Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Helium Triumphant!

“John Carter,” the Princess of Mars movie, is fun!

Purists are gonna hate it; it's actually a conflation of A Princess of Mars and The Gods of Mars. Kinda... There are lots of liberties taken with both stories.

But oh, there is so much here. John Carter is a fighting man from Virginia, and he fights through the whole movie. By the time we are finished with his introductory scenes, I knew I was going to enjoy this flick.

Did you know the people who made “John Carter” are Pixar folks? The Director, Andrew Stanton, also directed “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E” and has writing credits on all three “Toy Story” movies and “Finding Nemo.” And it shows in “John Carter” because so many things that shouldn't work, work. John Carter's speeches work. The tharks work. Woola works.

There's a scene that must have looked cringeworthy on paper, that combines action, melodramatic flashbacks, and comedy. And it works.

Tars Tarkas is an ass, but you like him. The Heliumites are bold and noble without being wooden and dry. Deja is a warrior-scholar-princess without coming across as an overachieving “tiger baby” ice queen.

The trailers looked a bit rough, felt a bit flat. The movie does not. If “The Avengers” and “The Hobbit” were not coming out this year, I'd risk suggesting that it would be the most fun you'd have in a theater this year. If it had come out last year, I know it would have been the most fun I'd had in theater in 2011.

9 comments:

JB said...

Wow, that's a pretty stellar review. Now I just need to figure out a way to convince the wife to go see it!

; )

Syrus W. said...

perhaps I'll go this weekend

faoladh said...

I've been looking forward to this ever since I heard that it was happening.

trollsmyth said...

JB: What, shirtless guys chained to the wall won't do it for her? ;)

Faoladh: Same here, and honestly, the trailers had me a bit nervous. The acting seemed flat, the "rousing" speeches stilted, and the effects ok.

What's funny is I feel the same way about most trailers from the Pixar folks. I did not want to see "The Incredibles" from what I saw in the trailers, and it turned out to be one of my favorite films.

I'm not sure this will become a favorite. It's no "Lord of the Rings." But I had an undeniably great time at the theater tonight.

LS said...

Even considering that Captain America came out last year? That's a strong recommendation.

I look forward to seeing it.

-C said...

Is this even out yet? How did you get to see it?

trollsmyth said...

LS: Yes. I really enjoyed "Captain America." I loved the Cap when I was a kid, I loved what they did with his relationship with Bucky, and I really loved how they portrayed him as the spirit of America at the time.

What it didn't have was that bizarre Pixar mix of derring-do, psychological damage, and comedy that they make work. You know that love story Pixar punches you in the gut with at the beginning of "Up"? We don't get that (thank the gods) but there are echoes.

The movie has a surprising emotional depth, and then leavens it with comedy, all handled with panache.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for what they were doing in this movie, but there was one scene (you'll know it when you see it) that should totally have jerked me out of the movie. Instead, I wanted to be there, right next to Carter in hell's heart, swinging and spitting.

-C: Why, because I'm a powerful and influential member of the blogosphere, of course!

Actually, a friend tipped me off to tickets to a sneak preview. I think it actually comes out on the 9th.

mxyzplk said...

I went to see it and really enjoyed it. They messed up the trailers and advertising bad; it certainly doesn't deserve to tank, it's better than most of the other movies I've seen in the last 6 months.

P.S. Did you know no one can comment on Blogger posts any more with OpenID because it claims it fails the CAPTCHA? And that's been broken for months now? Alas.

trollsmyth said...

mxyzplk: Crap, no, I hadn't realized that. That sucks. I'll have to poke around to make sure there's not an option or something I'm missing that causes that. :/