Genre: Sci-Fi Action Adventure
Premise: A rugged Civil War vet (FNL's Taylor Kitsch) is transplanted to Mars, where he finds himself in the middle of a Martian conflict between races and a brave princess (Lynn Collins) in need of a savior.
Behind-the-Scenes: Making news more for its budget (over $250 mil) than its quality. Based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel that inspired Star Wars and Avatar. Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) makes his live action directing debut.
The Good: Some of the action sequences are pretty thrilling and imaginatively realized. The score by Michael Giacchino hits all the right notes. The CGI aliens and other creatures look real enough. Lynn Collins gives an impressive performance as the tough, stubborn princess. Maintains a great sense of fun even amid all of its flaws.
The Bad: The story is too convoluted and compressed. It never really grabs hold of the viewer. Because the book inspired so many similarly-themed sci-fi movies, it's hard for John Carter to make its own impression rather than just appear to crib from other movies. There are huge stretches of the movie that are long on exposition, putting action to the side. Stanton doesn't yet have a handle on live-action directing the way his Pixar buddy Brad Bird did in Ghost Protocol.
Should You See It?: Worth a look if you need to get a big summer blockbuster-type fix. Definitely a mixed bag though.
Rating: **1/2 out of 5 stars.