The movie was, as I had expected, a great deal of fun. It was also worlds better than the also admittedly fun comics based movies that have become so popular. It was Science Fiction of the Golden Age, swords and ray guns and a gorgeous and scantily clad Martian princess… what is there not to like?
There are two technical issues I had, which are perhaps more due to being true to Edgar Rice Burroughs than to being careless. The two moons of Mars are in very different orbits and do not appear that large and in any case Deimos is not quite round. Also, with 1/3 Earth gravity, you would indeed be able to do some rather amazing leaps, but not quite the altitudes and distances John made in his regular rescues of the Princess. Again, to be fair, even I could probably make a standing jump to a window on the second level of a building; an Olympic high jumper could probably make the roof of a 3 story building.
I loved their Dejah Thoris. She was everything you could imagine in a Burroughs Martian Princess. Drop dead gorgeous, athletic, a deadly swords-woman and a voice like Bettany Hughes. The more I think about it, Bettany would make a rather good Dejah in real life. I wonder what she is like with a sword?
I thought it appropriate that a true Southern man like John Carter quickly got himself a dawg. And not just any dawg, but the god damndest ugliest old houndog you ever did see.
So lets see: great CGI? check. Beautiful, scantily clad warrior Princess? check. Heroic and dashing hero who just wants to stay out of other people’s fights but can’t? check. Great action scenes? check. Swords, Ray guns and supertechnology? check. An ancient race of super-scientists trying to run worlds? check. Touching love story? check. Brilliant panoramas? check. An Edgar Rice Burroughs plot and adventure with interesting characters? check. Fascinating and alien aliens? Yep.
So why the hell do the reviewers hate it? Is it a statement about their lack of education beyond feminist studies, Foucaultian historical and Marxist Class Analysis? Do they actually teach anything useful in colleges these days?