MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
This spring, “John Carter” was one of the first cinematic casualties, and that’s a real shame. Making a soft $70 million in the U.S., the film lost money that the $200 million take overseas didn’t cover. This is unfortunate because “John Carter” is a really good film that was sadly doomed from the start.
The story follows a Civil War vet who is mysteriously transported to Mars where he becomes the warrior savior of a race of creatures fighting against an alien threat. Because he has muscles developed in Earth’s higher gravity, John Carter has apparent super powers on the new world.
The biggest struggle that “John Carter” has to overcome is its own story. Written a hundred years ago by Edgar Rice Burroughs in a serial format, the story is hard to adapt. And while many modern science fiction tales have been inspired by this series, the naive audience seemed to find this movie too derivative of other works.
But at its heart is a beautifully looking, fun-filled action piece which features some incredible effects and kick-ass battle scenes. The biggest stumbling block within the movie is its lead actor, Taylor Kitsch (whose career is pretty much over after the successive flop of “Battleship” this spring). He’s a flat actor who doesn’t quite have an “it factor” on the big screen. However, in spite of Kitsch, this film is an adventure that more people should give a chance.
The two-disc Blu-ray set comes with a DVD for portable use. Both the DVD and the Blu-ray include an audio commentary with the filmmakers, plus the featurette “100 Years in the Making,” which examines the development of the “John Carter” story from the inception of the idea by Edgar Rice Burroughs a hundred years ago.
Exclusive Blu-ray content includes “Barsoom Bloopers,” deleted scenes with optional director commentary, “360 Degrees of John Carter” immersive behind-the-scenes materials and “Disney Second Screen,” which offers access throughout the film.
A four-disc 3D Blu-ray of the film is also available from Disney.