Poor John Carter.
I had read A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs a little over a year ago. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it that much so I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up really liking it. I haven’t got around to reading the other novels in Burroughs’ Barsoom series, but I plan to some day. It’s a well regarded sci-fi and fantasy novel that influenced a good numbers of successors in the genre while even creating some sub-genres of its own. If you’re interested, you can read A Princess of Mars on gutenberg.org, as well as the next two novels, The Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars.
I was pretty excited when I first heard that they were making a movie adaptation. A Princess of Mars has plenty in it that would translate well to a movie screen. Exotic locations, unusual creatures and a fairly simple plot line that would (should) hold up well to the edits needed to adapt it. When the movie finally came out, it bombed. Embarrassingly so. Disappointed by the bad reviews and not wanting to waste money on a bad movie, I decided to wait to see the movie on DVD.
I finally got the chance the other night. And actually, I liked it. It wasn’t great, by any means, but it certainly wasn’t the piece of garbage I was led to believe by the reviews. Some of the bits they added to the story were unfortunate. (For example, I have no idea why the film makers felt the need to focus so heavily on Carter’s first wife. It was completely unnecessary.) But, the movie itself certainly looked good. And so many good actors attached to it too! Willem Dafoe, Ciaran Hinds, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong. Taylor Kitsch might not be winning any awards for his acting talent anytime soon, but he certainly makes a good action hero.
Overall, the movie was just a light, silly piece of entertainment fluff. I don’t recommend going out of your way to watch it but if happens to fall in your hands, go ahead and watch it. You’ve seen worse, I can promise you.