BionicBob took a somewhat bloated adaptation of a classic novel, which managed to stay true to the original material for the most part added lots of unnecessary exposition and trimmed it down to the bare essentials; offering a grand adventure that this great character deserves.
Editing is seamless as usual, perfect audio quality in 5.1, seamless editing. I think some color correction was applied here to make the whole edit look better.
A perfect edit for me, worthy of printing the cover art and put in a DVD case.
Bionic Bob does it again! Yet another edit of his that removes my need of watching the theatrical cut ever again. It is that good.
Bob has removed a lot of bloat (I was particularly happy to see the ERB bookends go, those added nothing but runtime to the film) and has pushed the old-fashioned adventure flavor to the foreground, both with the cuts and with the new color treatment, which may not work for some people but I loved. It feels so much more old-timey "they-don't-make-'em-like-this-anymore" in this version (well, except for the massive CGI, but nothing can be done about that).
Maybe a little bit more could have been cut, though. For instance, I'd have removed the first time Carter says the line "A princess of Mars", which feels forced and calls attention to itself as an awkward "Hey, look at me! I'm only here as a nod to the book's title!" I'd have lost it and the nod would stay anyway, as Carter says the line again when proposing to Dejah, and there it works. Also, the wife and child flashbacks being in color does work, but why isn't the burnt-down house and burial stuff black and white? It would make more sense like that, it's there when Carter's life becomes a downer.
The new end credits with the homage to Carter through the ages are wonderful, though I'm still not convinced about that Requiem for a Dream ripoff theme music. What I did love was a hilarious moment that might or might not have been intentional: at the end of the credits we get a reprise of the rather violent scene of Carter mass-slaying Tharks left and right, followed by a title card which reads "A Disney Picture". LOL!
The technical quality of the release does have the slightly blocky quality usual in Bob's edits, sadly, and I must substract a point for that. Audio is sadly still 2.0 (Bob, 5.1 is not that hard, honest! ;) ) so another point down. Otherwise, I did not detect any bad edits, and I'm usually good at detecting them, so 10's for video and audio editing. And also 10's for narrative and enjoyment because despite the tiny nitpicks above, I found this so vastly superior to the original that I think it deserves them.
Definitely, when I feel like taking a trip to Mars, I will not tell my Thern medallion "Barsoom". I will tell it "Bionic Bob's Barsoom"!
The original was a disappointing failure, not least of which were inept marketing and odd narrative.
If you liked the original, or simply wanted to like the original, then check this out.
BBob has shredded a chunk of dead weight. The story now moves!
He trimmed much of Carter's Earth exploits, most of which were unnecessary to begin with.
Enough remains that viewers get an idea of Carter's backstory, and the pain he carries.
Video - Others have made comment regarding the black and white scenes. They looked fine. Sepia would have looked just as nice, as would have washed out colour.
The editing was rock solid. Even during scenes I knew were missing, I never missed them.
Audio - Bit weird here. I listened to this using headphones and several passages struck me as over boomy or too echoey. That would be Chapter 03, Chapter 05 (@ 47"), and Chapter 06 (@ 1:00"). These were all interiors, and all featured the Princess.
When I listened to this using exterior speakers, everything was decipherable again.
I listened to the original using headphones, and the reverb did not seem to be as bad.
BBob prefers 2.0 sound mixes, and I wondered if somehow the rear channels found their way into the 2.0.
This is a quibble. As mentioned, it was not noticeable on main speakers.
Narrative - Terrific job. This is now my go-to John Carter. His ending sets the stage for the sequel, Gods Of Mars, which down the line, might confound the unwary.
A fun summer film. Vast improvement on the studio release and absolutely recommended.
I had no doubt Bob would deliver a great edit. Of course the editing was great, but it's his passion for this story that really shows in the creative choices he made.
Carter is a flawed film. I think it's largely panned outside of the small fan base that knows the story and the characters. What Bob has done is made it a lot more accessible for a wider audience. The "Oz" effect in the beginning was a nice idea and I really loved how the amulet glowed blue through the black and white. I didn't expect that and I found myself saying that's cool out loud.
One of the previous reviews found some of the cuts a little jarring between Carter learning his jumping powers and the battle from the beginning of the movie with Sab Than. Personally I liked how it was worked in there and it needed to be there for narrative purposes. Mark Strong's character (I keep forgetting his name) indicated how no one could stop Sab and then we come back to Carter exploring the area. Perfect cut idea! Also, great use of the deleted opening. Would've been nice if they had finished the effects for the home video release.
Bob took this film to a new level. It still has its flaws, but that is the source material. Thank you for bringing us on a much more enjoyable trip to Barsoom.
You're lucky I don't take off points for that cliffhanger ending! (lol)
John Carter is a pretty fun movie but it's not as fun as it should be. This edit streamlines it to make it faster paced and tries to make it less confusing for the newbies. Overall it works very well and it's fun but don't expect a wildly different experience than the theatrical cut. If you enjoyed the theatrical cut but felt it was a little too long, this will help.
The color correction on Mars is very nice. It makes everything a little more vibrant while before it seemed somewhat washed out. It also makes Carter not look so pasty white. The rearrangement of the Thern introduction was nice and the deleted scene of Deja explaining the warring cities was excellent and should have been in the theatrical cut.
A few minor complaints:
After Carter talks about the ships sailing on oceans, his reaction shot is still a little goofy.
The music change during the quick escape from the Thark camp from exciting to slow and ponderous is a little abrupt. It's not a a hard cut or anything but it is just a bit awkward.
I kind of wish that a bit more of the after credits sequence was included with Carter back in his cave but I can understand the earlier cut off.
It's a fun ride and nearly all of the changes are very well done. I wouldn't call it a replacement, but it's definitely a worthy sidegrade.