Grigory Ryzhakov – Russian Writer

John Carter: Is there life on Mars?

© 2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER ERB, Inc.John Carter and two fiercest blog trolls 🙂  

Okay, you may think that this is so bad. Yet another derivative sci-fi flick trying to dazzle the audience with 3D. You probably expect me to say something like: “If you are not a child or a big sci-fi fan I’d not recommend seeing it, even if you’re tempted by the 3D or threatened to be boycotted by your L’enfant terrible.” Well, I won’t say that.

I don’t know if the film bad or good (okay I do know, but just read on), don’t you want to figure it out for yourself? I’m more interested in what’s for me in it. Do you need an incentive?

If you are that un-stoic parent who gets easily surrendered to your progeny‘s threats and you are going to see John Carter  there’s a minor consolation for you:

  • The story is based on the classic adventure book by Edgar Burroughs (educational)
  • There’re some cute alien creatures in it and the low gravity jumping (entertaining)
  • There’s some Martian dialect translated into English (linguistic)
  • The characters are fit: the bare-chested  hunk John Carter and a voluptuous half-naked Martian princess called Dejah Thoris  to get adults interested (soft-porn)
  • There’s nothing else to see in the cinema anyway (bummer!)

The film starts like a calamity. It looks like a low-budget version of Star Trek/Star Wars and manages to deliver an exhausting amount of clichés in a very small period of time. The sheer abundance of the cinematographical “stamps” makes the film look almost post-modernistic.

But then let’s see it in a different light. The John Carter magazine serial first appeared a century ago when the audience was not so spoiled by good quality sci-fi literature. And again it was mostly targeted for YA audience, unlike its contemporary and a similarly themed mind-bogging (he he, only joking) Aelita written by a Russian author Alexei Tolstoy.


Here you can watch a Soviet silent film adaptation of Aelita (1924) in nine parts.

Even though John Carter is a type of film you go to see just to switch off your brain and stuff yourself to death with pop-corn, I could still dig out some philosophical meaning to it.

We see the main character acting like an anti-hero in the beginning; soon we realize his behavior is a consequence of his past tragedy.

And one of the important things we learn from him is that one needs a purpose. If you lack passion and direction in life, then how can you be happy? Another thing is that if your purpose is not self-centered – not only you’re doing the noble thing and helping others, but you’ll also feel happy about it. By helping others John Carter yielded for himself a lot more than he could ever imagine. That’s a power of altruism. Admit it, you’d have never guessed my blog rant about John Carter would culminate on the altruism note.

Hey Grisha, you’d say, it is not the film review we hoped to read, dude. You didn’t answer the question: Is there life on Mars?

I can see your disappointment. In my justification I can say that no one can answer this question for sure yet. But if you watch the John Carter film you’d see a lot of life on Barsoom!

Seen it already? What did you think on the Ninth Ray concept? Is it a s cool as fusion energy? Do I ask as many question as your prodigious offspring?


Your brilliant thoughts