Sci Fi Movie Podcast John Carter


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This week on The Sci-Fi Movie Podcast, Jonathan and Rem discuss John Carter from 2012 and directed by Andrew Stanton.

The Positive
John Carter is based on the stories written by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912. Though some might criticize the tropes in this story, we need to realize that countless other movies were stealing from this one.  This is a big story and world and would require 3 or 4 movies to properly tell the story, which was the plan, but the massive box office failure of John Carter caused the subsequent movies to be scrapped.  This is a fun and exciting ride and can be enjoyed by the whole family.  We concluded that the movie was better that the press gave it credit for. Strong performances from Ciaran Hinds and Mark Strong.

The Negative
Rem found the movie a bit ‘cutesy’, perhaps a Disney thing.  A different Director might have helped here. Marketing for John Carter was somewhat disastrous, removing ‘Of Mars’ from the title might have hurt the film too, in that ‘John Carter’ was used to appeal to a more general audience.

The Verdict
Like ‘Dune’, this is a big story, and would require 3 or 4 movies to really tell the story well.  It’s a fun movie to watch, though not essential.

 Making “John Carter” –  “100 Years in the making”


Listener Feedback

Anthony Farnsworth
This movie saddened me, upon seeing the trailer i was really stoked about this concept and what this movie could offer to the sci-fi genre. I found out it was based off a series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who some consider to be the godfather of science fiction, i went to the bookstore and grabbed up as much as i could and began reading that night. I was so invested after page 1, i couldn’t stop and i needed more from this universe. Just had to wait a few months for the movie. I’m not sure if it was my own self created expectations or just the movie itself, but i didn’t feel the mysticism or the escape i felt when reading the books. A huge part of why i love science fiction is that it allows me an escape from my own current reality, but with this movie i almost felt trapped, trapped in the sense of hoping to see something special but at the end it just wasn’t there…it felt like they were trying to force feed a fake atmosphere and rush a story. It felt like another Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer special, ya know those extremely bland pirates sequels and that Lone Ranger movie… A few positives though, the actress who played Dejah was a total babe and they created a whole language for the Tharks which they really didn’t have to do, and in fact could have spent the time it took to do that and tried to do something to make this movie memorable.

Brian Campbell
Call me, and my kids, crazy, but we actually enjoyed this movie upon viewing it on Blu-Ray. We were scared off of seeing it at theater due to horrible marketing and the tepid reviews. Yes, the story has issues. It’s really loaded with too many characters and politics which makes it feel like more than one movie stuffed into one. And the dangling plot threads were more than an obvious attempt to spin this ambitious movie into a series. I thought the special effects were top notch (though a rudimentary knowledge of physics demanded a suspension of disbelief) and the acting was certainly appropriate for the space opera unfolding on screen. Ultimately, I’d put John Carter leaps and bounds above Star Wars Episodes 1-3 any day. (See what I did there?)

Ton de Witte
I didn’t read the book, I had heard about the series but went in without expectations. In short I liked the movie it was enjoyable and entertaining. The fact that so many people put this movie down is a matter of unfulfilled expectations but that is nearly always the case when books are turned into movies. Not essential viewing but a nice movie.

Doug Ferguson
They should have stuck with the original title of John Carter of Mars. Removing the “of Mars” makes it so generic sounding.
I actually enjoyed this film as a fairly straight forward action sci-fi flick, but not too memorable for a film with a much more interesting production story.
One of the biggest box office flops? Yikes! It fell victim to poor marketing and an outrageous budget. It was built to fail.

John Bailey
I enjoyed the movie for what it was. But having read all the books I was disappointed that the film adaptation was not more faithful to the source material. If they had stayed more true to the novels we might be seeing a series of Mars movies instead of just this one.

Balbinder Bhatia
Esteemed Gentlemen and possible Esteemed Guest. Sorry if this comment is too long. I hadn’t read the books before watching the film, I was aware of them existing, and had the comic book adaptations, in a huge pile with other comics, waiting for me to get to them, when the film came out. I really really liked it. I went to see it twice more in the following days, those time with groups of friends hoping that they would like it too. Though they were not as enthusiastic about it as i was, they seemed to have fun. When the film turned out to be a financial and critical flop, I was truly flabbergasted. A lot of the criticism seemed to be that it was derivative of other properties of the same genre. Although I can’t disagree with what was being said, I would like to point out that books that are the source material for this film probably predate all those films and their source materials. Anyway critics be damned (pardon my language). This is an enjoyable old fashioned adventure film, which I’m glad I saw, as I have now read all the books in the series. I’m not sure if you will deem this film as essential Sci-fi viewing, dare I say that the books are essential Sci-fi reading. Keep up the most excellent work.

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Sci Fi Movie Podcast John Carter