Thursday, October 11, 2012

John Carter

John Carter

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Lifeless, generic, and uninteresting: the three words I would use to describe John Carter. Was this really the same guy who directed 'Finding Nemo'?

Films living on borrowed themes walk a very risky line. It's incredibly hard for a movie to rise above, when it's being dragged down by its own limitations. John Carter, a film with a budget somewhere in the range of $300 million, sadly, didn't think to use any of this abundant cash to buy a script that had any sense of originality whatsoever. Everything, from the story, characters, and set design were either influenced by, or blatantly stolen from superior science fiction films and stories. When a movie is so unoriginal that it makes Avatar look like a work of creative genius, you know something went horribly wrong.

Taylor Kitsch is a failure as a movie star. There are many worst things you could say about a person, but both as an actor and as a presence, Kitsch has very little to offer. He doesn't look, feel, act, or present himself as a viable action hero, and though the material around him doesn't do much to aid him, he doesn't do anything with what he's given to make me believe he has the potential to be anything more than what you see here. This weak casting/performance is only one element of what makes this such an uninteresting, uninspired movie, but it is still a major one that's hard to ignore.

In fact, I find most of the casting in this movie to be quite poor. The most talented actor in the film (Willem Dafoe) is given only a voice role, as they leave the majority of the "real" acting to a largely inept cast. Needless to say, most of the acting is poor, and the material they are forced to work with is even worse. Had they replaced Kitsch and Collins (the lead and the love interest) with more capable actors, not only would the non-existent chemistry between the two characters have vastly improved, but the film might have then found a way to make the audience care about what happened between the two. These characters and their dull, lifeless interactions are not nearly strong enough to hold the emotional weight of a film -- even one as light as this.

For a movie with this bloated of a budget, I was amazed at how weak the CGI was. The effects were lifeless and flat, giving the entire movie the feeling of being trapped in an uninteresting video game. The characters were poorly-developed, the dialogue was dull, the story was generic, and the effects were surprisingly poor. There were a few good scenes, but for the most part, I can see why this movie was such a failure at the box office. It just wasn't good.

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