Film Review: ‘John Carter’ is Poor Man’s ‘Star Wars’ With Kitschy Taylor Kitsch, Soft-Porn Lynn Collins

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CHICAGO – Usually it’s critics critically flogging a film when we say it weakly lacks originality and borrows too heavily from others. Disney’s “John Carter” attacks that classic grumble by promotionally comparing itself to “Star Wars” and “Avatar” before critics even had a chance to deduct points for it.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

But while being proactive in its contrasts, the film also attempts to sell moviegoers on one unknown fact: The basis for Pixar writer and director Andrew Stanton’s (“WALL-E,” “Finding Nemo,” “Toy Story”) story actually originates before its George Lucas and James Cameron predecessors.

Stanton’s current creation is based on the classic stories of a 19th-century Earth man who gets accidentally transplanted to Mars. And it’s been more than 100 years since “Tarzan” creator Edgar Rice Burroughs crafted the character John Carter: the hero of his science-fiction “Barsoom” (Mars) book series.

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “John Carter”.

Prior to his acceptance, Stanton’s hot seat was dropped like flies by many others. Robert Rodriguez was signed as the film’s director in 2004 when it was known as “A Princess of Mars”. Then Kerry Conran (“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”) took over. And then it fell into the directorial hands of Jon Favreau of “Iron Man” fame. Focusing on “Star Trek” instead, the film’s rights transferred from Paramount to Disney in 2007.

Through all the flipping and flopping, there’s no surer-fire way for a film to ink its own $250-million obituary than by contrasting itself to two of Hollywood’s most titanic films when it only has half the heart, soul and story of either one.

“John Carter” stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, Bryan Cranston, James Purefoy, Polly Walker and Daryl Sabara from writer and director Andrew Stanton. The film, which has a running time of 132 minutes and is rated “PG-13” for intense sequences of violence and action, opened on March 9, 2012.

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full “John Carter” review.

Taylor Kitsch in John Carter
Taylor Kitsch stars as the title character in “John Carter”.
Image credit: Frank Connor, Disney

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full “John Carter” review.

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