If an Earthling goes to Mars, who’s the alien? Civil War veteran John Carter has amazing powers in an environment inhabited by creatures twice his size when he’s transported to that distant planet. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures’ theatrical release brings to the screen another epic adventure from the same creative imagination that gave us the well-beloved Tarzan series, Edgar Rice Burroughs. John Carter is based on Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars, which predated Tarzan in publication by mere months but has taken much longer to make it to the screen. KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Gabriella Chu, age 15, shares insights on both the story and the film adaptation.
Reviewed by Gabriella Chu
(See her full review on video.)
From Disney’s latest $250-million-film comes the exhilarating 3-D adventure of John Carter. This movie is based on the first of 11 novels of the series series A Princess of Mars, written about a century ago by Edgar Rice Burroughs. In this film, John Carter is a Civil War veteran who finds a medallion that teleports him to Mars. There, he makes allies and foes with the aliens he encounters and falls in love with the princess of Helium. At the same time, massive war is occurring between the aliens, so Mars is in a chaotic state, and there is also an antagonist who tries to use schemes to put Carter back on Earth. Can John Carter manage to stay with his princess despite these obstacles?
Writer and director Andrew Stanton wrote the magnificent screenplays for Toy Story 1, 2 and 3; Wall-E; and Finding Nemo; but John Carter is not one of his best works. Some parts are not well rendered and a bit corny, but I did enjoy the ending of the film because it is interesting and unpredictable, and I am sure this movie will become very popular. I also liked the main theme of the movie regarding to cultural differences. The movie shows how different the norms and appearances are for aliens on Mars compared to people on Earth, yet it is universal for both life forms to have good intentions.
The CGI animation is also impressive, for it details even on the smallest of aspects. Its vividness combined with the 3-D makes the movie pop to life, particularly during the action scenes. The CGI animation is very compatible with movies such as Avatar and Planet of the Apes. The cinematography is also beautiful since the landscape of the film is set in the desert, which makes the movie more interesting to me since I rarely see action scenes occur in such an isolated, dry and hot place.
As for the actors, all of them performed their roles well, but I think Taylor Kitsch was especially well suited to his heroic character John Carter.
I recommend this movie to teens 13 and older because there are a few violent scenes. The movie is a great family film, especially for tweens and some teens. Overall, the movie is an entertaining cinematic experience. There is a myriad of action scenes and the entire film is in 3-D, which adds a lot of depth and makes the movie seem realistic. You will definitely be thrilled if you’re into science fiction movies and video games. Watch John Carter, as it is out in theaters now!
Photos: John Carter poster (top), Gabriella Chu (bottom)