June 14, 2014
John Carter wasn't a terrible movie, in fact it was almost a great one. I saw it on a massive IMAX screen where it looked and sounded fantastic and I had fun while it was on. It was clearly flawed and a bit forgettable but hardly deserving of the critical mauling and hyrdogen-bomb sized box-office failure. In other words, the perfect fanedit opportunity...
After having viewed Bob's heroic rescue of 'Kick Ass 2', I was looking forward to him pulling off the same trick here and he almost does. This is a much, much better version of the movie than the official cut but still not quite a complete fix of the problems. Maybe many of them just can't be fully fixed.
Audio/Video Quality 8/10
Generally I liked the new colouring as it made Barsoom look more alien, made Carter less pasty and made the red men/women appear more Martian and less like they'd got a joblot on fake tan. However occasionally things just looked way too pink IMO. I also feel an epic Sci-Fi fantasy romance of this nature deserves higher than Standard Definition (My John Carter Blu-Ray looks lovely and I missed that same presentation here).
Visual Editing 8/10
For the most part I couldn't see any evidence of cutting, nice work. But in a few places there were some mis-matched cuts that looked odd. e.g. Carter's reaction shot in the "time of oceans" dialogue and the excising of the old ladies speech on the walk through the city. Loved the '2001'-ish "Gods of Mars" title at the end plus the post credits scene worked to perfection! I now want that sequel more than life itself ;-)
Audio Editing 8/10
Again mostly excellent with only one or two cuts being noticable. However the way the music was mixed in during the wedding finale sounded too sudden and off. Emotionally it was absolutely the right choice of music though, so I can happily live with it on that basis.
This is where this edit really shines.
I really felt that Carter was more heroic, more of a superhero and much more of a game changer. Here the impression that Carter was a stone being dropped into the pond of Barsoom, rippling out and changing everything was so much stronger. I'm not sure this was down to anything Bob added, it was more down to other things being trimmed away to bring focus elsewhere and the placement of scenes. So the Tharks and Dejah instantly recognising how Carter could be used to make their position stronger was clearer. They could instantly see his value even though he could not. Great job editing this.
Also I liked the quick way we got into the plot Oz style and the new emotional ending. I'm not sure it's quite the way I would have rearranged things but it was no doubt better than the original. With the 21 minutes cut some of the films hidden strengths shined out better. For example, I hadn't noticed how great James Purefoy's character was. I'd have loved if his character had been used more. If the filmmakers hadn't made Dejah such a superhero (Beautiful Princess AND genius-level scientist AND unstoppable warrior) it would have allowed him to be her right-hand-man/sword/bodyguard type guy. It would have made her appear more cerebral, commanding and more regal to have a loyal bodyguard ready to die for her IMO. Because of this trimming I was also much more engaged by the central romance, which you need to be for this film to work.
This still isn't a masterpiece but it's a lot of fun and a good piece of simple escapism. From now on, Bob's cut is going to be my go-to version, when I fancy a trip to Barsoom.