The evolution of cinema began in the late nineteenth century and ends this very weekend, with the release of John Carter. Based upon Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoom series, which details the exploits of a Virginian Civil War Veteran who is transported to Mars, the movie is expected, by me, to decimate every box office record, sweep the Oscars, and signify the first step toward the election of Tim Riggins, the fictional character from Friday Night Lights, as President of The United States. Disney, the movie’s viperous corporate financier, was prescient enough to release the first ten minutes of the film online. This was no doubt a means to pacify the billions of John Carter fans, as one could logically presume that these fans have already erected a series of respective tent cities outside respective multiplexes across the world, and are developing their own government, or giving each other John Carter tattoos with unsterilized needles, or both. What follows is the first ten minutes of John Carter, what follows that is my minute-by-minute synopses and reaction.
What appears to be happening: A whirlicote transits a young man to a mysterious estate, where he is surveyed by a geriatric with mutton chop sideburns. The young man’s name is Mr. Burroughs. The geriatric’s name is Noah Dalton. Noah Dalton is Mr. Burroughs’s Uncle’s attorney. Mr. Burroughs’s Uncle is via context clues dead and Noah Dalton extends his deepest sympathies to Mr. Burroughs. In his will, Mr. Burrough’s Uncle bequeathed a diary to Mr. Burroughs. Mr. Burroughs is taken aback by this, which you can tell because his mouth is agape for a whole minute. Noah Dalton offers his condolences.
What appears to be happening: Turns out, Mr. Burroughs’s first name is Edgar, like a homage, to Edgar Rice Burroughs who wrote the books upon which this movie is based! Classic quadruple entendre. Tim Riggins begins narrating that it’s time to cross time and space and arrive in Arizona. The phrase “the backside of hell” is used.
What appears to be happening: Tim Riggins enters through a door of lens flare. The phrase “Coming to load up on spider bait” is used. “Loon” is used as a pejorative. Tim Riggins owes his usurer money, has a cave built out of gold. The usurer refuses to loan Riggins anymore money. When Riggins persists, he is encircled by disposable usurer lackeys. Dra-AH-ma.
What appears to be happening: Riggins Shenmue disarms the lackeys, pulls his pistol on the usurer, throws a memory stick of gold at the usurer, says “Beans. Beans are the first item on the list.” Before Riggins can get his beans though, a triumvirate of bros show up and invite him to their fort party. “No gracias,” says Riggins. “Elbow to the face!” says one of the bros, who was hiding in the shadows. Riggins is KO’ed, wakes up and takes a quick shower.
What appears to be happening: A mustachioed man employs the Good-Cop-Bad-Exposition method of interrogation on Riggins. He is Colonel Powell, Colin Powell’s great uncle, or grandfather, it’s not specified. Riggins punches him in the face with his head. More exposition. Turns out, Colin Powell’s great uncle, or grandfather, or whatever is actually Mr. White from Breaking Bad, or the dad from Malcolm in the Middle, it’s never specified. Tim Riggins jumps out of a window and lands in a jail cell. Bryan Cranston wants Riggins to ride The Trail of Tears. Riggins is like, “Texas Forever. Fuck Arizona.” Riggins politely declines Mr. White’s offer to rape and pillage Native American villages. To prove how serious he’s being, he clinks his wedding ring on a pipe via context clues illustrating to the audience that his wife is dead and widowers hate raping as much as they hate pillaging. He says some stuff about buying Bryan Cranston’s butt and TR/JC punches BC in the face with his head again.
What appears to be happening: Walter White isn’t having it, puts Riggins in the isolation chamber, which in the 1800’s was just a jail cell. Riggins has a flash back to Julie Taylor about to give him a handjob under the bleachers then uses his own urine to escape from isolation.
What appears to be happening: Tim Riggins steals the dad from Malcolm in the Middle‘s horse, causing Bryan Cranston to cut himself shaving. There is a chase sequence of Riggins’s/Cranston’s horse pursued by Cranston’s new horse/other horses. Everyone runs into a bunch of redskins. Riggins can talk their thai. Riggins can talk thai. Riggins talk thai real good.
What appears to be happening: An ESL misunderstanding occurs and shots are fired. Mr. White is shot but Riggins saves him through a flawless horse-to-horse transfer. They ride to a cave, the Indians follow.
What appears to be happening: Trapped, Riggins and Cranston stand off with the approaching Native Americans. Suddenly, the Native Americans remember those errands they had to run. Riggins goes to see what they saw, looks up, and wham-o! Cut to John Carter title card is the new cut to black, this is the evolution of cinema. No more cutting to black, only cutting to the John Carter title card.
Consensus: Who is coming to see John Carter with me on Thursday at Midnight in IMAX?