With the phenomenal box office failure of this adaption of ‘A Princess of Mars’ by Edgar Rice Burroughs, I was uncertain whether or not the film would live up to the previews. It didn’t. It was much, much better than I expected.
First of all, this was an epic film. Large sets, warring societies, aliens with fantastic special effects, and wonderful characters. John Carter is a Virginian soldier who has lost everything, even the cause he had fought for, but on a new world he might find one again. The film chronicles his strange journey to Mars and how he once more discovers something worth fighting for.
I read ‘Tarzan’ by Burroughs a few years ago, and I really wasn’t a fan of his writing. But the movie was done very well, the characters were developed in a believable way, and one of my favorite things of all… the protagonists made mistakes. Frequently in films characters figure things out instantly – no matter how bizarre the situation, but Carter didn’t. He crashed things, he fell a lot, and for a large part of the movie didn’t even realize he wasn’t on Earth.
There were humorous parts due to miscommunication between Carter and the Martians he encountered. There was the obligatory pretty girl for the male protagonist to rescue or fall for, but what impressed me was that she rescued him as well. They were equally matched, and the story didn’t depend on romance, but rather the real problems that faced the entire planet of Mars. Even though the Princess was the main female role, unlike Princess Leia, she wasn’t the only tough woman on the planet.
There were some inconsistencies, but I didn’t really mind because everything else was done so well. I had trouble remembering some of the exotic names, but that didn’t keep me from following the plot. A few of the special effects and battle scenes were almost gory (meaning that they would have been gory if the blood had been red), but despite that I felt reasonably comfortable watching the movie with my eleven-year old. All in all, I don’t hesitate to recommend this movie to others.
In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I’m reading ‘A Princess of Mars’ now.