Superficially, John Carter—or John Carter of Mars, as the end credits still give the title—plays like a derivative patchwork of sci-fi fantasy landmarks from Avatar to Star Wars and Star Trek. Fans of Smallville or Superman Returns will be reminded of young Clark Kent’s fantastic leaps before he learned to fly. Viewers with longer memories may think back to Dune or Planet of the Apes, while those with shorter ones may be reminded of Cowboys and Aliens or Prince of Persia.
The irony, of course, is that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter stories, the first of which was published 100 years ago this year, are the predecessors, not the successors, of all those tales. Burroughs is better known as...READ MORE