Saturday, September 23, 2023


March 9, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Critics are suggesting that while Tarzan and John Carter were both created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the latest Disney movie is as far removed from the simple apeman tale as Earth is from Mars. Indeed, they’re suggesting that John Carter may be yet another instructive warning about what can happen when a studio devotes millions of dollars to razzmatazz and scrimps on story. Claudia Puig in USA Today grants that the movie is “ambitious” but she also writes that it’s “bloated, dreary … humorless … tedious.” Moreover, she says, “The characters are one-dimensional, even in 3-D, which is gimmicky and unnecessary here.” And hers is one of the more positive reviews of the movie. A. O. Scott in the New York Times concludes: “A bad movie should not look this good.” Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal refers to it as a “weirdly inert spectacle.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times calls it “a big-budget fiasco [that’s] enough to make your jaw drop.” In his review of the film, Roger Ebert writes in the Chicago Sun Times that director Andrew Stanton’s previous films include A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, and WALL-E. “All three have tight, well-structured plots,” he writes, “and that’s what John Carter could use more of.” Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle observes that it “opens with a big battle scene before we even know who’s fighting, why they’re fighting, or which side we ought to root for. Has the moment come in movies where just the spectacle of stuff blowing up is enough to engage an audience?” But Peter Howell in the Toronto Star figures that the movie is likely to have a long life — at midnight screenings. The film, he says, offers much “Rocky Horror-style shout-out potential, because it’s more fun to mock this cinematic catastrophe than to watch it.” On the other hand, Ty Burr of the Boston Globe, who also mocks the film, notes that “behind me at a recent screening was a row of 10-year-old boys who were ecstatically in from the get-go. That’s probably all that matters.”