So I don't usually go on and on like this about a movie, you'd think I have a vested interest in John Carter or something, and I don't, but there was just something about the atmosphere of negativity leading up to this movie that pissed me off. It wasn't coming from people who had seen it. That was the thing. From what Jim had heard online from the comic book podcasts, what I had seen on Twitter from some people I think well of, it was promising. I like the trailer, the director, the writer, and the cast. And yet, there was this aura of savagery like a pit of sharks that couldn't wait to tear this movie apart.
Exhibit A, from Deadline Hollywood, the comments section to a post on the eve of release:
Really, people? That's how you spend your evenings, chortling over nasty reviews? Sad. On the same comment thread, thank goodness, there were a lot of comments that I could relate to, a la: wherefore the savage glee, monsters?
Anyway, I planned to see the movie Friday but babysitting fell through so I just saw it tonight and I LOVED it. I want to see it again. It's a big movie with an epic scope, aliens, creatures, cool flying craft, consequences, characters I cared about (and didn't mind looking at), and it's got heart. If I tried, I could probably find some criticisms, but why try? Why not just enjoy? Why does everyone have to be a critic? I'm not saying "Everyone, I decree that you like everything," but first:
--if you don't like something, why must you crusade to destroy it, twirling your villain mustache and laughing as the creative passions of others are stamped to dust?
and more importantly ...
--I feel a little bit like the ability to enjoy has been eclipsed by this need to Be Better Than, to prove oneself Smarter Than, to show that one is NO FOOL WHO GOES AROUND JUST ENJOYING THINGS NO-SIREE-BOB NOT ME. Like, enjoying fun movies is for the hoi polloi. It reminds me a little bit of my 9-year-old-circa-1981 self giving someone a withering look regarding Dukes of Hazard and stating, in acid tones of condescension, "I watch Nero Wolfe." Thenk you very much.
I'm not saying to settle for trash! (OR Dukes of Hazard!) I'm not saying love every jaded giant franchise big-budget action flick that comes along with tinny dialogue, no heart, gigantic fritter-away-all-narrative-tension climaxes, etc etc. I really feel like this is not that. And moreover, movies that are unapologetically that, do not get the kind of shit that John Carter has gotten.
John Carter is the kind of movie I love. It is big and panoramic, it employs kick-ass concept artists (jobs for artists!) in the creation of a cool world with cool weapons and outfits and tattoos and cities and creatures. It's has a palpable emotional core. The burial scene choked me up. The stars had chemistry, and there's a lot of humor. In short, I loved it.
If you didn't like it, you disagree with me violently, fine.
If you didn't go see it because of this attitude of doom, don't listen to those misery-mongers. Maybe you'll love it like I did. Give it a shot.
P.S. It's great for older kids/families. The violence is of the Indiana Jones variety, you know, there's body count but in a vague kind of bloodless way (except for the blue blood, ha!), and there's no sex. Just lots of pecs and midriffs :-)
**added next day: I have been "informed" on Twitter of something I have heard circulating regarding the desire to see John Carter fail, and it's that people "in the industry" have "good reason" to want it to fail because of Disney's business practices or something. Well, I have no idea what this means. It's possible that someone "in the industry" could explain it to me in a way that would make me go, "Ohhhh," but I very very VERY much doubt that whatever this Disney wrongdoing is (and if it is), it would make me root for fail. Because seriously, WTF? You know what that reminds me of? People who give a book 1 star on Amazon because the dealer shipped it badly, or who trash an author because of something the publisher did or was perceived to do.
I understand, in weak private moments -- ahem -- how one might have a nasty inner twinge of schadenfreude or ill will; in my experience, when one is, ehh, molested by such unworthy feeling -- it is like a dark moth batting around your head, stinking and leaving soot stains -- it is because of jealousy, and is short-lived. Better nature prevails, and you keep it the eff to yourself. The end.