Director Andrew Stanton leaves the animation world behind to bring us the long, long, long awaited film treatment of John Carter. It’s hard to believe that John Carter took nearly 80 years to make it to the big screen, but Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) does a remarkable job in doing so, even if there’s some wild elements thrown in that weren’t in the original story. Unfairly, the movie received all sorts of negative publicity during its theatrical run, with some critics seemingly taking joy from its relative ‘failure’ to live up to expectations and recoup its bloated budget. Somewhere along the way they seemed to forget about the actual movie itself.
Fellow reviewer Chris Pandolfi was among those who enjoyed its original run, and those who want to read his full review of the big-screen experience can do so by clicking right HERE:
“If you haven’t been able to follow along, take comfort in the fact that the real purpose of John Carter is to be a crowd pleaser. There are plenty of decent action sequences (aided in no small part by the special effects and, to an extent, the 3D), and there are several amusing sidekicks, none more memorable than the Martian equivalent of a dog, which clings to Carter like a boy who found a best friend. The dialogue and the performances are perhaps a bit theatrical, but keep in mind that this is an archetypal serial fantasy, in which half of the fun comes not only from recognizing the familiar but also from witnessing the impossible. Knowing this, I’m admittedly baffled by the criticism that the film is derivative. By now, we should all know that certain stories are intended to be formulaic. Would we enjoy them any other way?”
I’ll admit that I was leery when I first heard about the movie and saw the initial screen shots, having not been familiar with the source material, but after watching the first ten minutes before its theatrical release, I knew that I had see this live-action John Carter. While most will be quick to write it off as Avatar-lite, I actually enjoyed the story, action and adventure, as well as the zany elements such as Woola the alien dog-like creature that was thrown in for sheer fun. Even better was being able to experience it in 3D, as the added depth made Mars look even more wonderful, while also allowing some action scenes to jump right out at you.
This is made even more spectacular thanks to Disney’s excellent video transfer to Blu-ray, making every color and detail of Mars stand out clearly as intended. The alien world of John Carter will certainly thrill and amaze once you see it here. And the DTS HD 7.1 audio is just as grand, as it makes sure that every character is heard along with the action packed sounds with awesome clarity.
The extras contained here are out of this world as they start things off with audio commentary by director Andrew Stanton and producers Jim Morris and Lindsey Collins. It’s obvious that they really enjoyed making this film happen, despite the hectic filming and production work that came with it. “100 Years in the Making” goes into how difficult it was for so many filmmakers to bring Burroughs’ classic stories to the big screen. “360 Degrees of John Carter” gives viewers an inside look of spending a day on the set watching the cast and crew prepare for the filming that took place on that day.
Ten “Deleted Scenes” show off what didn’t make the cut and are introduced by director Andrew Stanton, who also gives optional commentary on the scenes for those who wish to hear it. The last extra is a hilarious gag reel for the movie called “Barsoom Bloopers” which is always one of my favorite treats for special features.
I really enjoyed John Carter, to the point I’m bold enough to say it’s one of the best live-action Disney films I’ve ever seen. With plenty of sci-fi action and a surprisingly amount of violence, you’ll be hard pressed to find another Disney movie like this outside of the Pirates film series. Most might find it Disney’s version of Avatar, but it’s definitely its own movie with plenty of action and adventure for the whole family when given a chance. As long as go in to be entertained, there’s plenty of 3D fun and excitement watching this awesome tale unfold, helped by some pretty spectacular special effects and performances by everyone – both human and computer-generated. It’s a shame how unprofessionally this film was treated during its theatrical run, but here’s your chance to rectify that mistake with this great Blu-ray that’s worthy to be a Jeddak (Mars speak for “king”) in your collection.
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Walt Disney Video