Director: Andrew Stanton
Screenplay: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon
Cast: Taylor Kitsch
Of Mars & Men
I’m just back from the cinema and my viewing of John Carter of Mars (I refuse to drop the “of Mars” since it’s a much better title and it appears at the film’s end). Here are some quick hits:
The story and imagination on display are not groundbreaking. I don’t think it matters that the source novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs provoked the imaginations of those who have brought countless science fiction and fantasy hybrids before our eyes. They got to the silver screen first and Joh Carter of Mars now looks a little generic. However… however, it is done with superb joy and craft. The bad guys are nothing to write on your blog about, but Taylor Kitsch as John Carter… well now. If a guy can invoke the aura of Kurt Russell then he’s pretty fucking brilliant as far as I’m concerned. It may have been just the beard and/or the hat, but I just could not get Mr. Russell out of my head while watching this movie. Other things, the story moves along at a good pace. It’s never too slow and it’s never too fast. It looks pretty good, too, but there’s nothing mind-blowing or groundbreaking about the visuals, either. The bookends device works brilliantly in both paradoxically tying up the movie and leaving things open for further stories. So, to sum up… goofy looking aliens, weird names, Mark Strong playing yet another generic bad guy, McNulty… it all adds up, somehow, improbably, to a pretty fun time at the cinema. I’m gonna chalk it up to the Pixar DNA of Andrew Stanton’s story-craft.