I've said it many times...I didn't hate the movie. I though it was fun and the special effects were great even though Disney opted to change and add things to the plot. I read the books when I was about 12 and loved them so I'm partial to that old sci fi style of writing. You have to remember that these books came out a hundred years ago - think about how times, values, events have changed and shaped our lives and culture since then - if you try to put some of these concepts around at that time which obviously influenced the writing in the books into a modern movie a lot of people won't be able to relate so I understand why Disney changed stuff. Yes we all know that Mars is uninhabited yada yada yada but suspension of disbelieve is called for here and nowhere does it say that this Mars couldn't be in a parallel universe. At the same time taking a fundamentally simple hero saves heroine story....it's the stuff fairy tales are made of with the prince riding in to save the princess...adding more a complicated storyline wasn't necessary imho. So yes I was disappointed because I loved the characters with their struggles and triumphs and I wanted to see some of those translated to the screen. There were only 2 parts to the movie I really had major issues with and that was making John Carter married with a child both of whom died in the American Civil War and the fact that they cut out the Martian character Sola almost entirely and giving her origins tale to Tars to tell instead. I felt these two particular changes took away from the story. John has that love at first sight moment with Dejah after he arrives on Mars in the books but it's lost in the movie as he's pining for a dead wife and child and doesn't immediately fall for Dejah. It detracts from the whole I have to save her no matter what urgency that was so endearing in the novels . Also John comes to understand more about the Martian species and their culture though Sola and her experiences which allows him to rise to prominence with the aliens. She is also is a big help in John and Dejah's escape across the dunes of Mars. Cutting Sola role in the movie leaves a big hole in the story.
Was the fact that there were no Therns controlling everything (they replaced the scientists and the atmospheric generating machine) nor a magical device (it was a 'force' in a cave) that transported John to Mars in the books yet added in the movie a deterrent from the enjoyment of the story - no not really at least not for me. Was the excitement of seeing alien creatures, flying ships, floating cities once only imagined from the pages about to come to life on screen an added factor to my liking of the film...definitely. Was the actor worthy of the hero of John Carter? I think Taylor Kitsch did an admirable job and created an entirely believable John Carter especially as civil war hero and then as displaced hero on Mars trying to figure out wtf was happening to him. Was it Taylor's fault that the screen writer, who adapted the Edgar Rice Burroughs story, wrote some extremely lousy cheesy lines that weren't in the book...no....but did Taylor try to make the best of those lines and say them true as possible for his character...yes. Was the fact that they dropped the "of Mars" in the title that big a deal...I'm on the fence about it to be honest. Was I pissed that they never once mentioned it was by Edgar Rice Burroughs....oh yes that really annoyed me. Give writers their due please!
Maybe the movie wasn't the perfect adaptation but really when does anything taken from a book ever translate perfectly to screen? As we read any story we colour the words written with our own ideas, thoughts and experiences making it as individual an journey with the characters and story as it gets. No two readers will ever see a character or a place or a object the EXACT same way....some may be similar and some may be very different in how they perceive as what something should look or be like. So then how can everyone see John Carter as it should be this way or that as an absolute? This is a directors and a huge corporation's version of the story and some of our own 'ideas' must be left at the door and having an open mind when watching in the theatre is crucial. It will never be as YOU see it but at least it can be enjoyed for an overall adventure you had the chance and privilege to participate in!
Watch the move, enjoy it for the sci fi adventure it is and read the books if you are so inclined and don't sweat the small stuff.
(This means you Eoin Macken lol)