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Sunday, March 25, 2012

A few last words about John Carter

We needed a break yesterday, so we went to see John Carter at the local cineplex. At the last minute The Kid decided he wanted to come along, too; he's at that awkward age where he's not old enough to take a girl to a movie by himself, yet old enough to be embarrassed at being seen by girls he knows from school while in the company of his parents. Of said girls there were plenty at the theater, all queued up to see The Hunger Games.

Including the three of us, there were seven people in the theater that was showing John Carter.

This seems a shame. John Carter is a rousing, rip-roaring, sci-fi action-adventure movie, and (I almost hate to say this) fun for the whole family. There are heroes and villains, and you can tell which are which. There are fantastic settings, spectacular gizmos—I particularly liked the Barsoomian flyers, which somehow managed to blend futuristic and steampunk into something better than both—dramatic sword-fights, perils to be faced, journeys to be traveled, monsters to be fought, other monsters to be befriended, deft moments of comic relief (if you don't laugh at the Thark baby-delivery scene, you are way too serious)—

And of course, a beautiful princess who needs to be rescued—and rescued—and when the situation requires, is fully capable of picking up a sword and doing a good bit of rescuing herself.

In short, it's everything you could ever want to see in a good, honest, heroic, romantic, pulp-fiction sci-fi action/adventure movie. If you liked the original Star Wars, you'll like John Carter. If you liked the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, you'll get that same thrill from John Carter. (Except that Carter manages to be considerably less bloody than Raiders. I suppose it helps that the Barsoomian beasties bleed blue.)

This is not just my opinion. I grew up on Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels, and think John Carter rates right up there with The Lord of the Rings in terms of adapting the original source material without doing horrible things to it. Karen, on the other hand, has never read a word of Burroughs, but she loved the pure-hearted escapism, adventure, and romance of it. And The Kid, of course, now thinks that Tharks are the coolest creatures that never lived.

What a shame that everyone is going to be talking about The Hunger Games tomorrow.
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