John Carter was burdened by production drama and bad press about its giant budget; now critics are getting a chance to see what the fuss was all about. It's no great work of art, but the story of a Civil War veteran turned Martian hero is reasonably exciting, they say:
- In Slate, Dana Stevens calls the film "a strange, at times misshapen, but somehow lovable thing: a movie that keeps trying to be smaller and simpler than its $250 million special-effects budget will permit." Its best moments are simply as a "bare-bones space western," but there aren't enough of those moments.
- Roger Ebert calls the movie a "rousing boy's adventure story" that "will probably succeed" at generating a franchise. Does it "get the job done for the weekend action audience? Yes, I suppose it does," he writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.
- "For all the bumps in the narrative ... and less-than-stellar 3D effects, John Carter exerts the pull of a tall tale told by a campfire," notes Peter Travers in Rolling Stone.
- But in the Los Angeles Times, Betsy Sharkey can't forgive the movie's flaws. She calls it "hit and miss, and miss, and miss," noting that it's "the latest version of a long and rich Hollywood tradition: the big-budget fiasco. It's enough to make your jaw drop."
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