Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of Disbelief: John Carter

Suspension of Disbelief is a weekly feature, in which we review movies, books, TV shows, and other popular culture for the skeptical teens. 

John Carter… mediocre looking Earth man stars in a horribly un-thrilling adventure using the stereotypical Pocahontas/Avatar plot-line…only slightly worse because it tired NOT to be one of those movies so the plot just didn't make sense. Read on to read what is obviously going to be the most glowing review ever………..

Title: John Carter
Director: Andrew Stanton 
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe
​Rating: 1/5 Woolas


This movie was the bane of my existence today. I totally forgot that this week is March break so the 1 pm show was sold out when I got there at 12:40. I wandered the mall (dropping way too much money on new makeup and shoes) and bought my 4:10 ticket at 3 but wasn't actually allowed into the theater until 3:40 so I had to go wander some more… but finally got in. And then the seats were all weird… it's a new theater so the seats recline and stuff, which totally freaked me out and was pretty uncomfortable. And the theater was obviously full of kids. And the screen was SO huge that I had to turn my head to see things, it was a weird experience that I paid double for (apparently the audio was better AND it was 3D and thus worth double the cost). However, none of that helped the movie.

The movie is about… this guy from Earth named John Carter who finds some sort of medallion that can teleport him to different planets in the solar system (err, wait – it's not really teleporting, they called it "making a copy" so a copy of him was still on Earth, I guess…) using a special phrase in some alien language. Most of the movie takes place on Mars … where he fights in a war that I have no idea what the motivation of it was for, falls in love with some girl who I'm not even 100% sure why she's super important (she's a princess of just a city, but also a professor? And a warrior?)

Man, I have no idea how to describe the plot of this movie. Not even wikipedia knows how to describe the plot of this movie:

Anyway… if it's not already obvious I thought this movie was really really bad – and I usually like movies like this that other people think are horrible (like Prince of Persia). 

Lets try and think of some things I liked before getting too negative:

1. There was this ridiculously adorable fat dog like animal named Woola that could run really fast. He was great.

2. They went on some sort of pilgrimage to find… umm a temple that was supposed to answer their questions…. I think. Anyway, it looked like the Millennium Falcon in a couple of shots, and that was cool. But also, when they got there it wasn't all mystical and spiritual – it was all technology based (not in the way you're thinking – in this weird alien technology that is like, nano technology or something). I like it when movies show  that there is something else going on behind what some people think is a mystical religion.

What I didn't like:

1. The plot made absolutely no sense. There is this big speech by the main bad guy and I heard him say "it's a game we've been playing for millennia!" and I was like "SH*T! I missed the whole point of what is going on with this weird war!" But I asked my boyfriend later and he said "no, you didn't miss it… it just didn't make sense." The plot needed some serious clarification.

2. The acting was atrocious. And not even in that fun campy atrocious way that works in some movies/tv shows… it was just down right horrible. There were times when they would say something and it would be so cheesy and overworked that my boyfriend and I would bust out laughing as quietly as possible.

3. Despite being on a different planet the landscape is boring, they don't do anything awesome with the technology, everything is just very Earth-like, even the cities/buildings. But then all of the sudden there will be like a billion really cool spaceships all over the place. It was either so incredibly boring that my recliner chair came in handy for taking a snooze or so incredibly intense that I had to take off my 3D glasses to give my eyes a rest.

4. They are not consistent with John Carter's abilities on Mars. He is able to leap really high because of the different gravity and he kills a dude with one punch, but there are some moments when he's being captured by like 2 alien dudes and doesn't just push them over. 

It's too bad, really. I had high hopes because the director is the guy that wrote Wall-E and I thought Wall-E was one of the best movies I've ever seen in my life, but this was just… not good. It's super frustrating because there were so many GOOD ideas that could have played out into a really phenomenal movie, but that just didn't happen.

I'm giving it 1 Woola out of 5 possible Woolas.

However – one really awesome thing came out of seeing this movie: THE AVENGERS trailer on a GIANT screen. May 4th my friends… May 4th.

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Katie is a graduate student from Canada studying the environment and systems theory. She also loves dinosaurs and baking cupcakes. Follow her on twitter @katiekish

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