John Carter (2012) Review

Think I may be crazy, because I actually really liked this film. The film deserved a better rap than it got and the films advertisement was terrible. The main reason I would say the film didn’t make much money was the advertisement because even I didn’t go see it at the cinema and that’s really saying something. A massive surprise to me! That’s some good Sci-Fi.

From filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes John Carter-a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). John Carter is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.

The advice I would give to readers is, buy it on DVD or rent it because you can’t see in cinema which I really should have. At the end I will discuss what I believe to be the reasons it failed in the box office and how it could have made more money.  Tim’s Film Reviews: Buy the Blu-ray and watch it.


To start off let’s talk about the acting. The acting was actually pretty good which can sometimes get confused in films like this with plenty of props and CGI. The main character of course John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) who was as always pretty good as a fun character but sadly he is yet again in a film which has slumped in the box office. The next point actor wise would be the surprise amount of near all-star cast that I discovered; when I saw the trailer I don’t remember seeing any of them really. I will discuss that point more at the end. Now a person who I thought did rather well as a female lead Lynn Collins who I generally liked, but I am sure many people may have found it a bit cheesy but it never bothered me. What was a big surprise was when the aliens actually felt real after they spoke English, because from the trailer I just thought they would be some stupid looking creatures with no depth. But they were good and I really liked Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) credit goes to him with fun dialogue with realistic feel.

This trailer seriously was misleading because it’s such a scattered and structured story telling for a trailer, I mean if you compare this trailer to The Avengers trailer or The Dark Knight Rises trailers you can’t say they are even on the same scale. Check it out:

The special effects were top notch, physical props and visual landscape shots where actually very good, but seriously were over budget and really needed control because they should have seriously had some constraint on the less important very short parts of the film. The only thought that kept popping up was that it looks really nice but could they not have done anything a little cheaper considering all the CGI effects that will be coming up. The fight scenes which seem very short and non-important compared to the weird love story in the trailer was to my pleasant surprise very good and far more necessary and long lasting than the trailer suggested (damn you to hell trailer).

Now then the plot was actually very good for me because I already knew about the original book and remember thinking that the trailer looked like it went completely off base with the original story. Then like every other assumption I had with the film it turned out to be wrong because it was actually very close to the original story. From the Jeddak to the Thern the whole story of his adventure on the planet worked really well and I just loved it. Just the name of everything sounds great to any fully fledged nerds out there (me, and you probably if you are reading my reviews).

Why do all my films keep failing God? Why?

The best review I found would be “There’s a delightfully unfashionable cheesiness about John Carter, a film for all he family, but in particular sci-fi fantasy geeks and older gentlemen who have never been able to relinquish the spiffing derring-do of Burroughs.” Kate Muir. This must be the only UK review that didn’t hate this film, but screw them I agree with Kate (Times [UK]). My favourite scene would have to be the massive fight with Carter decimating a horde of Jeddak, that scene for me was so unexpected and presented a more physical presence in the film.

Finally, how could this film have been more profitable? Well let’s start with the budget, where were the penny pinchers who conflict with a good films budget? The places I think could have saved them money would be. First the 19th century streets which include extras, costumes, props and renting some kind of themed street for filming a mean come on really was that needed for this film. Secondly the nearly all-star cast wasn’t really needed especially the scenes with Daryl Sabara, Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker, Rupert Frazer and David Schwimmer. Now don’t get me wrong they are good actors but I don’t see why their parts couldn’t have been done by just any extras. Great now let’s talk getting more people into the cinema to watch it. Firstly the trailer was scattered and didn’t interest me in the film what so ever, nor did it really reflect the story of the film. Secondly the name is so bland and unspecific so when paired with a bland poster like near the top of this post, it becomes a non-interesting advert for a movie that nobody could get from the name or poster. Seriously the poster is; it’s about a guy called john carter who walks in a desert I think, with some people behind him maybe he is leading them or something, oh and there’s a moon or a sun in the background can’t tell really because of the red tint. Great when can I buy my tickets!

This poster I found on the internet and apparently was just done by a fan! On Photoshop! That’s a movie I would have gone to cinema to see! And below is another one that looks like it’s a kind of star wars themed poster.

The film cost $250M to make, could have shaved $50M easy. Best part, they spent another $100M on advertising. They seriously spent that much on the worst advertising ever. The film grossed $283M which makes me sad because I think if they did what I just stated it could have grossed about $600M plus if you include the savings I stated it would have been successful and would have been able to make a sequel.

I will be releasing more reviews and more recent films I have seen in Cinema.

To see more reviews I would recommend the site Rotten Tomatoes:

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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films!

16 responses to “John Carter (2012) Review”

  1. wordschat says :

    I liked this a lot too and was stumped why it was avoided at the box office. With stuff like “Cowboys and Aliens” wasting cinema screens this got overlooked. Never read the story but this back story and ending had promise. Check my review. Enjoy reading yours.


  2. Franz Patrick says :

    I’m always delighted to hear that someone enjoys a movie even though most critics eviscerated the damn thing. This movie is on my Netflix queue (currently under “Very Long Wait”) and I’m looking forward to watching it. I want to enjoy it so I can give a positive review. But if I don’t… well, at least this post gives it a positive word of mouth! 🙂


  3. The Focused Filmographer says :

    I very much enjoyed this film too and was saddened to see its box office results. I don’t think there will be a sequel now, but I really want there to be. The trailers were not very forthcoming in the story. I found a fan trailer that was done much better actually.

    Nice find in those fan posters. That first one is pretty sweet. Man, I loved this film and I’m glad you did too.


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      It’s so annoying because it was good and I know people would have really enjoyed it but nobody has a clue what it was, I didn’t go see even though I knew what it was because the trailer was terrible, glad you saw reason though and liked it 🙂


  4. Parlor of Horror says :

    I knew this film was going to sink like a lead pipe. I asked my kids, do you want to see John Carter, they said, “Who? What? My daughter thought I was talking about her school guidance counselor.


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      Better posters and changing the name to ‘John carter of mars’ would have put the gross at $600M, just sad really because it was actually a good sci if watch.
      $100M on advertising and nobody knew what it was, shocking.


  5. theipc says :

    I am dating myself here but these were some of my favorite comic books when I was growing up and I was the only one of my friends who liked them (so they were always available wherever I went). Anyway – since no one seemed to like this but me, I was very surprised when “they” were releasing a big budget movie about John Carter: Warlord of Mars and encroaching on my own, private nerdery. Like you, I thought the ads made this look sucky and then everyone said it sucked so I skipped but still want to give it a shot and your review gave me hope. Wait a sec, that’s probably way too much for a “comment” so I apologize and say thanks!


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      Make the comments as long as you like, but only if you have nice things to say haha. Am only 19 but I have read most of the john carter stuff (nerd!) so don’t worry about that and I really liked this film hope you check it out 🙂


  6. mistylayne says :

    I do want to see this but I want to read the book first. Glad it isn’t as horrible as people were saying because it’s definitely something I’m interested in!


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      I think your right because I have read the books and liked them before I saw this, it was very surprising and I am sad that I missed the chance to see it at the big screen 😦

      I don’t know anybody who went to see at the cinema, the advertising campaign was a joke and it deserved better. So yeah get a copy, I am sure you will like it 🙂


    • AndyWatchesMovies says :

      The book is quite short but I found it fairly boring.
      As for the film, I still need to see it but I think it’s a shame it’s place in history will be as an expensive failure (at the box office).


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  1. Best Films of 2012 – Part 1 « Tim's Film Reviews - July 18, 2012

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