So, Like, Where’s The Naked Slave Girls?

In a fit of madness,I took my oldest daughter and her fiancée to see John Carter Of Mars (lest anyone should confuse it with John Carter of Sheboygan, Michigan for instance).  Now I was not expecting Shakespeare in Space or something along the lines of a Scorsese or Kirisawa masterpiece; and I was not disappointed in that respect.  But neither was I expecting a film that made Thor and 2012 seem like a Scorsese or Kirisawa masterpiece.  Hell, this made Wild Wild West seem like French New Wave cinema.

How bad was this movie?  Here is a brief overview.

Mars:

A really cool flying machine gets attacked by another really cool flying machine; these are the bad red human Martians and the good blue human Martians – 5 minutes and so far so good.  Mark Strong (de rigueur bad guy) makes his first appearance looking kind of like Dame Judy Dench in The Chronicles of Riddick – complete with diaphanous robes.

Suddenly we are in 19th century US:

A guy with great looking hair is walking around looking earnest (very important that) wanting to send a telegram.  Then he is dead. Boring talking bit but with salient plot points take place ending with Edgar Rice Burroughs starting to read journal resulting in a Wayne’s World style flashback

Doodlooo  doodlooo doodlooo  doodlooo

Now it’s 1868 in the Arizona Territory

Malcolm (In The Middle)’s dad is now a cavalry commander and wants the guy (John Carter) with the great looking hair to  return to being in army.  John Carter says no as it will mess up his hair and he runs away.  Hal chases him then they run into Apaches (with great looking hair) then they run away from Apaches and hide in a cave that frightens the Apaches.

Then John Carter is on Mars:

We have some experimentation with adjusted gravity that seems to come and go as the situation dictates in the plot.  Then a bunch of green Martian arseholes find him and take him prisoner but their leader is really cool (possibly because he let the Boondock Saints go?).

Then there is more aerial fighting between the red and blue human Martians over the top of the green Martians and John Carter decides to flex his newly found strength to save the princess who looks like she has been tanning with Snookie at the Jersey Shore. But at least she didn’t send out a message saying “help me Obi-Wan.”

Finally, I thought, at last we are getting to the misogynistic Edgar Rice Burroughs naked slave girls – but this is a Disney movie so no naked slave girls.   The princess stays a princess and John Carter and her escape with a misunderstood green Martian and a dog-like marketing tool with a turquoise tongue.

John Carter’s hair still looks good and he talks in a deep voice and he makes the guy who played Thor look like Olivier.  Someone then yells “It’s a trap” (but it wasn’t Chris Griffin).  There are more battles and a journey of self discovery leading the Princess to go back to be a Princess who has to marry the bad guy: all while Mark Strong morphs everywhere.  (I kind of lost the plot about here since my daughter and I were wondering if the person in front of us was having an autistic moment or masturbating vigourously since he  kept rocking backward and forward in his seat at this point of the movie.)

The mandatory gladiatorial scene allows John Carter to look earnest, make basso profundo statements while promising to save the noble green Martian.  He then earnestly saves the noble green Martian (Willem Dafoe) without worrying his windblown tresses.

Then it is time to save the princess.  There is a fight between the good blue guys and the bad red guys and the sudden arrival of the green Martians who have learnt to fly the air machines in about two minutes.  The bad guys get what they have coming to them.  JC gets the princess.  All is right in their world because both of them have perfect hair.

Then we are back in 19th century America:

The last five minutes is actually pretty good (that is the five minutes after the battle) and the only real issue I have with the end is that it sets up a sequel which, if there is a loving God, will not be allowed to happen. 

I got yet another Disney Princess movie (Mulan on Mars) – when what I wanted was …. naked and chained slave girls.  I suppose a Pixar version of Tarnsman of Gor will be next.

More than anything else the movie plot just seemed like the writers and the director sat around and had a nerd-boy weekend and watched the Star Wars movies, and the Riddick movies, and Gladiator and picked up the most trite and tired cliches they could find in each.  There was really nothing original here whatsoever.  It was a Disney fantasy formula special.  It really should have been called John Carter Of Persia Catching A Strange Tide While Returning To Witch Mountain.

On a scale of 1 to 5 naked and chained slave girls, I can only give this movie a ½ naked and chained slave girl rating as it was really bad – laughably bad even.  This is two hours of my life that I want to forget rather than get back.

Try To Find This Movie – It Is The Anti-Twilight!!!

Ron:  “Well, ‘ere, lads, you’ve discovered a species hitherto unknown to science, quite possibly non-terrestrial in origin, and you kicked its fuckin’ head in! “

After having been less than blown away by Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows this Christmas and not been the least bit intrigued about even seeing Mission Impossible 24:  Ghost Protocol, it was great to find a film that, finally, had some originality instead of being just a more spectacular repetition of an earlier story; even if this movie is already out on Blu-Ray. 

Attack The Block is the best film that I have seen in ages.  How can one explain it: a South London gangstas versus aliens, perhaps?   It could be an R rated episode of Doctor Who but truth be told the effects, as well as the music, are so much better and the story is genuinely fantastic.  Even the aliens have an original look to them:  and they are brilliant – literally.

The story even manages to inject politics and social issues into the plot and have it work as an additional layer to the story and to the mood as opposed to beating the audience over the head to make a statement.  All through the film, I found that I really cared about what happened to Moses (the main protagonist).  And even after the en ding, I want to know what happens next.

Now I am not expecting that this film will be a surprise inclusion in any Oscar (registered trademark, if you please) categories.  But it will be interesting to see if this garners any nominations for Independent Spirit Awards.  And I am sure that there will be the $200,000,000 remake with ten times the stars and none of the heart and soul of this film.  If the story is left alone, it would still do big box-office.  It is very unfortunate that Attack The Block never garnered a major release in this country:  I would have been fascinated to see how it would have done.

I did see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo when it came out, and that was a very good film too – a bit tough to stomach in places – but a very good film.  And it does amaze me that there were people there with younger and youngish kids.  I would say the youngest that we saw at the film was 10 or so and there were a lot between that age and 14. 

My only question to their parents is “don’t you ever research what the movie is about?”  Of course there were a lot of older people who hadn’t done the research either and who were horrified by some of the scenes.  On the other hand, my daughter cannot wait for the next film and already is looking to see if there is going to be an unrated director’s cut released for this film.