STARRING: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Dominic West DIRECTOR: Andrew Stanton
THE SKINNY: Civil War veteran John Carter (Kitsch) finds an alien trinket that transports him to Mars, where he becomes besties with four-armed chieftain Tars Tarkas (Dafoe). He falls in love with princess Dejah Thoris (Collins) and has to save her from baddie Sab Than (West).
A Mars versus Venus look
John Carter is magnificently weird.
Staying true to the century-old Barsoom pulp novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, it's not so much a science fiction flick as a fantastical fever dream.
Scientists have been trying for decades to make Mars seem as boring as possible - orange rocks and sand as far as the eye can see! - but director Stanton has presented us the Mars of the mind.
This is the sort of thing that inspired 20th century kids to become astronomers and astronauts.
This is the sort of story that got them wondering what's out there in the starry sky.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that my nascent art collection contains an original sketch of Dejah Thoris by Bruce Timm (Justice League).
I've also recently begun collecting the pulp magazine Planet Stories, which ran from the 40s into the 50s.
This movie is precious to me on a personal level.
Blasting off into space, battling beasties and bedding alien babes - this is the stuff of my subconscious.
My fear is that, in these cynical times, John Carter will be seen as naive and foolish.
Egghead critics with no sense of fun or adventure will poo-poo it as just another empty spectacle.
To me, it embodies a boldness of spirit that seems to have been squeezed out of us.
There is beauty and glory out there, kids, and don't let anyone tell you different.
THE CONSENSUS: Fanboys will totally love this beautifully rendered adaptation. The rest of us can simply ogle at the beautiful yet empty leads.
This article was first published in The New Paper.