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March 15, 2012

John Carter: No Ordinary SciFi

by Jonn Holland

Disney’s new film John Carter (starring Taylor Kitsch) is far from the usual everyday Science Fiction film. Sure, it has many elements of science fiction films that we’ve seen before however, John Carter has one thing nearly every science fiction film ever made doesn’t. The book on which the film is based–A Princess of Mars–was originally published in 1912 under the title:Under The Moons of Mars and later novelized and given the current title in 1917. As a matter of fact, Edgar Rice Burrough’s Barsoom series has been credited as the inspiration for such works as The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. It could be said that Burrough’s Barsoom series became the model of modern science fiction, or science fantasy. At its very core, John Carter could be–in essence–the first science fiction tale. However, the story is more than simply a man gets transported to another planet and sees aliens.

John Carter is a tale of a late 18th century man lost among the human race with no purpose for life other than becoming filthy rich. He intends to do so by finding a cave a gold. In almost an ironic sense, it is that cave of gold that changes his life completely. Just not in the way John Carter had envisioned. Instead he is transported to a world with two moons. A dying world, whose inhabitants are in turmoil; desperately in need of a savior–Mars. John Carter is that savior. He discovers this as he seeks a way to return to Earth only to find that he must fight for the freedom of Mars if he is ever to get back to Earth.By losing himself in the service of those who call Mars home John Carter finds himself.

John Carter shows us the Mars we all dream of. Complete with green men and ancient civilizations. One can only wonder while watching this film, if the story of John Carter inspired the likes of such films as Dune, Flash Gordon, or even Star Wars. It is well worth watching on an enormous screen as the cinematography provides some gorgeous views. With John Carter, Disney gives us a special tale different from the usual science fiction audiences have become accustomed to. In many ways the film reminds one of those old Sinbad  movies from the Golden Era of film, only with 21st century computer graphics. Delve into a story with century old sensibilities that somehow speaks to our modern day ones. Allow yourself to be transported to another world.

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