Life on Mars ...but Not as We Know It; Disney Is Back on the Big Screen with an Adaptation of the Princess of Mars. but Graham Young Isn't Convinced by the New Version

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John Carter 3D (12A, 132 mins) REMEMBER the universal derision that George Lucas endured after he introduced Jar Jar Binks to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace back in 1999? And then had to suffer again following last month's artless 3D re-release? Well, Disney has now fallen into the same trap with this 132-minute bloated adaptation of The Princess of Mars.

In 1914, it would have been an impressively futuristic debut novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), who created Tarzan.

But the executives who hired Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton clearly didn't realise how science has covered Burroughs' fantasy elements in so much red dust.

Stanton is just about the favourite "son" of Disney/Pixar boss John Lasseter - for whom he'd made the Pixar animations A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo and WALL-E.

But as for there being life like this on Mars, well they didn't have a clue judging by the sheer number of Binks-style deadbeats.

In terrible 3D, these bug-eyed, flat nosed, long-faced, three-toed, four-armed, six-limbed fellas suck so much of the life out of the movie that star Taylor Kitsch had so little chance of saving the picture he probably wished he was still making Snakes On A Plane (2006).

Even a strong cast comprising Samantha Morton (Sola), Willem Dafoe (Tars Tarkas), Thomas Haden Church (Tal Hajus), Mark Strong (Matai Shang), Ciar[sz]n Hinds (Tardos Mors), Dominic West (Sab Than) and James Purefoy (Kantos Kan) can't help him.

After a welcome but all-too-brief bit of cowboy action in Monument Valley, civil war vet Carter finds himself lost but alive on Mars - even though we all now know that rockets won't be invented for another century.

Against all further modern logic, we're expected to believe Mars is awash with 12ft tall barbarians.

Once Carter escapes their clutches, he finds a princess called Dejah Thoris (played by a relatively anonymous Lynn Collins) in distress. …