#301 – Review: John Carter


I’ve been looking forward to John Carter as long I’ve known it was in production. I’ve never read any of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels but I have perused some of the comics. In the story, John Carter, a former confederate soldier, is transported to Mars where his augmented strength and agility put him at the center of numerous Martian conflicts. I enjoyed the movie and hope there are sequels to see the further adventures of John Carter.

Below are some reflections I had while watching the movie. I’ll attempt to keep things spoiler-free but I was upset that Marvin the Martian didn’t make a cameo.


A lot of John Carter’s personal journey involves finding his purpose and place in this world, actually his place in another world. His purpose involved going to another planet and participating in different Martian wars. Unfortunately finding our purpose won’t be nearly as exciting, but it can be far more impactful. This past weekend I was at winter camp with our high school and junior high students. Our theme verse was 1 Peter 2:9, which says that our purpose as God’s chosen people is to declare his praises. We’ll never be transported to Mars but declaring God’s praises is something we can do on a daily basis.


Different races and clans inhabit the world to which John Carter is transported. They are all in conflict with each other because of deep-seeded issues and prejudices. Unfortunately for all involved, resolving that conflict involves violence and fighting. For the personal conflicts we experience on a daily basis, waging large-scale, CGI warfare really isn’t the best resolution. Instead, we should be willing to admit how we’re at fault in our personal conflicts and approach the other party with humility and meekness. That attitude will help cultivate a conversation that could lead to the conflict’s resolution.


I don’t know what the fascination is with Mars and Martians. Venus is our neighbor as well but nobody writes stories about humans visiting Venus or Venusians coming to earth. I’ve always been scared of aliens and getting abducted. After I saw Signs at the age of 20, I stared out my window every night before going to bed, expecting to see an alien on my neighbor’s roof. I don’t think the aliens from John Carter will give me any nightmares. I was interested in their belief system, though, and the goddess that they worshipped as a deity. If life is found on other planets, I’ll be happy to see how God’s story of redemption is told in their culture.

John Carter was entertaining and I’d be more than happy to see more of his adventures on the silver screen. The movie was filled with great science fiction action and enough of a story to spur some thoughts and reflection.

What did you think about John Carter?


2 comments on “#301 – Review: John Carter”

  1. Solid, fun flick. It’s amazing to see how many other movies and stories out there owe so much to this early work. The lead actors nailed their respective roles, and would make a great anchor to a franchise. Because the original work, Princess of Mars is now out of copyright, I’ll be reading it as soon as possible, for free!

  2. I thought “John Carter” was an amazingly fun movie, and visually quite stunning. I am dismayed it’s getting such a bad rap “on the street.” If people would give it half a chance, they’d likely really enjoy it.

    I liked the theological connections you made to the movie. Nice post, as always!

    And long live Barsoom!

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