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John Carter [in 3D]
Starring: Taylor Kitsch. Lynn Collins, Thomas Haden Church, William Dafoe, James Purefoy
Director: Andrew Stanton
Running Time: 132 minutes
Studio: Disney
Rated: PG-13

Reviewed by Pam Allan

John Carter passes away suddenly and leaves his estate and a journal to his nephew Edgar Rice Burroughs. Very specific instructions are given as to his interment and, as Burroughs reads the book, he discovers the real story of John Carter and Barsoom [Mars ]and how he wants to go back.

For those who haven't read the book, Carter, a Virginia cavalryman is transported to Mars where he finds his military background and the power to leap both high and far help him to intervene in a war to control the planet.

Dejah Thorus, Princess of Helium, has fled her marriage to the conqueror arranged by her father and joins the native race still fighting. Together they foil the plot.

This film is full of action with technical effects to rival  Star Wars. The movie held even the kids spellbound. [I loved the animatrontic Dog.]

You won't want to miss it. The movie is a must for Sci-Fi fans. It is worth going to see again, and again..

Reviewed by Chris R Paige

This film is much, much better than the previews suggested, or than the mostly snarky reviews implied. I must confess, ‘with head bowed and cheeks flushed with shame,’ that I have not yet read Burrough’s A Princess of Mars, so I cannot compare this adaptation to the source; but I can vouch that this rendition does manage to convey why so many boys and men fell in love with Dejah Thoris. I did too.

The story unfolds with mysterious pursuits, a telegram, and a young Edgar Rice ‘Ned’ Burroughs being summoned to attend the reading of his uncle’s will. Ned finds a record of his uncle’s adventure, and that is the story that becomes the main action we see.

A disillusioned veteran of the un-Civil War, John Carter forcibly resists a cavalry Captain’s efforts to recruit him, searches for a fabled cave of gold, and finds there a portal to the dying planet Barsoom, aka Mars, with its two moons and considerably less gravity. (The moons are too round, as the actual Deimos and Phobos are irregular in shape, but oh well.) A war is being waged that is sure to delight the hearts of all Steampunk fen, for the alien technology is downright nifty. Carter is initially captured by a tribe of the tall, four-armed Thark, and later meets Dejah Thoris, who is both scientist and warrior princess. She entreats him to help her deliver Barsoom from the ravages of the Zodangan attackers, who have access to destructive powers that can level the city-state of Helium, her home.

The movie does depart somewhat radically from the books in several respects, but as a visual adventure it matches the spirit of the cover art of the old pulp publications.

The teasers in the opening scenes are fully justified and explained as the story unfolds. And whoever had the task of collecting the objects and artifacts for John Carter’s study was the nerd hero of the set crew. I wanted to freeze the frame, examine each item minutely, and teleport most of them to my den.

If you have avoided this movie because it got bad press, give it a try; it is visually stunning at times, and it strikes me as a better adaptation than many of the more financially successful recent confections. – Chris R. Paige

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