in Review

John Carter

The problem with adapting the John Carter of Mars series of books is that everyone’s already stolen all of the best scenes. As prolific as the original works were, their influence so obviously and completely permeates the history of sci fi cinema that seeing it in its original context feels weird. The sith aren’t weird insects, their followers of the dark side of the force. Don’t try to Jedi mind trick me, I know my sith. But, if you’re able to overcome your biases and appreciate the film John Carter on its own merits, I think you’ll see it’s not just the best movie this year, it’s one of the best ever.

Like all great adventures, John Carter begins with our hero; solitary, damaged by past atrocities. A veteran of the Civil War, John Carter roams the land aimless, with little will to live. That’s when Bryan Cranston happens upon him, in that infamous scene when he tries to recruit Carter to him team. He’s unsuccessful, but he does at least corner John Carter in a bar. It is at that moment that Carter, misreading the sign that says “Barsoom” as “barroom,” accidentally runs through a portal to Mars.

Upon arriving at the red planet, John Carter immediately discovers that the difference in gravity has given him super jumping ability, sort of like Superman before Superman just started flying everywhere. This power is so appealing to him that he starts bounding across the barren wasteland that is the planet, leaping like the king of kangaroos. He continues picking up speed and height, and soon enough is circumnavigating the globe in mere seconds. Eventually, he reverses Mars’ rotation, throwing the planet, and himself back in time.

John Carter decides to land and survey the damage he has done. He finds Mars populated by a green, four-armed people. Realizing he has to be careful, John Carter tries his best to blend in and not alter the future. This is when he runs into Willem Dafoe, a Martian scientist who has been developing a time traveling machine. John Carter considers himself lucky, until Willem Dafoe tells him that to go back to the future, he’d have to enroll in Mars High School and convince young Bryan Cranston to fall in love with his mom. That’s when John Carter realizes that Bryan Cranston was his dad and he was trying to help him all along!

John Carter meets young Bryan Cranston and convinces him to date his mom, only to find out that she’s been kidnapped on a diplomatic mission. So John Carter, Bryan Cranston and Willem Dafoe head off to rescue her from British space nazis. Along the way, a Martian beast monster attacks them while at the same time their ship’s AI betrays them. In a lucky turn of events, the AI accidentally blows the monster out of the airlock, giving John Carter the chance he needed to rip out its motherboards and shit.

The trio get to the bad guy space base and rescue John Carter’s mom. She’s spunky, making fun of John Carter’s height, much to his chagrin. As they make their daring escape, Willem Dafoe ends up fighting with and getting killed by Mark Strong. John Carter is very upset about this until Mark Strong reveals the big twist: he’s John Carter’s real father, and the evil space base is actually a time machine he built so his son could go home. But the only way to activate it is to shoot a pinpoint weakness in its outside.

John Carter gets in his alphabet-themed starfighter and flies around the base. He gets caught in a dangerous dogfight with Dominic West, until Bryan Cranston arrives and saves the day. This is when he yells him infamous catchphrase, “Never give up, never surrender. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” So John Carter uses his magic to fire a shot that someone curves downward into the hole, activating the time machine and sending him home…

Or so he thinks! John Carter wakes up in a mysterious pod, unplugging weird cables that were plugged into him. He looks around and sees that there are millions of similar pods all around him, as if all of mankind has been turned into living batteries. John Carter is dumped out of the pod into some weird pool, and prepares to die. Suddenly, a spaceship appears and lifts him out of the water. There, he meets Samuel L. Jackson, wearing an eyepatch, who tells him he’s putting a team together.

Needless to say, John Carter is an amazing movie and I can’t wait for the sequel.

  1. I’d like to see John Carter team up with Coach Carter. Now let’s see that lose 200 million dollars.

  2. Well…. I wasn’t going to even see this film, after all the bad press it got, but YOUR review has convinced me I should give it a try. While it’s still on the big screen in 3-D. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

Comments are closed.