Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter character celebrates its centennial anniversary this year with the first full length feature film of the series. Taylor Kitsch stars in the leading role as the Confederate Army captain who finds himself mysteriously transported to the planet Mars where there is currently an ongoing power struggle between two opposing factions. With the Zodanga army quickly gaining the upper hand thanks to the holy power of the Therns, John Carter may be the last hope for the dwindling people of Helium.
Being a human, John Carter has an increase in muscle mass due to the higher gravity on Earth than on Mars. Because of this, he has incredible strength and the ability to jump massive distances, making him a very powerful person. When he arrives on Mars, there is already a civil war brewing between Zodanga and Helium. Watching from the sidelines is the four-armed alien race of the Tharks. They’re the ones who initially found Carter out in the desert. John Carter shows off a diverse world and ecosystem on Mars, or Barsoom as the natives call it.
Civilization is very advanced on Mars as the people there have learned how to sail on the air with these giant mechanical airships. The visuals can be astounding, showcasing the vast desert environments or detailed cities such as Helium or the constantly moving Zodanga. The characters themselves are also equally impressive.
Helium is represented by Princess Dejah (Lynn Collins). This isn’t your typical helpless woman in distress type princess, though. Dejah can hold her own with a sword and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. Opposite her is Sab Than (Dominic West), prince of Zodanga. Their marriage would essentially unite the two cities, giving Sab rule over all of Barsoom. The Tharks are more of a nomadic creature type who rely more on brute strength than advanced technology. The detail in these characters really brings them to live and gives allows them to have a full range of emotions. Think along the same lines of Na’vi from Avatar. Both Williem Dafoe and Thomas Haden Chuch lend their voices and motion capture performances to make these characters possible.
John Carter provides a great deal of action and story that opens up an entire new universe to audiences. There are 11 installments in the Barsoom series, many of which feature the main protagonist John Carter, so there is plenty of more content for future films and merchandise. John Carter only scratches the surface of Burroughs’ novels and will leave audiences wanting more.
Follow me on Twitter @Majiesto