Friday night maegwynn and I went to Mission Valley to see John Carter. The film was almost deserted on opening night, expected from one of the worst ad campaigns in film industry history. If you plan to see it, do so soon as it will bomb at the box office and this is a movie of spectacle: it deserves a full-size film theatre screen. Overall: good. Not awesome, but some nice bits. Gorgeous, huge, epic. The leads are decent and the supporting cast alone is worth seeing the film for.
(Note: we saw it in 2D, intentionally skipping the 3D INYOURFACEWITHTHESPEARS option. 3D is a movie gimmick that comes along once a generation because we've forgotten how it didn't work the last time.)
The film is funnier than the books, but Edgar Rice Burroughs was never long on humor. Decent lead performance. Dejah Thoris as played by Lynn Collins is not just an object in perpetual need of rescue (a nice change), being both a gifted scientist and decent with a sword. Seriously good supporting cast: Ciaran Hinds and James Purefoy (Julius Caesar and Marc Antony from HBO's Rome), Dominic West (Jimmy McNulty from HBO's The Wire), Mark Strong (first Sherlock Holmes baddie, Kick-Ass baddie, etc.), Willem DaFoe and Samantha Morton among others as Tharks.
The motion capture on the Tharks is pretty effective (insert cheap joke about Willem DaFoe being able to play a Thark without makeup, and I will watch Samantha Morton in anything after The Messenger), the caloots are like a toad-bulldog-lizard and somehow capable of being cute, sort of like a Fizzgig without fur. The thoats were sufficiently realistic as to be unremarkable, which is the most remarkable thing about them. I'm going to call them "Herman" and almost no one reading this will get that joke, sorry.
Anyway, go see it for what it is: a pulp SF action adventure. It's fun, even if the budget could have put people on Mars in real life.
* Wrath of the Titans - We finally get TITANS! And the first movie's delayed promise that they clash might then be fulfilled! In March!
* Brave - Celtic princess with a bow. Summer.
* Avengers - Second trailer. Has Loki. I guess Black Widow shooting Loki in the face isn't going to solve the problem. If I was Loki, it wouldn't help. First weekend in May, or maybe last weekend in April - I've seen both release dates.