I have a date with John Carter tonight. I will ease myself into an Arclight seat (as opposed to flopping down like a six-year-old, like so many people do) and sit through it, and what will be, will be. But right now I know one thing. The only reviews you can trust are those written by half-grumpy, “I’m from Missouri” critics like myself. Anyone who’s even slightly invested in geekdom (and that means just about anyone who’s ever enjoyed a comic book) is utterly disqualified.
Who’s dispassionate enough to assess John Carter without any geek agenda sentiments? Not JoBlo‘s Chris Bumbray, for one. He’s exactly the kind of guy I’m not talking about. He says in his review that he “had a terrific time” with John Carter and that “I truly think the majority of you will too…ignore the buzz, and make up your own minds.”
Bumbray’s review is like an op-ed piece written by a member of of the Iranian government about the nuclear reactor face-off issue. John Carter has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 65%. “Earth to Edgar Rice Burroughs buffs: John Carter is a dog,” writes Variety‘s Peter Debruge.
No, what we need is more of a Marshall Fine type of guy. In fact, Fine himself will do.
“The bones of a workable story are here but the way they’ve been fleshed out leaves something to be desired,” Fine writes. “Despite the millions of bytes of information at work in the visuals, Mars ends up looking alternately like the American southwest and sketches from H.R. Giger‘s discard pile.
“Tayor Kitsch is not just flat; he’s practically flat-lining as Carter, so uninvolved does he seem. Lynn Collins exerts effort but, opposite Kitsch, it’s like acting next to a black hole that absorbs but does not reflect her energy. Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West and the rest of the humanoids act as though they’d wandered in from an old ‘Flash Gordon’ serial; the voice actors who speak for the computer-generated Tharks (including Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church and Samantha Morton) should be thankful no one will associate them with this film.
“Burroughs’ original was no great shakes as literature, but it did manage to gin up the tension on a regular basis. The only tension in John Carter comes from the headache caused by the 3D glasses.”