John Carter comes to 3D Blu-ray and Michelle Likes It

John Carter 3D Blu-ray Review

I’m not sure why John Carter failed at the Box Office, I enjoyed the movie for what it was and thought it had the makings to be a pretty decent franchise. It is now available in a nice Blu-ray 3D Combo pack that includes the 3D, 2D and Digital Copy version of the film.

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John Carter is an example of an adaptation that works as a movie. It doesn’t require you to know anything about the source material, or, expect the audience to have a crystal ball and know what’s “going to happen” in the “sequels.” It was nice watching an adaptation that stands on its own two feet and hugged me with all four arms. It does just enough to keep me entertained while making me want to go out and read the original source material for more detail.

What I loved about this movie was not the action; it was the journey of discovery. Taylor Kitsch does a good job as John Carter.  He plays the character straight and never goes over the top with it.  I loved watching him explore his new situation all of his reactions felt genuine. His relationship with the Princess of Mars Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) works amazingly well.  There is real chemistry between Kitsch and Collins.

John Carter 3D Blu-ray Review

Another Pixar alum goes live action, this time it is Andrew Stanton.  His live action debut is full of heart and soul, but Stanton’s action scenes were missing something. He never conveys the exhilaration Carter must feel being able practically “fly” in this strange new world. It would have been nice to see one shot of a big shit-eating grin on Kitsch’s face as he flies through the air.

There are some beautiful set pieces in the movie.  I loved the design and wide-angle shot we get the first time Carter sets his eyes on Hellium. The Costume design for Collins was beautiful but all the male costumes looked the same. Could not tell who was whom or make out who the bad guys were.

I love this cast there are enough unknowns here that star power doesn’t over power characters.  Lynn Collins is really good in this. She’s sexy, but strong and has a refreshingly “non-Hollywood” look that I just loved.  Princess Thoris was intense in her goals.

The only gripe that I really had with the movie was the script, by Stanton never shows the suffering of Thoris’ people. There was no motivation given to the lead bad guy other than he wanted power – for power’s sake, apparently, and the Princess did not want to be forced to marriage. We never get a sense of what would happen if he did take over. We never see the people suffer and the movie felt like it was overly “sanitized,’ for mainstream family consumption.

But these are minor quibbles; this movie is all about the relationship between Kitsch and Collins, everything else is window dressing, if that works then the rest of the movie does as well. These two hold this movie together and frankly I love the by the numbers story telling here. This movie is not as great, or epic as it wants to be, but it is thoroughly enjoyable.

Audio/Video/Presentation

The packaging is a standard 4 disc fare with the 3D, 2D, DVD and Disney File versions all on separate discs. I do not understand why in this day and age you can’t at least put the 3D, 2D, and Disney File on a single disc. I watched this movie on both my Vizio Passive 3D and my Panasonic Viera active shutter 3D tvs. While I usually don’t notice a huge difference between Passive and Active, I did notice a bit of fuzziness and jaggies when during my passive demo.   The quality of the 3D really is noticeably sharper and clearer using active shutter technology.

Audio on my regular Sony 2.1 soundbar sounds clean. One day I’m going to have to invest in a 7.1 setup just so that I can really experience the audio in a movie like this the way it is meant to be. There are subtitles for English, French and Spanish.

The menu navigation is very plain.  All the extras are on the regular Blu-ray disc and Disney Second Screen only works on the regular Blu-ray.

Extras

This set includes Disney’s 2nd Screen app that allows you to use your iPad to delve deeper into the movie. You can watch all the featurettes, production diaries, etc. in perfect sync on your iPad or you can go free form. Extras also includes commentary tracks with the filmmakers, bloopers, and more.

Conclusion

I end this as I started, not sure why this movie failed at the box office, but really hope people give it a chance on Blu-ray it is well worth it.

Final Grade A-