Reel Watchers: John Carter

I had no idea what I was getting into when I volunteered to see "John Carter" for Reel Watchers.

I was really surprised! It's a Disney/Pixar live-action film starring Taylor Kitsch (didn't know who he was, but I'll never forget him now!) as Captain John Carter of the Virginia cavalry, and the beautiful Lynn Collins as Princess Déjà Thorns of Helium on Mars.

The film starts with John Carter's death and the reading of his will, leaving everything to his nephew, Edgar Rice Burroughs (name sound familiar?). Along with his wealth, he left a diary that Burroughs was required to read ASAP. The movie is the story in his diary.

Going back 13 years, John Carter is magically transported to Mars (aka "Barsoom"), which is at war. This happens right when he discovers his "cave of gold" in the Arizona territory. He wakes up in a vast desert, and after much trial and error, he discovers he can leap long distances.

He is then captured by the Tharks. They are green, 9-foot creatures with horns and four arms. Willem Dafoe plays the lead Thark. The Tharks alternately help and hinder Carter in his journey.

He is befriended by Sola, the head Thark's daughter, and acquires his best pal, Woola (the best character in the movie!), a 10-legged, giant lizard dog that can run really fast.

What follows is somewhat predictable, but seldom tedious.

It was a very good movie, though a little long. I didn't realize it was an adaptation of a 100-year-old Mars adventure, the 11-volume "Barsoom" series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I think I'll read the books. Look for the sequel. John Carter earns 4 out of 5 Miners.