Taylor Kitsch in a scene from the movie John Carter.
Taylor Kitsch in a scene from the movie John Carter. Contributed- Image.net © Disney

John Carter an epic sci-fi flick

John Carter

  • Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe.
  • Director: Andrew Stanton
  • Rating: M
  • Reviewer's last words: If you can accept the portal between planets concept and Carter's increased abilities on gravity-poor Mars, then you will enjoy this sci-fi battle.

>> Local guide to the movies

THE man behind some of the most successful animated films of the past decade is branching out with his first live-action movie, John Carter.

Andrew Stanton directs the time and space-travelling adventure flick about a Civil War veteran who is transplanted to Mars where he must fight in another conflict.

Stanton is best known for directing animated features Finding Nemo, Wall-E and A Bug's Life as well as working as an executive producer on Up, Ratatouille and Monsters, Inc.

Taylor Kitsch, best known for playing troubled high school gridiron star Tim Riggins on American TV series Friday Night Lights, plays the film's title character.

Kitsch, who will also star in upcoming movies Battleship and Savages, stars opposite his X-Men Origins: Wolverine star Lynn Collins.

In this Q&A, Kitsch talks about this physically demanding role and helping to bring Stanton's sci-fi vision to life.

Q: What kind of character is John Carter?

A: Carter is a man who has lost everything he ever cared about. He comes back from the Civil War to find his wife and child dead.

He basically goes into this recluse mode of living and is driven to mine for gold. It's like a Band-Aid solution-he's covering up what he hasn't dealt with, the guilt and the loss of his family, whom he went to war to protect.

He has a fear of taking responsibility again and that's what he's fighting through the whole movie. He lands in the Civil War between Helium and Zodanga. He's on Mars but their conflict is incredibly relatable for him, so he just wants nothing to do with it.

You have Dejah, Tars and everyone reminding him or literally telling him that there's a cause here and you have to be part of it whether you like it or not.

He's made that choice before and everything was just ripped from him, so obviously there's that fear of actually engaging in that again. So that's what he's always pushing away from.

Q: And what about your character's relationship with Lynn Collins' character, Dejah Thoris?

A: In the books it's almost love at first sight and John would do anything for Dejah, but in the film you follow an arc that happens with John and Dejah as their relationship develops.

I love the banter back and forth. We rib each other and we challenge each other through different scenes and finally the truth just comes out.

It's a love story with everything else going on but it means so much to the film. It's quite the backbone of it.

Q: How did director Andrew Stanton convey his vision to you?

A: Andrew's vision was very infectious. He's just brilliant and you just have to go along with it.

You have to believe in it because it's such an incredible vision that if you don't, then you're not doing the story and the character justice. Our first meeting was great.

I was so excited because I am a huge fan of Wall-E and, come to find out, he's a fan of Friday Night Lights. It's just been a great relationship from the get-go and trust has been there from day one.

Q: What was it like working with the Thark actors in their motion capture suits?

A: The actors were dressed in, like, grey pyjamas with dots all over them and headgear. It all goes back to making it real, because the actual actors were dressed in the suits instead of stand-ins.

Stanton brought in an incredible group of actors to bring these characters alive.

There's a moment in the film where I do really look at Tars closely and there's only one way you can do it.

And by Willem Dafoe actually being there on stilts, I can connect with him and his face and with the character. It helped me so much.

John Carter opens on Thursday, March 8.

Lynn Collins

  • Quirky fact: Got the role of Portia in The Merchant of Venice after Cate Blanchett backed out.
  • Best known for: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, True Blood, The Merchant of Venice.
  • You will like this movie if you like these… Iron Man, Fantastic 4, The Avengers.
  • Quote: "He (Taylor Kitsch) just helped me through so many times I was scared and we were doing stunts".

 

Reviews

Project X

  • Stars: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Brown, Dax Flame.
  • Rating: MA 15+
  • In Cinemas now

The Hangover's Todd Phillips produces this documentary-style comedy about a high school party turned riot.

Aside from the wide-scale destruction, this film doesn't offer anything to the teen genre that John Hughes didn't already do in the '80s.

The Devil Inside

  • Stars: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth.
  • Rating: MA 15+
  • In Cinemas now

A poorly made gross-fest that is neither scary nor realistic, and the ending will make you want to ask for your money back.

Carnage

  • Stars: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C Reilly.
  • Rating: M
  • In Cinemas now

It's a less than perfect transition from stage to screen, but director Roman Polanski and the talented cast have delivered a wickedly funny film.



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