OK for kids 12+
Mars-based action epic has strong fantasy violence.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that John Carter is a swashbuckling inter-planetary adventure based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' first book in the John Carter series, A Princess of Mars. There's an underlying romance to most of the story, but it's the movie's violence that might alarm parents of younger tweens. It's prevalent throughout the film and gets gory in a couple of scenes -- like when John (played by Taylor Kitsch) bursts through the body of a giant Martian monster he's just killed or decapitates a tyrannous warlord. Despite John Carter's war-like violence, none of the "good guys" die (although they're shot at, injured, and even tortured). Plus, there are a couple of strong female characters, and an overriding message that there's a particular honor to being selfless, even if it puts your own life in danger.
- Families can talk about the hero's journey -- how does John Carter grow to accept that his destiny is on Mars? What makes him eventually feel at home in Barsoom? What other swashbuckling heroes is he like?
- Some say that John Carter relies too heavily on elements from other movie franchises. What portions of the story remind you of other sci-fi tales? What parts make it unique? And is it fair to make those claims when the stories that inspired John Carter predate the movies?
- Does the movie make you interested in checking out the books it's based on? Do you think the ending sets up the movie for a sequel?
The good stuff
Messages: The battle to save Barsoom rests on an unlikely alliance between Earth man John Carter, Martian princess Dejah Thoris, and a band of nomadic green "barbarians" called the Tharks. Through their eventual teamwork to fight a common enemy, they successfully stop the nefarious Therns from destroying Mars. By the end of the movie, characters who act selflessly are rewarded with honor and respect they deserve.
Role models: John Carter learns to stop being selfish and do something to help others. Dejah Thoris is a powerful female character who knows how to defend herself and to inspire John Carter to see beyond his own survival. Sola (another stand-out female character) and Tars Tarkas realize the possibility of leading the Tharks into an alliance with the people of Helium.
What to watch for
Violence: Heavy sci-fi violence includes some frightening battle scenes, a weapon that turns anything or one in its path to dust, and a shape-changing villain who plans to destroy an entire planet. There's a Gladiator-style battle to the death in an arena where huge ape-like monsters are killed and another character is decapitated. Sola is branded and tortured and eventually sentenced to death by her own people. Tars Tarkas is injured and expected to die in the arena. John Carter is nearly killed several times. A horrifying flashback shows how John Carter's wife and child died in a fire in their home; he finds their charred remains. An early gun battle injures a U.S. officer. A long-dead character's skeleton is shown. A group of unhatched eggs is mercilessly crushed. All sorts of weapons -- from guns to spears, knives, and swords -- are used in battle.
Sex: Lots of longing looks, gazes, and touches between John Carter and Dejah Thoris, which eventually lead to a couple of kisses and the aftermath of a love scene (she's in bed with the sheet covering her all the way, and he's standing outside on a balcony). Other scenes show her in skimpy apparel.
Language: Language includes "hell," "damn," "goddamn," and "stupid."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Before he's transported to Mars, John Carter is shown drinking and enters a saloon where everyone has a drink in hand.
Fan Reviews provided by
Great Sci-Fi Classic by NamFam99
Ignore all the ignorant critic reviews about this movie that complained about how everything seen has already been done before. Remember, instead, that everything we have seen before has only been done because it was inspired by the book this movie is based on. This was a great chance to see on screen the source material for so many of our modern sci-fi classics. Luckily, the movie does not disappoint and does a good job of sticking to its source material. The various alien species are dealt with in a dignified manner (no Jar Jar here), and even the pet dog-ish alien, the one creature my husband and I feared would be childish or campy, was handled in just the right way to be cute and endearing instead of irritating.
The one warning I will give is to not bother with the 3-D. The director didn't want it, so it really doesn't add anything to the experience and will only irritate you at having paid the money for something entirely unnecessary for your viewing enjoyment.
John Carter... Original, Adventurous and Fun! by Geek Soul Brother
Imagine INDIANA JONES, but in a rustic Sci-fi adventure. JOHN CARTER is mysteriously transported to Mars, where he meets strange people and creatures, fighting for control of the planet's limited resources. He also meets Dejah Thoris, a beautiful princess whose very life is in danger. The Story was fun and adventurous, with Carter rushing into battles, sword in hand, either to fight for friend or save Princess Thoris. Ancient desert cities, magnificent buildings, unique and beautiful flying vehicles made it a visual joy. The characters were likable, especially considering some were CG. Taylor Kitsch did a nice job playing the 'Fighting Man from Virginia.' Most of the acting and directing were pretty good. The pacing was fast, with only a couple dialog heavy parts to catch up the audience. Most John Carter fans should enjoy it, but if you are new to the story, then you should really enjoy it. PG-13, but good family fun. GeekSoulBrother.com gives John Carter 3.75/5 Cosmic Afros.
Don't give critics the time of day. GREAT MOVIE! by Sith Lindy
Saw "John Carter" last night and really enjoyed it. I didn't see it on 3D, but didn't feel like I was missing out on anything. The critics can shut their mouths on this one. One of them picked on the movie as a whole because of how the character looked and his abilities were unimpressive. And you base the worthiness of a movie based on that alone? PLEASE.
If you love the likes of Star Wars or Avatar or even olden day classics like Neverending Story for its fantasy story-telling and interesting characters, this movie should be right up your alley. It was very funny in plenty of parts, had great visual effects, and convincing acting. Good original story. It has its various flaws like so many other movies, but they were miniscule in comparison to everything that worked. I say formulate your own opinion on this one, folks. See this movie!!
Wow!! Great Movie experience overall by latnlvr8
Well first I want to mention that I sat in a huge theater with only about 20-25 people in it at the midnight showing. I never rate movies because i'm just a sci-fi fanatic and love movies overall. But, in this case I had to say something otherwise This movie won't get the credit it deserves. I don't think it was advertised enough. So the movie has to explain what's going on but does not waste too much time in doing so. Once you get into the meat of it you will be on a long rollercoaster ride and not wanting to get off. It has some funny stuff (won't spoil it here) and has lots of action, and fighting sequences. A little romance, and of course the token villain. Our hero has to be pushed to do what he does not, but in a good way. The scenery although mostly desert like still has grand scope and stunning visuals. The Special effects/CGI did not take away from the movie but added what I thought was alot of real looking characters, building, and crafts. Go you will not ne dissappointed.
Worth seeing! Don't listen to the critics on this one. by drewski79
John Carter was awesome! Highly recommend. Was what Star Wars Ep. 1 could/should have been. Great characters, action, romance, humor, effects. The ad campaign didn't do justice to what the movie is. It is what it's trying to be, a space spaghetti western, not an Academy Award winning drama. It doesn't take itself too seriously, but the stakes still feel high. It's more fun than Avatar and less pretentious. Go see it! It deserves/needs a sequel.
John Carter by Beckmeister
Now that I have seen this movie I am inspired to read the books. This is a fun movie and kept my interest because of the time period it. I didn't know that such stories were written back in 1910. The story moves a little slow in the middle but it is still worth it. The acting was sharp and overall was a very fun movie. If you like si-fi movies you will love this one.
Who the F is John Carter? by movieimpaler
I remember when I first saw the trailer I was like who the F is John Carter? Unfortunately Disney didn't do much to inform me. So one day I decided to do some google research for myself. Since the movie looked good and I love sci-fi, I was slightly interested. I soon found out that this was actually a 100 year old book series that was written by the same dude that wrote Tarzan. Edgar Rice Burroughs. And most sci-fi films including Star Wars and Avatar are ripoffs of these original stories. The more I learned about it (on my own, no thanks to Disney marketing) the more I was interested to see it. I still hated the title though. I figured if I said it, others would also say; Who the F is John Carter? I finally went to see it, and I just loved it. My favorite stand out performance was Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris. Sexy, smart and strong. I'm really happy I didn't heed negative reviews and went to see it. It inspired me to read the original books (100% FREE by the way on Kindle store).
Old Book -New Exiting View by sunnyforever
This original BOOK was published in 1917 by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Because of the writing style of that day and the attempt to modernize this movie, while staying true to the original writing style of the book, I found the movie a little hard to follow in the beginning. It took an adjustment period for me to get the sub plots. (Reading the subtitles, taking in the awesome view, wrapping my head around the action). However, by the time John Carter was speaking "Martian" (because of a surrey potion given to John Carter and great imagination by the audience, he understood them and they understood him) I readjusted and the movie became more understandable. The movie was great. To imagine that Science Fiction was written in the early years with such great imaginings is unbelievable. Thoroughly entertaining family fun. Since it book was a series, can not wait for the next movie.
Make a movie out of the book, not from retreading Star Wars. by Windwounder
Having read the books as a kid I hate the way they tried to turn this into Star Wars and followed the trend of making every woman a warrior princess. The book is not science fiction it is a sword fighting fantasy epic. There would have been nothing wrong in allowing the love story evolve like it did in the books. Or getting into the real story behind Tars Tarkus' child. But they added the speeder bike chase from Jedi, The Phantom Menace flight chase scene. They added super beings behind all the plots. Turned the white apes into King Kongs. I was waiting for Jar Jar Binks to raise his ugly head. They fell in love with the special effects and not the original spirit of 'A Princess of Mars,"
What is wrong with building a character based action movie? The could have made something unique. As for the movie they made. It's not bad. The jokes aren't great and the running joke runs out of steam immediately. The 3D worked but is not necessary. Good effects. See the 2D version.
John Carter by jimcain
I liked this film because it fills in so many blanks in the innumerable references to these works by Burroughs. Heinlein in particular refers to John Carter and Deja Thoris with Barsoom as a recurring theme. the Actors were fine. The movie is suitable for any age.