Jeff watches John Carter – 5

Okay, that last was a ton of work. I’m going to take a little easier this time.

Now we’re off to the Thern temple. Yea yea yea I know that the Tharks in the books have no culture, but nobody has ‘no culture’ except maybe the Kardashians. I’ve always considered John Carter an ‘unreliable narrator’, so one level I view the movie ( sort of ) as the ‘real story’. If the movie wasn’t accurate in getting the world right I wouldn’t do that, or if Woola was pink and furry I’d be done. But Barsoom has a culture that includes Issus and Therns and the film-makers are trying making a dense, functional trilogy. I’m willing to go with that.

I like the look of the collapsed ( at least I think it’s collapsed ) temple walls, and I notice that the skylight here is the same shape as the one the glass hall in Helium.

Carter asks if a carving represents a Thern and Sola explains that it’s Issus the goddess – I think that’s a total tune out moment for an audience. But it is set up for The Gods of Mars.

I like how John just grabs Dejah and jumps up on the ledge. When they slam into the wall he doesn’t even say sorry – but I do understand him just grabbing her. Actually, this is done well and part of their relationship right off the bat. They have a lot of physical contact right away. He grabs her in the air, she gets real close and wipes her sword on his Thark diaper, she is tossed in his arms by Tars…


Dejah gets devious – “the gates of Iss” and “what if I could take you there ? ” This feels off track again. She’s decoding the text , she’s said she thinks he’s a lier yet accepts his super strength. On my first viewing I was really thrown by her wanting to take him there. Didn’t she take him to the cave to call him out on a what she saw as a lie ?

J – “What if I didn’t trust you ? ”

D – “Then that would make us even.”

When Dejah challenges him about “if you can get us out of here”, I like John’s smirk at that.


I love how Dejah says earth – uuuurth

“Go on, shake it” – we should all be doing that shake it.


I will say that the movie saves us from the long ‘sneaking around in the dark’ scene of the novel.

“They should all die in the arena” he sounds Russian… He really loves that arena.

I love how Tars just picks up Carter.


The shorter reveal of Sola as his daughter works for me, I never expected the movie to film Sola’s back story, but the heart is there.

Having Tars help them escape for me works much better than the long sneaking around in the book See, I’ve mentioned it twice now. Even in his first novel ERB’s sneaking scenes don’t work for me.

Now one my favorite scenes, the ride through the desert. Great music, great visuals, Woola racing around like a crazy dog. There was some fussing about the number of days and only one night, but you do see it get dark you do see another sunrise. If this wasn’t from a book I don’t think anyone would have blinked.


And they’re moving through the sandstorm I realize I’m just watching now I sort of take that is yet another day.

Now Zodanga has come to a stop.. I never had any problem with Zodanga as a moving city, its my least favorite portion of the book anyways. At least this this is visually interesting and is huge portion of the plot dynamics. Otherwise it’s just two cites at war for no discernible reason. Way back, one of on the set spies that showed up on Mike’s ” johncartermovie” website was complaining about the mishmash of architecture. As he described to us, nothing worked, nothing was any good, it was a horrible architectural mishmash. Well it works for me, stylistically it’s very consistent. I guess he was an architectural purist who couldn’t see the Zodanga for the trees.


Later on in Zodanga, the scene where Carter’s stealing the flier, that set looks pretty much like what I imagined in the books.

Now we’re back to our desert ride .

She’s a princess of Mars I love that!

God she’s gorgeous…..

J – ” So marry the guy and save your people -” What does Dejah say right after that she’s running and she falls down ? All I hear is ” hipdfunhoknjn “!


When Dejah says to John that there are no Therns and he pulls out his medallion and says “this is real” that feels real, as the viewer you know he’s right, but then he’s back to “and so is my cave of gold ” which yet again feels out of context.

Back at on Zodanga what gorgeous looking fliers – ” I’ve even started to talk like you” ha ha !

I was a little puzzled by Sola starting to strike out on her own on they reached the river but I think that’s just my stupidity, nothing misleading in the movie.

I love Sola’s performance and how upset she is when John tells her that Tars is her father – blinking eyes and tension – brilliant stuff.20121226-114826

When they leave Woola behind my dogs reacted to his howling.

I need to go to Utah and go boating on this river. It’s where they filmed Planet of the apes as well.

Top of the Thern temple the backgrounds kind of look like 60’s projected backgrounds special-effects or something. The tone or colors are just not quite right. To light perhaps.


I like how J and D get all awkward after the jump to the temple. Is because he grabbed her more places, or because they’re getting to know each other ? Both maybe ?

NEXT – into the Thern hedgerow.


4 responses

  1. I love that post-jump awkwardness, too! So sweet and old fashioned. Taylor pulls that off perfectly! Let me see if I can remember what Dejah says after John Says, “So marry the guy…” Hmmm… I think it’s, “A life of oppression, that’s not living!”

    January 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm

  2. That could well be it, since I’ve never heard it 🙂

    January 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm

  3. Very good points about the changes from the novel. I particularly like the way Tars Tarkas sets Dotar Sojat out with Sola and Dejah Thoris.

    I have to grit my teeth when it turns out that the ancient temple is a Thark temple rather than a Thern temple. I suppose it avoids Burroughs whole non-PC explanation that the Red race of Barsoom is the product of interbreeding between the Black, White and Yellow races of humans. But I really liked the way the novel turns the racial expectations of the early 20th Century (and Kipling’s “white man’s burden”) upside down…first when there is no white race on Barsoom, and then when (in “Gods of Mars”) the white race turns out to have evolved into a sick and perverted culture that imagines itself as a race of Gods.

    Oh well, I can live with the filmmakers re-imagining the whole basis of the civilization, I suppose.

    What I didn’t understand was the point of Zodanga being a walking city. Maybe it will pay off in a later film. The first time I saw the film I totally missed why Zodanga moves. The second time, it became clear. It walks around the planet, so that it can scar the landscape with its rapacious automated mining techniques. I’m sure this was done, in part, to underline the scarce resources of a “dying planet.” But with all the vast expanses of desert on view, it hardly seems like the geological resources are the ones that are in short supply. If the script had underlined the shortage of air and water more often, it would have been more effective, IMHO. And where’s the atmosphere plant!!! If you want to use the ecological implications of the original novel, what is MORE effective than the atmosphere plant!: a piece of technology so important to the survival of the planet, that all the waring tribes and species have agreed not to attack it or damage its operation. It is potentially a much more effective device for suggesting the fragility of this world than a moving mining city.

    Was there any mention at all of the atmosphere being thin, which (as Carter presumes in the novel, I think) is what has led to the disappearance of the oceans?

    Ah… if I were king….

    …but I’m not!

    January 31, 2013 at 4:11 pm

  4. I didn’t imagine Zodanga as a moving city when I first read the book either. But the mining explanation makes more sense.

    Also the line Dejah says when she trips a second time is “A life of oppression is not worth living.” It was pretty clear to me.

    I love Sola – she’s so genuine in this film. I’m so tempted to give her a hug sometimes at her hardest moments. I’m glad they kept the backstory though the revelation seems too out of place for me since Tars Tarkas was really working hard to hide this fact from the Tharks in the book, especially from Tal Hajus and Sarkoja.

    February 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

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