Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

March 9, 2012

Mars attacks

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:33 pm

March 09, 2012

Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton

Director: Andrew Stanton

It’s hard to believe that the same filmmaker who made us fall in love with a waste-recycling robot is responsible for the over-long, humorless adventure that is John Carter. Directed by animation veteran Andrew Stanton (of Wall-E and Finding Nemo), this expensive, live-action film is based on a series of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 100-year-old fantasy-romance novels, and features Taylor Kitsch as a former Civil War soldier in Arizona, who comes across a mysterious cave and a powerful amulet that instantly transports him to Mars, or Barsoom as it is referred to by the locals.

Once there, he encounters several warring factions including the Zodangans, the Heliumites, the Tharks, and the Therns. When he falls in love with Helium princess Dejah Thoris (a wooden Lynn Collins), he teams up with her to save the planet from some sort of threat that is never clearly defined.

Despite some impressive CGI battle scenes, and fantastic creature design, the story itself feels episodic and boring, with Carter repeatedly being captured and escaping over and over again. Fine actors like Willem Dafoe and Samantha Morton are buried under prosthetics to play members of the green-skinned, four-armed barbarian tribe, the Tharks. And leading man Taylor Kitsch just doesn’t have the presence or the acting chops to rise above this fractured film.

Fans of the books might appreciate that the film is faithful to Burroughs’ dense writing, but those unfamiliar with the stories are very likely to find themselves at sea amidst the clunky dialogues and the incomprehensible plot turns.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for John Carter. Thrillingly staged action scenes can’t make up for the dull characters and the confusing plot.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Absolutely right, saw this movie on holi and im totally disappointed with disney, i just did nt understand what was going on bad script, no detailing of characters or plot, no humour and the story or character doesnt bind u so the movie seems never ending. Come on disney ….

    Comment by sagar — March 10, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  2. hey , sir , at least u can give it 2.5 , instead 1.5 for lovely Lynn collins………. as u said story is just going nowhere.

    but , 2.5 for Ra.one and just 1.5 for John Carter ………Uhhh ye baat kuchh hajam nahi hui…..but still , u r the only reviewer
    , that i like to follow .

    Hats off , and again , the reply is must……….

    Comment by Nirav — March 11, 2012 @ 10:35 am

  3. I really loved the movie. Can’t understand why so many critics are giving it bad review. Its puzzling.

    Comment by KK — March 11, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

  4. It was such an amazing movie…You cant just give it 1.5…

    Comment by Arnav — March 13, 2012 @ 3:31 am

  5. Your review’s are mostly good ..agreed with you on this one but sometimes its baffling when u give ra,one ,2.5 ,guzarish 2(deserves much more) ,kites 3 it was boring movie.I hope u get fully right most of times

    Comment by siddharth — March 15, 2012 @ 3:54 am

  6. rajeev sir i’m your biggest fan and i only refer your reviews before going to see any movie but sir this is the first time i feel that you are too harsh on john carter It was such an amazing movie…You cant just give it 1.5…at least it deserves 2.5 from you(in my opinion it is worth of 3.5 stars)i don’t know what makes you give it only 1.5……nirav is right you gave ra.one(the bakwas movie ever made in indian cinema history) a 2.5 stars and for this only 1.5.But anyway you are my favorite reviewer and always will be……but do give john carter a second chance i’m sure you will rate it higher than this.

    Comment by shashank — March 15, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

  7. Hi Rajeev, I feel you finally got one wrong big-time. The story is a classic and much better than Avatar which was a simple one. But just like Avatar this one combines CGI and live-action seamlessly. In fact, the ‘Wow’ factor is very much present. For a SciFi fan, this one is the best since Avatar and, in fact, may have taken the bar higher a notch! I give it 3.5 stars…. I will continue reading your reviews coz you are the best reviewer out there! Cheers!

    Comment by Pashu — March 15, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

  8. Absolutely agree with the review except the fact that it perhaps deserved just 1 ★ …. pathetic movie based on poor concept and horrible direction.

    Comment by Jay Jani — April 4, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

  9. not agree
    and this is not their movie this is also our movie more than theirs
    this is our movie
    the whole world watch this movie
    it proves it is not as bad as u said

    Comment by naishal b dave — April 6, 2012 @ 11:56 am

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