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John Carter

John Carter

By Patrick Samuel • July 5th, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 2/5
Disney Home Ent.

Release date: July 2nd, 2012
Certificate (UK): 12
Running time: 132 minutes

Director: Andrew Stanton
Writers: Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon, Andrew Stanton

Cast:Taylor Kitsch, Willem Dafoe, Lynn Collins, Dominic West, Mark Strong, Bryan Cranston, Ciarán Hinds, James Purefoy

John Carter

Civilisations throughout history have more or less followed the same path. Defined by the wars they’ve fought and the battles they’ve lost, we’ve come to be known as a violent and greedy species inhabiting a once blue planet.

We fight, not to keep peace, but to keep power and spread dominance. Like a parasite, we consume and lay waste to all we touch. This is how we will be remembered?

I always hope that when an alien race appears on screen in the films I see, the writers would have enough imagination to not burden them with the blight of the human condition. Perhaps this is too much to ask for, seeing as they are human themselves and can’t do more than is humanly possible with these characters.

John Carter, directed by Andrew Stanton and based on the novel A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, tells of a Civil War veteran (Taylor Kitsch) who lost his wife and child and now spends his time evading any kind of responsibility. During an ambush by Native Americans he hides in a cave where he discovers a device which then transports him to Mars.

Once there, and after learning that on Mars he can spring into the air and leap over incredible distances, John is reluctantly drawn into another war, this time between the inhabitants of the planet they call Barsoon.

John Carter

He tries to unite the leaders of two warring clans, Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) of the Tharks tribe and Tardos Mors (Ciarán Hinds), Jeddak of Helium, so that they can fight against Sab Than (Dominic West), Prince of Zodanga, who in turn is being guided by Matai Shang (Mark Strong), leader of the Holy Therns, an eternal figure who manages the destruction of civilisations on many planets and promises John that he will do the same to Earth.

John is spurred into action by Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), the Princess of Helium, who’s about to be forced into marriage with Sab Than. Dejah also serves as our hero’s romantic interest.

John Carter is a film that primarily deals with war as an eternal struggle throughout our solar system. It tells us that this is not limited to Earth, but something all species will experience, thanks to the Therns who whisper and influence the John Carterdecisions, choices and cravings for power, eventually leading to the downfall of these civilisations.

Feeling like a cross between Star Wars, Avatar and Conan the Barbarian, John Carter displays its visuals in a very eye-catching way but they don’t give the story any depth. The dialogue is at times leaden and cliché in its attitude that war is always the answer to tyranny. For once I would’ve liked to have seen alien races dealing with their problems in a way that wasn’t so human.

Although there are attempts at humour, they are just that, attempts. Together with a running time of over two hours, I really did feel like an actual journey to Mars would have been shorter and a much more rewarding experience than another space wars movie and gladiator-style fights.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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