First, let me start by saying that I chose to see this film in the 2-D version, rather than 3-D, IMAX, or any other eye-searing options. This was a conscious choice, as most 3-D movies make me dizzy and I end up having to close my eyes periodically to stop the room from spinning. That being said, I thought that this film was a lot of fun. Taylor Kitsch is easy on the eyes, and so are his outfits (!!!) The special effects that were used to create creatures like the Tharks and Woola the dog / hound / “watch-thing” were REALLY cool:
While there are a few big differences between John Carter the movie and the novel that it was based on (A Princess of Mars), the same spirit runs through both of them. It’s a story about a reluctant hero, a man’s man who has the power not only to save himself but to save an entire planet. This is not an excellent movie, but it’s definitely a FUN movie. I recommend seeing this in the theater if possible so that you can appreciate the visual spectacle, but if you can’t see it in the theater then you should definitely catch it on cable/Netflix/ DVD/etc.
To say that I was not expecting great things from this movie is putting it mildly. Over the last several years I’ve seen several Eddie Murphy movies that were absolutely awful. And yes, I’m looking at you, The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Meet Dave! I’d also heard that this film had been sitting on a shelf (or is that in a can?) since 2008. I assumed that was because the film was so bad that they couldn’t release it, but then I read that it was held back on purpose so as to coincide with his gig hosting the Oscars. You know, the gig that didn’t actually happen? Anyway, my expectations for this film were extremely low.
And YET … are you ready for this? It was bad but not absolutely awful. There was actually a semblance of a plot in between the annoying scenes of Eddie Murphy pointing and gesturing and grimacing. And yes, there were a LOT of those scenes. Just to clarify, there were far too many for my taste, but most of the audience members in my sparsely-attended theater seemed to find them humorous. Read into that what you will. So I can honestly say that I have seen worse movies, and I have even seen worse Eddie Murphy movies. However, you should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES pay money to see this film. If you’re curious enough to see it, then please wait until it comes on cable, or check out the DVD from your local library. Of course, based on the sheer volume of Starbucks product placement in this film, they might end up giving away free copies of this DVD with every latte.
Thank goodness, something to cleanse my palate after that Eddie Murphy movie!
I got tickets to go to this show through the New York International Children’s Film Festival. I’ve been a big fan of this film for years — the first time I saw it I was a teenager staying up late on New Year’s Eve and it came on TV, and years later my boyfriend bought me a VHS copy. But this was going to be our first opportunity to finally see it on the big screen. Of course, by the time the enormous line made its way into the Symphony Space theater and we found two seats together, we were so far away from the screen that we might as well have been watching it on TV. And yet it was still a wonderful experience to watch that film surrounded by an entire theater full of people.
Of course, it didn’t help that so many of those people were children of all ages and varying attention spans. So I got to feel them kicking the back of my seat and listen to their ongoing littany of questions: Who’s that? What’s that? Where are the Blue Meanies? What did he say? Where’s Ringo? What’s happening? Where’s the captain? What happened to the Yellow Submarine? What’s happening now?
But still, it was an amazing experience feeling the goosebumps emerge on my flesh as I heard the opening notes of Eleanor Rigby, which is one of my favorite Beatles songs and one of my favorite sequences in this movie.
It was also cool listening to the audience laugh at many of the jokes, and to hear our fellow adults laugh at the jokes that sailed right over the little ones’ heads. After all, how many kids are going to know who Guy Lombardo was, or to get the reference of why the Blue Meanies thought that they could go to Argentina after they lost the war?
Anyway, I definitely enjoyed this movie like I always do. And while I did enjoy the group dynamic of watching this film as part of a large audience, I wouldn’t see it in a theater again as part of a children’s festival. After all, middle-aged audience members are less likely to ask lots of loud questions, kick the back of my chair, or hit me in the knee with their adorable little booster seats.