The long-awaited John Carter opened last weekend.

The film cost $250 million to make and the box office figures are so far pretty underwhelming - but does any of this matter?

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Hear Mark Kermode review the week's new films every Friday from 2pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode & Mayo's Film Review is also available as a free podcast to download and keep.

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  • Comment number 142. Posted by aviddiva

    on 7 Apr 2012 12:39

    The name John Carter also had me thinking of the songwriter of that name who collaborated with Ken Lewis! They were the brains behind the First Class's 'Beach Baby' as well as a number of 60's songs.

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  • Comment number 141. Posted by Floyd

    on 6 Apr 2012 08:15

    Please excuse another Kermode for coming late to this thread, but I really liked the movie. I saw it once with a friend and once with my 12 year old son. I could see the validity of various criticisms, but I think the quality of the source material came through. I found it as involving as I'd like a big dopey sci fi blockbuster to be and much more so than a lot of other more successful movies. Certainly, I enjoyed much more than Independence Day and Avatar. Does it matter that it lost money? Well, not really - a good film is a good film, and life isn't always just. I don't understand the widespread mentality that says that if a film lost money it can't be good. I guess the only bad thing about it losing money is that there won't be a sequel, which is a damn shame.

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  • Comment number 140. Posted by Johnson73

    on 26 Mar 2012 21:28

    Mark, I really think you missed the point of this movie. It's supposed to be everything you hold against it, except for boring, obviously. Did Star Wars make any more sense when you first saw it? Did you know what a Jedi was doing on a Corellian cruiser trying to save Alderaan? The whole thing about these early "pulp" stories like John Carter and Conan is that they have their own world, and that world doesn't need to be explained every ten minutes like Avatar had to. A Thark is a Thark, live with it, you'll figure it out eventually. It is classic science fiction, and it's the original science fiction story without which there would be no Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Lord of the Rings, Avatar and so on. Almost all of these "planet romance" pulp stories follow exactly the same story: hero, usually from Earth, gets embroiled in planet conflict, chooses the side with the hottest women, wins the war and gets the girl, The End. See if for what it is, not for what you want.

    Reviews like yours have put people off from seeing something which most people actually do enjoy once they see it. Proof: median score of 8/10 on IMDB. So of those who see it, most actually do like it.

    I really don't see why it should be held up as some sort of "this money could have been spent on indie films". Why? Disney doesn't do indie films! Other people do, and so far I haven't exactly noticed a huge drop in them. It's not like people are going round saying "Sorry, mate, your indie movie's been dropped now, all the money went to John Carter."

    John Carter is reasonably well made, it's very entertaining for the right audience (as in those people who have made George Lucas billions, so not exactly a pitiful minority or a sad bunch of nerds), and it's better, yes BETTER, than almost any other science-fiction/fantasy film for the last 20 years, with Lord of the Rings being the obvious exception.

    I know you won't change your mind, but please at least acknowledge that even though it wasn't your cup of tea, at least it's entertaining for those of us who still like to keep our heads in the stars.

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  • Comment number 139. Posted by Di Griso

    on 25 Mar 2012 19:48

    If you have lost your sense of humour behind the sofa of your childhood and then thrown the said sofa out onto the skip of "earnest adulthood" then stick with the independant low budget art movies. This is a camp, humorous, steampunk, pulp sci-fi blockbuster that wears its popcorn saturday morning matinee clothes with pride. The novels are nearly 100 years old and I liked the old fashioned feel of a story with goodies and baddies, a broken hero and a Princess and yes a redemptive theme running through it like a seam of gold as John Carter changes his metal and his heart as he finds a new cause. Not perfect but a darn sight better than the horribly self-conscious last 3 Star Wars films. Who cares what it cost? Only the jaded like to sit on the high seat of judgment weary with condemnation. I liked it enough to see the 3D and the 2D versions - and the 3D is much better!

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  • Comment number 138. Posted by Pagz

    on 23 Mar 2012 16:49

    I was trepidatious going in to John Carter because this is exactly the kind of film I want more of but I was worried that Hollywood just didn't know how to make it. I love Sci-Fi/Fantasy pulp. The marketing for the film did little to alleviate my fears, and the decision to change the title just to John Carter also filled me with concern. I wanted the film to be good. I wanted to go in and forget about the world for 2 hours and immerse myself in something fantastic. And I was reasonably sure I wasn't going to get my wish.

    I was wrong. John Carter delivered on everything I wanted and more besides. I found the film thrilling, exciting, funny and rich. I loved the story, I loved the characters, I loved the settings and I loved the feel. It saddens me that so many critics didn't share that experience, and further that so many people will miss out on that experience because they'll not bother with the film due to those same critics.

    I love Mark's reviews, he's easily my favourite film critic of all time. I'm always sad when a movie comes out that I love and then I see his review to discover he hasn't shared the experience. It's understandable of course, different folks have different tastes. In this instance I whole heartedly disagree with his views on the film.

    Do I care about the box office take? Only in as much as I was really hoping this film would spark a franchise and I'd get more adventures on Mars. I truly believe that John Carter is destined to become a cult success, or perhaps a success on home video, the way other films have tanked at the box office only to be discovered on home video and embraced. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a similar fate for John Carter of Mars.

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  • Comment number 137. Posted by Kenny

    on 23 Mar 2012 10:34

    Also....am I the only person who likes Dune?

    If you have trouble comprehending what is going on in that or in "JC of M" then I would feel a trifle ashamed.

    You better not watch Memento or you will have a brain embolism.

    Also, how are you supposed to make this film without a huge budget. It will end up having the quality of "The Princess of Mars" starring Traci Lords.http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1531911/

    A nice low-budget independent movie.

    Indies can be crap too.

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  • Comment number 136. Posted by Kenny

    on 23 Mar 2012 10:06

    After all the talk of "of Mars", huge flops and retrofitted 3D, I was very keen to see this film before it disappeared from movie screens because I had been looking forward to it for a long time. I was very keen not to see it in 3D but struggled to find it anywhere in 2D (is that going to help its box-office?). I took the one of my sons (13) who was interested in seeing it and could stomach the 3D. My first reaction was how diabolical the 3D was. The decision to post install 3D is a major mistake, as bad as removing any reference to Mars from the title. One overwhelming feeling with this movie was how atrociously it had been marketed. If I hadn't a rough idea what it was about to begin with then I would have been put off my the trailers and posters.

    So what did we make of the movie? Ignoring the 3D and the fact that it had been raped of all of its original century old ideas, we really enjoyed it. I could see the youthful enthusiasm coming through in the film making. Romp is the best way to sell it. It is a fun, imaginative, enjoyable, and not dragging, 2.5 hours at the cinema. Some of the exposition could have be handled better but I found this much less off putting than in many other recent scifi / fantasy / sword and sandals epics. To answer one of Mark's other questions this week, how did we feel after seeing it? We want to see the rest of the stories in the proposed trilogy. I would much rather my children go and see this film and come out of this movie feeling elated the way I did with Star Wars, Superman and Flash Gordon than go and see child-targetted dross like smurfs, chipmunks or non-pixar digimation. I think it is an insult to compare this movie with other huge brainless, souless blockbusters like Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean or, dare I say, Tintin.

    p.s. The Muppets was enjoyable....but it wasn't that good

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  • Comment number 135. Posted by Gettingupmorning

    on 22 Mar 2012 16:56

    Apologises my above post should read TO SAY IT MAKES DUNE LOOK LIKE SPEED....as oppose to see which would work counter to my entire argument. Butter fingers......

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  • Comment number 134. Posted by Gettingupmorning

    on 22 Mar 2012 16:54

    How about a thead on what people actually thought of the movie as opposed to the whether box office figures matter? Considering Marks review compared it negatively to not only Phantom Menace but the utterly imcomprehensible Dune. To see it makes Dune look like Speed is not only harsh but as close to factual incorrect as ones own opinion can be. I was hardly lost watching John Carter (OF MARS!!!!) and throughly enjoyed the movie as a piece of escapist space fantasy. As ofr the good doctors review it felt more like a footnote that needed to be added to his latest book regarding the modern blockbuster mentality. Given the movie was dissmissed almost as resoultely as any of the great offenders to have been given the kermodean rant treatment and given its infamy in the place of great Hollywood follies could the floor not be reopened to assess the John Carters merits, flaws and so on.

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  • Comment number 133. Posted by kay

    on 21 Mar 2012 21:31

    i went to watch john carter and i must have been watching a different film than everybody else. the film i watched was visually stunning and the story was amazing but hey, near enough all good films are slated lately and the more boring ones are left to be showered in praise. john carter to me wasnt a flop at all i thoroughly enjoyed it and i think the the whole plodding along comment was silly as for me the film was not boring or (plodding) on at all and i liked it alot. i also dont think that disney should be slated for something different i for one was happy that disney didnt bring out another pirate or princess film as the stories are dragging out and getting boring!

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