I'm really not understanding the extreme hatred that this movie pulls out of people. When I visit the odd forum (specifically: IMDB) people are just lit up, spouting off about what a wretched pile this movie is. It's like the gum that you step on and that sticky heap never comes off, picking up further dirt and terribleness with every step. You try and wipe it from your shoe on some soft grass, but you end up with grass stuck to your show. It goes on, as you can imagine. John Carter is nothing like this piece of gum. John Carter is more like a brand new, wrapped piece of gum you find in your drawer after lunch: exactly what the doctor ordered.
While the movie was tanking at the box office there were a few bloggers and movie reviewers of note that disagreed with the masses: they implored people to give Carter a chance, and enjoy the movie for what it is. And what is it? An epic movie of grand proportions, saddling a small frame of a storyline. You get big, exaggerating characters. You get dazzling special effects sequences. You get aliens. Even a bit of cowboy action. Yes, that's right: the movie starts off in the 1800's as Carter - a civil war veteran - is continuously escaping, where he stumbles upon a transport to Mars, where the bulk of the movie and story take place. This simple combination puts the entire Cowboys & Aliens movie to shame.
On Mars, Carter is basically a Superman: enhanced strength, agility and of course, Hulk-like jumping ability. He first comes across a race of green aliens with four arms, who are trying to avoid the war going on between the two human-esque tribes (they are somewhat red, after all). All he wants is to go home, but he gets caught up between the love of a woman and the war raging on the entire planet. I don't need to get into the rest of the film: it's fairly basic, you feel like you've seen some of it before and to that degree, I'm not complaining. I see a lot of comparisons between John Carter and Avatar, and yes, there are similarities. But here's the thing: John Carter pulls it off without the pretentiousness. Carter isn't about the effects and grandeur first, it's about being a movie itself. Whereas with Avatar, you get the distinct impression that it was more of a technical show of 3D and CGI then a forced-fed message of environmentalism.
Thinking that there is life on Mars is exciting; we, as a people have certainly been obsessed with it for quite some time. This movie really transported me back to a time when the book was coming out - A Princess of Mars, by the way - and filled me with the fantasy that science has since disproved. A hundred years ago, it was possible that these beings existed, that they had cities and were looking back at this pale blue dot through their own telescopes. Now we have rovers analyzing samples of dirt, and satellites taking images of every inch of the surface: the possibility of life diminished on Mars, we extend our dreams to faraway systems and planets. It's a dream we won't let go of, and I'm happy to have sparked again while watching this film. I really do hope that they continue them - although that seems unlikely at this point.