Two days ago I read a post on GeekDad about the new movie John Carter, containing a list of discussion points to help parents decide whether it was appropriate for their kids. That post inspired me to write a list of my own, a list of Things I Liked About John Carter:
It's already a classic
The basic premise of this movie -- a young man is transported from his everyday life into a completely alien world, and he must call on his strength and courage to survive -- is nothing new. But it works, time and time again. Buck Rogers in the 25st Century, Avatar, Star Wars all have it. After seeing John Carter, I tried to describe it to Alfie by saying, "It's sort of like Star Wars with gladiators" . Imagine my embarrassment when I realized that Star Wars and almost every scifi film ever made was actually inspired by John Carter, a series of books that first appeared 100 years ago. It was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Recognize his name? He created Tarzan. Apparently the John Carter series was even more successful than Tarzan back in the early 1900's -- so give it a chance!
It's heavy on adventure, easy on sex
The movie is PG-13, so I was reluctant to take any of my kids until I had seen it for myself -- but now that I've seen it, I have no problem taking my 10 and 8-year olds to see the movie if they want to. There's a lot of violence, but it's so obviously fantasy that it doesn't inspire too much squeamishness. And despite the scantily clad humans and humanoid Martians, the only romance on screen was the good, old-fashioned, kissing kind.
Girl Power rules!
Smart, sexy, pretty and athletic, this is one princess that doesn't need the hero to do the fighting for her. Dejah Thoris, princess of Helium, reminds of Xena the Warrior Princess, with her long, flowing locks, no-nonsense attitude and seriously sexy combat attire. I like that she's also something of a brainiac. If you're one of those parents experiencing princess fatigue, let your girls know about Dejah Thoris and tell them that not all princesses are helpless.
Hot bodies rule!
As soon as I saw Taylor Kitsch's face onscreen, I recognized him as the actor who plays Gambit in Hugh Jackman movie Wolverine. I loved watching him as Gambit -- but in that movie, he kept his shirt on. Taylor's John Carter wardrobe leaves nothing to the imagination, and Oh. My. Gawd. Watching that for a couple of hours was, ahem, quite pleasant. Apparently he's also in the TV series Friday Night Lights, but since I don't watch it, that meant nothing to me -- although now that I know, I might watch and episode to see if there are any scenes of Taylor in the football locker room.
The 3D effects blend seamlessly into the movie
I once wrote a post about why I hate 3D: basically, the 3D glasses don't fit well over mine, and all those special effects (the swooping, the things jumping out of the screen) make me dizzy. John Carter was the first 3D movie that did not make me dizzy or leave me fidgeting with the 3D glasses. In fact, for most of the movie I actually forgot that I was wearing 3D glasses.
I'll be completely honest, this movie is not for everybody. There were times in the movie when I found myself bored, or incredulous. There were also times when I found myself swept away by the adventure, and awed by the cool aliens. But I think science fiction fans will love it and love Andrew Stanton for bringing such a classic to the big screen. If you love a grand, rollicking adventure, you'll like it. I'm pretty sure almost any little boy between the ages of 7 and 12 will like it. Will you like it? I've listed some reasons why you might. Go for the awesome CGI. Go for the human eye candy. But go and decide for yourself.
Disclosure: I attended a complimentary advanced press screening of the movie . The views and opinions expressed here are my own.