thing. I'm sure you read the article about Andrew Stanton's ego in the Times and how every one at Disney was too afraid to confront him during this trouble-plagued production. It's interesting that of two Pixar directors transitioning to live-action filmmaking, it was Brad Bird that found success directing Mission:Impossible. Anyway, I was looking forward to seeing JC of Mars and ponied up big cash for IMAX 3D only to be disappointed -Taylor's torso was the only thing that kept me interested, but it wasn't enough to save this unforgivably stupid and dull pic.

Maybe I'm just crazy said...

I totally agree. This movie was incredibly boring to me. I saw it with my father, and he and I were laughing at how bad it was. Woola was really the only saving grace. I couldn't help but wish the whole movie was about him.

Eve said...

Awww, is it really that bad? I was considering watching it for James Purefoy, Dominic West and Ciarán Hinds. Should I wait for the DVD? Or not watch it at all?

Anonymous said...

I think that they panicked at the very end of the production process. If you look at the ten-minute trailer that was posted to YouTube, you can see how the movie was supposed to work, but that vision went out the window when 'creative differences' took the director off the picture. For the rest, you get just what you'd expect, when you take $250 million dollars worth of effort and let some accountants edit it.