Sunday, March 11, 2012

John Carter from Mars

I had a surprisingly fun afternoon watching the new John Carter from Mars movie.

I just wanted to pass the time and I thought what I then perceived to be a "B" movie would be a nice way to do it.

I wasn't expecting an Oscar winning performance and I was bracing for an epic failure like the Reboot of the Conan the Barbarian movie.  I was also quite familiar with the Traci Lords/Antonio Sabato Jr pukefest "Princess of Mars" released in 2009" so I was expecting a nice nap in the movie theatre. And! The opening credits revealed it was a Disney film, so there would be no gratuitous nudity (BOOOOOO!!!!!) which we've come to expect from almost anything from Edgar Rice Burroughs - who, by the way turns out to be the nephew of John Carter.

Boy was I in for a surprise!

Spoilers here, so don't read on it you haven't seen it.

The movie - as directed by Andrew Stanton (Of Wall-E and Finding Nemo fame - yes, at one point in the movie, you might feel like crying)  chronicles the adventures of Virginia (The next time an Alien tries to breach the language barrier by asking your name, don't bother telling him where you're from, especially if you're from Virginia or Sexmoan, Pampanga) who mysteriously gets copy-furnished and enhanced with super strength and agility to Mars. From there it's pretty straight forward non-stop action with tasteful comedy: Bad guys over there, hot princess over there, save the princess, save the world.

It's not exquisite writing here, but the combination of massacre - strangely not bloody - level combat; beautiful aerial battles courtesy of some of the most graceful flying galleons (Brought me back to my Spelljammer days); and the bungling humor (John Carter leads a desperate cavalry charge against the mobile city of Zodanga in an effort to save the world only to find out that the city was empty and everyone they had to fight was in Helium, Tars Tarkas bends over and slaps Virginia behind the head.)

But one of the biggest draw ins for me was the leading lady. Princess Dejah Thoris was portrayed by Lynn Collins whom you may remember from the Wolverine: Origin series where she was Logan's leading lady, Silverfox.

In typical Disney fashion, this is no helpless Princess - which is also true to the vision of Edgar Rice - and more than once she proves her prowess as a swordswoman, even coming to rescue John Carter on several occasions. What Disney's version of Princess Dejah Thoris lacks in skin exposure (It's Disney! Of course she's not going to be nude!), they make up with the exotic tattoo patterns on her body.

The bad news is, Disney has not invested in an action figure line yet for John Carter - though hopefully they will when they produce a sequel (And they should). However, there is actually a Dejah Thoris doll courtesy of Triad Toys and Collectibles and though she lacks tattoos and the general allure of a beautiful Xena like character, Triad Toy's Dejah Thoris is quite a collectible:

If you like this figure, the bad news is she's Back-listed and out-of-stock. Dejah Thoris will also set you back US$ 99.99 plus shipping.

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