Jeff watches John Carter – 2

photo-8Ah Dejah….  unfortunately in this first viewing of Dejah I have no idea how wonderful she is going to be. I find her line about ‘rubbish’ overly theatrical and painful. That is followed by ‘I present to you the answer’ with yet another flinch. After this she is perfect. Totally.

The throneroom scene is where we should’ve first been introduced to the politics of Barsoom, and I in think an earlier cut it probably was.After the politics it gets personal between Dejah and her father ( the Jeddak ) and this is where the performances rock. As I’d mentioned in my intro, this is an area that this film breaks ground for fantasy films. This is drama a passion that is rarely seen in this context.

These days it will show up in an HBO historical series or Game of Thrones, but so far, not a big screen fantasy movie. I’m amazed that there hasn’t been more talk about it. This is an actual heated argument between too people who love each other and are bound by their duties.  As Dejah talks about stories she was told when she was little, we know that it’s setting up the backbone of the movie/series, her relationship with John Carter, and it’s no less heartbreaking knowing that. Generally I pass out during most of ERB’s written throne room scene because they make me think of Flash Gordon serials, curtains for sets and everything, but this I loved.

This is the first time we really see the Therns shape shifting and revealing the base of their nefarious plan.

The coming scene is  key , fresh off Dejah’s emotional conundrum, cutting to the view from inside there’s a Zodanga ship zooming into helium ( it’s so cool how they use the giant wheel for navigating, whoever thought that up was brilliant ) the music is swelling, John Carter and the babies and finally arrive at the Thark city – decisive moments are occurring.

I remember seeing shots of these empty sets  of the Thark city the summer before the movie opened, it was great to finally see them inhabited

Galloping baby Tharks it doesn’t get any better than that!


Here’s Sarkoja saying that Sola can take the “little white worm” which is a beginning of John Carter not being viewed as a human. Considering that there are humans on Barsoom I never this worked. Appearance wise he’s just not that different than the humans they already know.


Now Carter sees the marks on Sola and asked what happened to her, and  I didn’t get it. We’ve already seen human characters with tattoos. These like that or natural patterns of some kind. They made me think of octopus sucker marks, but I didn’t take them for branding at all, so that was lost on me.

I like that phrases like the right of challenge and pledge their metal to mine have made it into the movie.

Tars shows off his pet, again he’s a baby white ape. They referred to him has an animal. I think I’m better with a white a reference that has an animal if anything.

“Sak !” We use that word around the house now.

Watching the babies and the shaving John.  Sola can’t get his boots off  and gives up, which is great. I’m  not sure I caught it the first time, or if I did it didn’t stick. Sometimes things are going by a little too fast. I think I can confirm that from later viewings. I’m jumping ahead of myself here, but the battle in Helium suffers from that. I followed what was going on, but I only cut some things on later viewings. That said, my first was smothered in an emotional blanket of ‘ Oh my god I’m watching John Carter’, so I’m not a reliable witness on the issue.

I had no idea in the trailer why a Thark was hitting John in the face with powder now I know it’s baby powder.

I think they handled the voice of Barsoom thing really well and it’s beginning the connection between John and Sola.


Okay this is six chapters and I’m done for today – Jeff


4 responses

  1. Those things you mentioned here that were lost on you, same here. Don’t see enough difference between the red men and JC to shake a stick at. And the marks on Sola, definitely not something that would stand out to me if I’d only just arrived from a completely different planet and had no real background on the creature that wore them. Some small details not well thought out, in my opinion.

    December 12, 2012 at 10:37 am

  2. Abraham Sherman

    It’s cool to hear more of your thoughts, Jeff. The kind of conversation us fans might have if we lived near each other and could watch it and talk it over as it plays. I’m relating to a lot of what you’re saying. Looking forward to more! 🙂

    December 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

  3. I am enjoying your comments, and agree with many of them.

    On the other hand, I didn’t take the “white worm” comment as literal. I presumed that Sarkoja was simply refering to the pale white human with a derogatory insult. You might say a bad man is a real rat. That doesn’t mean you think he’s a rat, just that that’s what he represents to you.

    My other bone of contention is the “language of Barsoom,” or as I think of it, the “Babelfish Juice.” This connects to the issue of understanding Sola’s place in the Thark tribe. The problem is that we lose Burroughs version where Sola teaches the language to JC. A short scene between Sola and Carter could have helped him understand her. As it is, we don’t really get an scene between the two of them until much later in the film, and Carter seems almost to “intuit” a bunch of info about Sola, including her connection to Tars Tarkas that just seems too prescient. I wish that they had allowed Sola and John to have an early scene in which she functions as his teacher. It could have helped to ground their relationship and convey important information about Thark culture and society in an effective, albiet traditional way.

    Still, I loved the film. As you point out, there is so much to love, it feels almost churlish to quibble.

    January 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm

  4. I agree. The teaching moment would’ve been much more beneficial to the plot. Also, the voice of Barsoom idea – beautiful but cliched, especially with Disney’s work. Pocahontas anyone?
    I was also thinking of Sarkoja’s white worm commentary as a derogatory term rather than a visual mistake. Even in the book they assume he’s not Barsoomian.

    So much love (and humor)! John Carter + Thark baby powder? Priceless!

    February 6, 2013 at 11:43 am

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