March 13th, 2012

Doc Tectonic (sepia)

Downtime: John Carter (of Mars)

After medical excitement this weekend (Jerry does have strep, and is on antibiotics now, but did not have some kind of retinal tear, just an "optical migraine"), I decided not to head in to work after doctor's appointments this morning and just took the day off.

Which was nice.

So after dinner, I went and saw John Carter. I liked it!

There's a lot of grand spectacle. It was definitely worth seeing on a big big screen, though I could have done without the 3-D. The story didn't have anything especially novel going on (not surprising, given that it's ur-scifi), but it all hung together satisfyingly. I liked Dejah Thoris quite a bit. Not so big on John Carter (the character or the actor), but I felt like the real star if the movie was Barsoom itself.

Yeah, I think that's it. The reviews are about half and half loved it / hated it. I think the people who hated it are focused on the characters and the acting, which are in many cases middling at best and not particularly deep. Whereas the people who are inclined to let that slide and focus on the setting, which is rich and elaborate and filled with amazing details, are the ones who loved it.

For example: in the scene where John Carter is looking into the Thark nursery and watching little four-armed greenlings hatch, based on the shapes of the crystals making up the windowpanes, I'm pretty sure that they were supposed to be made of halite, the mineral form of table salt. Which makes perfect sense for a world with very little water, and is an amazingly cool little detail. If you would notice that kind of thing and think it was awesome, you will like this movie. Whereas if you'd be driven to distraction by the fact that the relationship between the two leads seems to depend as much on the exigencies of plot as on their inner feelings, enh, maybe not so much.

(And of course, we have the standard science complaint that while an Earthman on Mars would indeed be stronger and sturdier than a Martian because of the gravity differential, that doesn't let him jump hundreds of feet. But I've pretty much given up on Hollywood having any appreciation for basic physics, so it doesn't sting as badly as it used to...)