John Carter (of Mars). Directed by: Andrew Stanton. Starring: Taylor Kitsch (who?) as John Carter; Lynn Collins (who? ...but woof!) as Princess Dejah Vue; Willem Dafoe (if you can find him, bettern me); Thomas Haden Church (same same); Ciaran Hinds (poor guy perpetually draw the short one on account of the bad guy just about everywhere) here the expediency-crippled Jeddak of Helium); Dominic West the bad guy animated by mysterious images/impulses from Deep Space; bazillion Quarks, Throngs, Gumgwoks, and Blivits, all computer generated and evidently immune to how hot the Princess of Mars is in her slit skirt, midriff-revealing décolleté down to here outfit ("phainomerides" were the Spartan women allegedly on account of "flashers of thigh." Think Angelina Jolie on the Red Carpet... or Bambi Scheisswitz at the prom). Dunno where they filmed but appropriately depressing... oh, yeah, and by the bye, they gots water and air on Mars (or did then).
I can't say this fella is worse than any of the other cast-of-bazillions computer gen films (Lord of the Lost Rings of the Two Towers, The Mummy, The Scorpion King I-VI); I'm just not sure what we've got out of it. Looks like a standard Brautfahrt motif (guy from here finds a bride from there exogamously) cum virtuosity piece for the techno-squirrels who breathe life into those Martian aliens (well, alien to us, not on their own planet though there seem to be a fuss going on between the humanoid denizens--two sets of them, one good and t'other evil on account of touched by an exterrestr uh, sorry... extra-galactic hologram of which I saw one in a Star-Trek episode of which--and the green betusked Quarks, Troglodites to the Eloi or Epsilons to the Alphas or howsomever you care to invest these races/species with qualities: the moderns or humanoids supercilious, devious, mechanized (who seem to have devised everything but clothing, Lord love them); the "other" brutish, tribal, cruel but sorta admirable even so in their forthrightitude. Question seems to be, will the Turks (Quarks) enter the war on the side of the Allies (Princess Dejah Vue and company) or the Axis (Sab Than, the Jeddak of Bojanga, in thrall to the exo-cosmic projection, Mark Strong in the event)?
One thing Burroughs (think he did a hitch in the Seventh Cavalry but maybe that was H. Rider Haggard like there's a difference) was good at: the creation out of English vocables of outta-here, funny-sounding names, in the event for Martian stuff (Tars Tarkas, Tal Hajus, Barzoom), later--or earlier, I forget--for jungle stuff (Kreegah, Bandolo, Korak). He fancies his hero a cavalryman, too, a Johnny Reb, adrift in the Far West after the Recent Unpleasantness, beset by (pfui!) Yankees (the Bojangals of the Plains, as it were, motivated by their own extra-cosmic hologram to intestine war against the Apaches, the Quarks of the Arroyos... or something). Anyhow. John Carter, in full flight from Yankee imprisonment but pursued likewise by Apaches, stumbles into a cave where he blows away a hologram or not. Instantly, the deed transmutifies him to Barzoom, red desert populated by benign brutes (but watch those totems and taboos), in whose clutches he manages a) to discover enhanced powers (he can jump big-time) under the lesser gravitation of the place and b) to rescue the comely if partially-clad Princess of Helium (ballooning appropriately, if you catch my drift; pneumatic to a fault, if you catch my drift) then c) effect yet another escape on Schnurffle-back after d) incurring the loyalty of a slobbering Bublump (who will in the end save the day). And we're off.
Will the Bojangals rule Helium? Will the Quarks come over to the good side? Will we somehow destruct the indestructible Cosmo-malefactors? Will John Carter get back to Earth? Will John Carter get back to Barzoom? Will we get any (more) skin out of Princess Dejah (likely to displace Princess Leia in popular imagination on account of pneumatic-er ...and redder)? Will we have to endure more of these things (Burroughs left, like, three volumes of Mars stories behind along with Tarzan)? Will anybody trust this guy Stanton with a film budget ever again? Gort, klaatu barada nikto (John Carter gets a magical phrase to memorize, too): Martian for "Catch this one on Netflix." AF
The picture is a test. This will separate the prudes from the devotees of true art. And the VMI cadets will like it. It was Burroughs who was in the Seventh. pl