I went to see the John Carter movie this weekend. I had read many of the Burroughs novels when I was 12 or so and had mostly forgotten them, so it was with only a small amount of nostaligia and a large amount of expectation that I went to see this. I remember only that Dejah Thoris annoyed me when I was pre-pubescent and I am pleased that she has been brought up-to-date and displays a bit more independant kick-ass than the 1917 version. And you can see that John Carter has buffed up a bit over the Art Nouveau version (yummy yummy).
“Get behind me, Dejah, I’ll protect you!”
In the movie when he rescues her he says “Get behind me” but then she grabs a blade and does some bad-guy carving-up…so he looks at her, mouth agape then says, “or maybe I’ll get behind you.” I couldn’t help but think of the cover. I’m pretty sure the screenwriters were thinking of that too.
I am also pleased to report that they stuck pretty much to the original story and the changes they made enhanced the narrative rather than F’d it up. Burroughs tells a great story. Leave well enough alone. The 19th century Earth adventures and the timeless Mars adventure were both beautifully done: gorgeous costumes and backgrounds, super-awesome CGI and a great screenplay. Music wasn’t memorable, but that is not why I go to the movies.
The spirit of the story comes through, the characters and the intent. There is a scene where John has led the “good guys” to the wrong city and Tars smacks him upside the back of his head. Priceless. I loved that…the screenplay writers (there are three of them) knew exactly what to do to maintain the feel of the adventure, the companionship and deep connection of the cadre of friends as they try to save the city and the planet. It was obvious they had respect for Burroughs.
I give this 5 stars because it is the most fun I’ve had at the movies in years. I had so much fun that I had the wicked wicked thought as I came out of the theatre that I wanted to turn around and go back in and watch it again right away. I mean, right away. In fact, I’m thinking about doing that right now.
I am just so pleased that someone, somewhere, decided to spend 250 million dollars to make me happy for 2 hours.
Addendum: After looking at some professional critics’ reviews I had to laugh. Some said the film was “derivative”. Wait…I’m still laughing, let me catch my breath. OK. This reminds me of one of those teacher pass-arounds where they share student essays. A high-school student wrote on his test, “I don’t see what’s so great about Hamlet. It’s just a bunch of cliches.”
I guess they just didn’t know that A Princess of Mars is one of the first interplanetary romances written in English and spawned an entire literary genre. Star Wars is derivative. Not this one. *facepalm*