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Disney's John Carter (Movie Review)

I was lucky enough to be invited to an advanced screening of Disney's first major blockbuster of the summer 2012 movie season. I attended the special screening of John Carter in 3-D on Tuesday night in Charlotte, NC, which is about 45 miles south of where I live in Salisbury. I was allowed to bring one guest with me, and of course- I chose to bring my husband along. We hadn't been to the movies since November 2011, so we figured it would be a great escape for a few hours. We went into the theater, and there were Disney Studios press seats reserved for us, which (I have to be honest, here) was pretty neat to experience.

We went into the film screening sort of blindly. I had only vaguely read the press releases and watched a few seconds of the trailers beforehand. This was also my very first experience with watching a movie in 3-D, so I was a little nervous about that. We weren't allowed to bring cell phones into the theater (we had to leave them in the car), and the theater was heavily secured to ensure that no one was trying to film any of the movie to leak before its theatrical release, which is this Friday, March 9th. So- I don't have any photos to share with you or anything, just press material that has been provided by Disney.

Once the previews began, we were instructed to put our 3-D glasses on. All of the movie trailers and even the commercials were in 3-D, which I thought was pretty cool. Gotta tell ya- Disney has some GREAT-looking movies coming out this summer. I specifically can't wait to see 'Brave,' but more on that another time.

 Collins & Kitsch

Movie Synopsis (Provided by Disney Studios)

From Academy Award®–winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes “John Carter”—a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). “John Carter” is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands. 

John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to mysterious and exotic planet Mars, becomes embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions and discovers that the survival of the planet and its people rests in his hands. 

Taylor Kitsch as John Carter

My take on the movie...

John Carter grabbed my attention from the very beginning. I get bored very easily when watching movies, and if it takes to long to get into the story, I'm done with it. I absolutely didn't feel that way when watching John Carter. The film was action-packed right from the start, and I loved that about it. I didn't know the story beforehand, but now I definitely want to read 'A Princess of Mars.' The entire film was incredibly visually appealing to me. The 3-D effects were really cool, but they didn't detract from the movie, overall. The effects actually grabbed me time and time again, and really kept me intrigued. 

There was a lot of action in John Carter- so guys are going to love that about it! Lots of battles, fights, suspense, etc. Don't worry ladies- there's plenty for you to be excited about, too! John Carter definitely pulled at my heartstrings a few times, and in one particular scene, I was seriously holding back a couple of tears. There's a romantic love story between John Carter and Princess Deja, moments of family love and pride, as well. There were a lot of humorous moments, and often times, I was stylistically reminded of the way I felt watching the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (also by Disney, and produced by the same people)- some moments were silly, some just outright funny, and there were a couple of corny moments (but that's just my opinion).

The acting was pretty stellar. I thought Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) and Lynn Collins (Princess Deja) did an incredible job. They are both beautiful people, and very talented. Taylor Kitsch can 'Yes, Ma'am' me any day! You'll also bee seeing some familiar faces in John Carter, like Willem Dafoe, Dominic West, Bryan Cranston and Thomas Hayden Church. The movie was so well-cast. I truly enjoyed watching Taylor Kitsch play John Carter, and Lynn Collins as Princess Deja. They had excellent chemistry through out the entire movie. No movie would be complete without a loveable little trouble-maker, and John Carter brings you 'Woola,' an enormous creature on Barsoom (Mars) that looks like a cross between a dog and a dinosaur, and moves faster than lightning can strike! He's adorable, and you'll surely enjoy him.

And last, but not least, I have to mention the music in the movie. The score was really wonderful. A lot of people don't really think about how the musical score of a movie plays into the whole scheme of things, but to me and my husband, the music can make or break the overall tone of the movie, and the way we feel throughout the duration of the film. Michael Giacchino composed the score for John Carter, and it was just perfect. When it needed to be heavy, it was. It was beautifully symphonic at times, especially during those light-hearted moments. The music conveyed the character's emotions, so that those of us watching could really get a sense of what the characters were up against or dealing with, and I just loved how appropriate the music was at every turn.

If I had to give the movie a grade, I would definitely give it an A. My husband really enjoyed it, too. He has already added it to his 'movie list' of movies he'd like to add to our personal collection at home. He said we might even have to go see it again while it's in theaters!

If you're a movie-goer, go see John Carter. Even if you're highly weirded out by the concept of a Civil War Captain ending up on Mars (I was, too!), go see it! It's a great, entertaining movie that will leave you feeling satisfied. As I mentioned to the local Disney Studios representative after viewing the film, 'Disney did not disappoint!'

John Carter is rated PG 13 
and opens in theaters Friday, March 9th. 

Be sure to like John Carter on Facebook and check out the official John Carter site, too!

Special thanks to Disney Studios for having us as their guests at the special advanced screening of John Carter in Charlotte.  

Disclosure: I was provided with two press passes free of charge by Disney Studios. I was under no obligation to write a movie review, nor was I compensated in any way for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. Some materials (including photos and video clip) used with permission by Disney Studios.

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