REVIEW: John Carter – Never Judge A Film By Its Film Critic
All throughout the year i’ve heard non-stop how awful this film is. Normally I don’t pay any attention to film critics or movie reviewers. One persons turkey is another persons movie gold. I still count Transformers:Dark of the Moon as the most awful film of all time, however thats not to state that it isn’t someones favourite film. If it is, then thats their choice and far be it from me to judge a person purely for their movie taste.
If there was one theme that kept returning when John Carter was released. It was the fact that people kept (and by people i mean movie critics) putting it in the same category as Waterworld. A film that had ballooned so much in the budget department that people were writing it off. Except, Waterworld wasn’t a bad film. I actually liked it, a lot. This has often led me to the opinion that people will most often write a film off just by going with the decision of a film critic. Which is a shame since it often allows some films to be immediately doomed to failure without having a chance to be seen on its own merits.
When I watched John Carter last night, i kept in mind the Waterworld motif and I watched it purely on the thought that since it wasn’t going to be great, I should judge it on what the film offered. Unsurprisingly enough I actually liked John Carter. A lot. It isn’t the best film of the year, that place is still currently hold by The Avengers. I doubt it will be as good as some of the other films due out later in the year such as Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film The Dark Knight Rises and the next Bond entry Skyfall. It wasn’t as great as Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows either. But that’s just it, it isn’t brilliant but it’s not awful either. If you go into the film expecting movie making history then you’ll obviously be left unfulfilled. However if you go into it just wanting to watch 2 hours of fun, then John Carter delivers in spades. The plot is all over the place and it never really takes itself seriously. But it’s a Disney film and it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to be watched on a Sunday afternoon, feet up, popcorn and a drink and just enjoyed.
The film is based upon the Edgar Rice Burroughs books and the film was originally called John Carter of Mars. This is the one part where the film truly suffered. When a film is released, it goes through a marketing phase where the studio execs try to get the film out there. They changed the name of the film to just John Carter since they believed that the ‘of mars’ part of the title didn’t do well with test audiences. This is always a huge mistake. Apparently Disney had released another film before and it had “Mars” in the title. When the film tanked, the studio execs believed it had tanked because it had “Mars” in the title. So as a knee jerk reaction they changed the name of the film to John Carter. Personally this is a stupid idea since altering the films title is only going to confuse people. If they had left it alone, i doubt anyone would have truly noticed. Studios now tend to obsess over every little detail and most often find themselves losing focus of the big picture.
Studios aren’t to blame alone in this, film critics and movie advertisers are just as much to blame. There’s only one film critic that I honestly pay attention to and thats Mark Kermode. I don’t go into a film thinking “oh Mark Kermode liked this, therefore it must be good” instead I like Mark Kermode because he speaks his mind and is honest about a film. He didn’t like John Carter. He described it two hours of boring. But again, this comes down to what I stated before, film critics view is only unique to themselves. He didn’t like Green Lantern either. I didn’t enjoy Green Lantern as much as I hoped but I still enjoyed it regardless of what Mark Kermode thought of it. Same again with the James Bond film Quantum of Solace. In fact I often think i’m one of the few people that actually did enjoy that film.
John Carter didn’t deserve the amount of negative attention that went its way. People most often place a tag on a film and then immediately class it by that tag. Waterworld had the same problem and when it happens, people will look at the film negatively than just trying. Which is a shame, each film deserves a chance to be viewed, regardless of what some “film movie expert” thinks of it.