In brief consideration of John Carter

This might just be the first non-negative review of the movie you’ll read.

It took me almost a full week, but I finally got around to John Carter tonight. Since I did my bit to promote the movie before its release, I figured I should write something of a followup. This will be brief.

I enjoyed the movie. Yes, it started. very. slowly. No, Taylor Kitsch (yes, I had to look up his name) did not manage to change his affect once in 139 minutes as John Carter. Yes, plot points were often difficult to follow. No, I’m not sure how Agent Smith managed to land himself quite so many cameos. Yes, it was in many places over-the-top cliché.

But at the end of the day – or middle of the night, as it were – I’m glad I saw the film for what it was: a rather enjoyable science fiction/action movie that, yes, had no shortage of flaws, but can also claim its share of smile-inducing scenes and memorable moments.

So why all the negative reviews?

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the movie will be a massive box office flop – despite taking in $70m internationally on its opening weekend, John Carter is still projected to lose around $150m on its $350m combined production and promotion cost. And I think that number is the white ape (see above photo) in the room, if you will, of any John Carter movie review.

Was John Carter Star Wars or Avatar or Lord of the Rings? No. But was John Carter enjoyable? Sure.

Was it $350m worth of enjoyable? That’s a totally different question – but not one you need to be asking. It’s Walt Disney’s problem. All you stand to lose by giving the movie a try is two hours of your life, plus the price of admission.* These days, you could (unfortunately) do much worse.

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*Don’t bother with the 3D if you can avoid it.

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