John Carter (3D/2D Combo) (2012) 
Blu-ray Action-Adventure
Written by Noah Fleming   
Tuesday, 29 May 2012

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I know there is a big history to the Jon Carter saga.  However, I did not follow the writings and therefore will not begin to speculate on the consistencies or lack thereof between the two.  For it is, John Carter is a decent film.  Somehow I do not understand the reasons behind the uproar that this film caused during its theatrical release.

“John Carter” is not a perfect film by any means.  However, it certainly is not as horrible to require a studio head to resign over its theatrical failure.  The film is actually a fun ride.  Sure the beginning starts a bit slow but it pickups as the film runs on.  I know that is not a recipe for success but it doesn’t doom it to the pits.

John Carter is a man of Earth during the civil war.  He is determined to find his cave of gold and in doing so finds his essence transported to Barsoom, a planet that we know as Mars.  It is there that he finds himself in the middle of a war among three races of the planets.  Two races resemble mankind, but are tinted red and the third race is native martians known as Tharks.

Carter only longs to get home, having taken far too long to realize that his is on another world.  However, along the journey his begins to fall in love with Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), who is doomed to marry a murderous and conniving individual in the hopes of peace between the races.  The chaos is “controlled” by the Terns, a magical group that chooses the fate of worlds in order to remain the most power, as it is the nature for worlds to destroy each other.

Based on the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter is an epic tale.  I will leave it to the Carterphiles to debate the merits of the film vs. the novel.

“John Carter” comes to Blu-ray in a 4-disc combo pack.  The first disc in the set is a Blu-ray 3D version of the film.  This disc is equipped with a Full HD 3D version of the film and a DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio track.  There is nothing else on the disc.  All special features and the 2D version on the film reside on the second Blu-ray disc.  Also in the package are a DVD disc with some of the bonus materials and a Digital Copy disc.

(5/5 stars)  “John Carter” has two distinct presentations here.  First, there is the 2D version.  This is the natural version of the film and receives high marks.  The level of detail is exquisite and the color balance is suited just right for the atmosphere and nature of the film.  Shadow delineation falters just a little bit, but I attribute the gray nature to the original film elements and not the transfer.  Fleshtones are pointless to speak of here, but they are consistent for what they are.  Black levels are good only following the gray nature of shadow delineation on occasion.  There is not artifacting or other anomalies.  The 2D version is a sight to behold.

(3/5 stars)  The 3D version of the film is another matter.  That fact that this is a post-converted 3D film should tell you what you are in for.  Is this a terrible 3D presentation?  No, not entirely.  There is quite pleasing depth to many of the sequences.  However, even this great feat is inconsistent at times.  There is not 3D extension from the screen despite numerous occasions for it.  The major drawback of not being native 3D.  The CG effects also present a bit of problem for the transfer.  The blend of film elements with CG is not as tight as in the 2D version.  In 3D the elements look more matted than natural.  The color balance also doesn’t hold up as well under the 3D presentation as opposed to the native 2D.  While the 3D presentation is interesting at times, it is far from being among the best 3D experiences out there.  Perhaps it was because I held too high of hopes for the 3D going in.

The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA 7.1 on bother the 3D and 2D discs.  This is the best part of the release.  Disney is quickly becoming known for the 7.1 surround work.  Aside from remixing their classic animated tales, they are producing live-action films in 7.1.  “John Carter” is no exception.  The 7.1 surround usage here is phenomenal.  The accuracy is of the rear channels is better than 5.1.  Panning of aircraft in the rear is smooth and precise.  The depth of the audio field makes the 3D more believable than it really is.  The LFE channel is more reserved than I thought it would be, but it still offers some nice supplement bass.  The dialogue is only minor weak point of the track.  There are times in which the dialogue fails to be prioritized, making some scenes difficult to take in.  Other than that, this is a perfect 7.1 audio track.

Even the 3D package of “John Carter” does not come with extensive bonus materials.  For some reason studios are taking to this second screen nonsense.  Why can’t this be presented as a PiP function?  Who wants to look back and forth between the iPad and the movie screen?  “360 Degrees Of John Carter” is a 30-minute feature following on particular day on set.  There are deleted scenes with director commentary (optional).  Bloopers are also included here.  “100 Years In The Making” is an adaptation piece about the original novel.  Lastly, there is an audio commentary with director Andrew Stanton and producers Lindsey Collins and Jim Morris.

“John Carter” is worth the watch despite the negative press it got during is theatrical release just a couple months ago.  The audio presentation alone is worth this package.  But the 2D version is great supplement to the audio.  The 3D version is plagued with post-convert issue but still remains interesting.  I recommend this title.
Studio Walt Disney Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating PG-13
Starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Dominic West, Thomas Haden Church, Samantha Morton, Ciaran Hinds
Director Andrew Stanton
Film Release Year 2012
Release Year 2012
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 1080p (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
Running Time 2 hrs. 12 mins.
Sound Formats English DTS-HD Master 7.1 • English DVS 2.0 • French Dolby Digital 5.1 • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH • French • Spanish
Special Features Director and Producers Audio Commentary; Deleted Scenes; “100 Years In The Making”; “360 Degrees Of John Carter”; Disney Second Screen; Bloopers; DVD Copy; Digital Copy
Forum Link
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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