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John Carter

John Carter

Released 9 March 2012
Director Andrew Stanton

Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Haden Church, Willem Dafoe

Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon

Lindsey Collins, Jim Morris, Colin Wilson
Origin United States
Running Time 132 minutes
Genre Action, adventure, fantasy, sci-fi
Rating 12A

There's life on Mars.

Fantasy-adventure movies can be tricky to execute. While it is important to create a world that is wondrous and imaginative, it is also of equal necessity to, in some way at least, make the story and the characters within the story believable. John Carter is by no means perfect but it is a solid attempt that both fans of the protagonist and newcomers should be able to enjoy.

Based on the Barsoom series of adventure stories first penned by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs a century ago, this adaptation introduces American Civil War hero John Carter and his transportation from Earth to the planet Barsoom, otherwise known as Mars. While there, Carter discovers a world far from the realities he has known for his entire life as a human and becomes embroiled in an epic battle between the planet's inhabitants. At first, he is understandably unwilling to help but eventually begins to realise his overall importance – inspired, of course, by an increasing love interest with one of the nation's leader, Princess Dejah Thoris.

Throughout the film there are the usual elements that one would come to expect in a film like this. The love interest as already mentioned, a series of rousing speeches and visually stunning battle sequences, with a general oversight into the realms of a new world a constant source of entertainment.

The lead acting from Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe is suitably dramatic and typically over the top but doesn't really deter from a story that is generally well paced. Yet, with an evidently growing need to introduce as much information as possible for, I guess, what will surely be an upcoming sequel, some plot holes are a frustrating distraction and subsequently result in the battle scenes, while riveting, being a little too short in length.

This movie will probably be compared in many ways to movies like Lord of the Rings and Avatar and, even though it is highly unlikely that it will garner anywhere near the amount of plaudits and box-office success as those two did on their respective releases, John Carter is a welcome addition to the category.

- David Caulfield