John Carter comes to us from a veteran Pixar director, Andrew Stanton, director of one of my favorite films of all time, Wall–E. As his first live-action film he takes on an adaptation of "A Princess of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs. As the commercials call it, it is the inspiration for Star Wars and Avatar. John Carter has all the elements of those films; A space setting with highly advance technology, a love interest, a hero being introduced to a new world. Unfortunately, they all did not add up to be more than the sum of their parts.
John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is thrown into of the middle of a war on Mars a.k.a. Barsoom. He meets up with a clan of alien creatures led by Willem Dafoe and later shoved in the middle of a war between the good folks of Helium, led by Lynn Collins and the obvious assholes of the feature led by the great Dominic West and Mark Strong.
I've really hated Avatar but with John Carter I just felt nothing. All the pieces are there to make this a great film but it just came off really plain. I can only imagine that the shortcomings came from the original source material or maybe some Disney influence. Considering the man who directed the film brought incredible amounts of emotion and substance to two silent robots and a family of fish. Speaking of Stanton, you can see small flares of his presence here and there but the emotional connection that has been so present in his films just wasn't here. The space dog "Woola" is a great example of some of his brilliance showing through. But it wasn't enough to make this film great.
I believe the marketing really changed the way I viewed this film. The White Ape sequence was heavily hyped and I even saw some that sais this was reason alone to see the film. Unfortunately most of the sequence was given away in trailers and commercials and had very little to do with the film overall.
Michael Giacchino's score felt really poorly used. It very well could be good by itself but in the context of the movie it just felt bombastic.
I really can't recommend that you run out and see this one. There are some cool scenes, the film isn't bad but just fell flat. I'd hold off for a blu-ray release. Something tells me the making of this movie is more interesting than the final product.