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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2012

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"John Carter" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Adrian Wittenberg

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2012

Synopsis

John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a Civil War calvalryman finds himself telported to the world of Barsoom from a strange artifact held by a mysterious individual. As John explorers the world he discovers that his physical abilities are far greater due to the the planets weaker gravitational forces. John comes across a tall alien race called the Thark who want John to fight for their cause because of his abilities. Meanwhile two warring cities seek to rule the planet for different purposes. Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), the scientist and beautiful princess of the city of Helium is close to unraveling the mysteries of an powerful energy source that can help her people. When she comes into contact and is rescued by John Carter, she sees John as someone who can potentially fight for her people and bring good things to their withering planet.

Specifications

  • Disney
  • 2012, Color, PG-13, 132 Min
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Codec
  • 1080P 3D
  • English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, James Purefoy, Samantha Morton
  • Directed by Andrew Stanton
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

This film uses a popular theme that involves a planet with strange inhabitants and a brave hero who is faced with making tough decisions. This film was fun to watch and is nothing too serious. The lead characters scratch the surface of a flirtatious romance and the storyline features a light hearted adventure although the pacing can be tedious at times. The film has the big task of making a planet with alien creatures believable and the CG of the film rises to the challenge with some extraordinary special effects and blends with real scenery that were part of the film's approximate 250 million dollar budget. The vast landscapes used in the film and the combination of the CG are the most interesting aspect of the 3D elements of the film. The scenery looks fantastic and the 3D effects can at times make them seem larger than life. The action sequences such as the arena fight scene or flying ship scenes frequently utilize three dimensional elements that add some depth to the scenes and add some novelty to the action. John Carter didnít fare as well as expected in U.S theaters and even though the special effects, costumes, and sets were glorious, there was nothing about the acting or the story that broke ground or hadnít been seen before in the last couple of years. It's not especially easy to make acting together with a CG species meaningful and it comes down to how likeable the characters are. I felt that the Thark characters looked too whimsical and lacked charisma for me to care about them (Less Jar Jar Binks please). Overall, the John Carter 3d Blu-ray is a fun release for the family and would be an entertaining disc to enjoy 3D effects on a new 3D flat panel television.

Technical

This disc is a top notch transfer with excellent video quality. The film features mostly desert scenery with warmer tones that are moderately vibrant in saturation. The film has excellent contrast with deep blacks and will look awesome on any modern screen. The film maintains excellent detail and is not plagued with edge enhancement. 3D implementation was free from major issues like ghosting and effects that were CG generated were effective. The scenes that were shot in 2D and then converted to 3D added some depth but not as much as would be found if the scenes were shot natively in 3D The sound quality from the lossless DTS 7.1 Master Audio track left nothing to be desired giving the home theater system a full workout from all the speakers.

Extras

Standard fare for extras with some behind the scenes footage, bloopers, and a tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs and his stories that inspired this film.