John Carter

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John Carter
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IMDb: 6.6
It’s believed that there’s no life on Mars, but people are wrong. The planet’s true name is Barsoom and has life on it, although it’s currently dying. Zodanga, the predator city, keeps destroying everything that surrounds them and draining Barsoom of energy. Only the great city of Helium is resisting and standing strong, matching Zodanga airship versus airship for a thousand years. One day, the airships are going through a vicious battle when suddenly a strange blue ray of energy destroys all the vessels except the one belonging to Sab Than, the ruler of Zodanga. Three people known as Therns, led by Shang approach Sab Than and give him a mysterious blue mesh gadget that allows him to shoot energy bolts, but when he tries to attack the Therns, he’s blown back. The Therns explain they're representatives of the Goddess, and she has chosen to support Sab Than in his war. Shang tells him to test his new powers and Sab Than immediately begins shooting energy bolts at all the enemy ships, easily winning the battle. Meanwhile on Earth in 1881, John walks the streets of New York while noticing there’s a mysterious man following him, so he tries his best to sneak around and lose him. Then he stops at a shop to send a telegram, choosing express because it’s urgent. Sometime later, Ned gets the telegram from his uncle, asking him to rush and save him. After taking the train, Ned comes to John’s house and meets with a lawyer, who explains John died unexpectedly and left everything to Ned. His body has been put inside a crypt that can only be opened from the inside. There’s also an ancient diary that John has left under strict instructions that only John can read it. After the lawyer leaves, Ned begins reading the story that starts thirteen years ago. After the Civil War in Arizona, John is a distinguished former Confederate Army captain searching for gold, although he hasn’t found much yet. The local bartender has already cut him off for not paying his debt, and the tavern’s patrons try to kick him out, but John immediately fights them and knocks them out before pointing his gun at the bartender. At that moment a bunch of soldiers come to arrest him, and John tries to resist, only to be knocked out and later woken up for an interrogation. After waking up in front of Colonel Powell, John keeps trying to start a fight, and he doesn’t stop until he’s thrown in a cell. Powell wants John to join them to battle the Apaches, but John has had enough and doesn’t want to fight anymore. Powell answers by knocking him out again, and John spends a few hours dreaming of his dead family. When he wakes up, John pees in the cell to get the attention of the guard, knocking him out when he comes closer and stealing his keys, then John scapes on Powell’s horse. Soon the cavalry is going after him, only to find him speaking to a mounted Apache war band. Both parties are armed and suspicious, and a shootout in different languages ensues, triggering a fight. John uses the opportunity to flee, but Powell gets wounded and John decides to help him. The duo flees into the canyon and discovers a little cave, and the Apaches that were chasing them come to a stop when they see a symbol on a rock above said cave, then they run away. Curious, John comes to look at the symbol and discovers the spider emblem that he’s been seeing during his search for gold. Leaving Powell behind, John ventures deeper to explore and discovers a room with weird symbols and gold-lined walls. Suddenly a Thern appears behind him and attacks him, but after exchanging a few hits, John shoots him and notices the man has a glowing pendant in his hand. The man dies whispering some words, and John repeats them as he grabs the pendant, causing him to suddenly teleport out of the cave. Now John finds himself in the middle of a strange desert. He tries to stand up but walking is extremely hard, and it takes him a few tries. It’s shocking to see how his walking is almost floating, and after throwing the pendant away in frustration, John begins moving properly, discovering that his jumps now cover great distances. He doesn’t know it but he’s on Mars, and the lower gravity allows him to do these things. Afterward, John reaches the top of a hill and discovers a clutch of eggs developing green six-limbed newborns. At that moment, a swarm of Tharks approaches riding giant creatures and equipped with weapons. The leader Tarkas finds the pendant and attacks John as the others open fire, but John escapes with one big jump. Impressed by such skills, Tarkas orders the shooting to stop and approaches John again, this time showing he comes in peace. They try to communicate, but the language barrier makes Tarkas think John’s name is Virginia, his hometown. Tarkas wants to see the jump again, but John responds by trying to steal Tarkas’ weapons. However the Tharks quickly counterattack and capture him, taking him away to their tribe together with the babies. Meanwhile in Helium, Princess Dejah is preparing a speech about her latest invention. She’s suddenly interrupted by her father King Tardos and his council, who are discussing Zodanga’s latest attacks made with some new glowing weapon. Dejah cuts in and explains she’s made a gadget that can harvest that blue light, which she calls Ninth Ray. She tries to demonstrate how it works, a council member touches it and secretly gives it a zap to break, making it look like Dejah failed. Tardos sends his council away and informs Dejah that the only way to stop the war is to marry Sab Than, which greatly upsets her. The king ignores her pleas and orders his people to start organizing the wedding while outside, the council member that broke the machine shows his real face: it’s Thern, who is spying by using his shapeshifting powers. Back to John, he watches the Tharks in the city with fascination, especially when they start fighting over the babies. Tarkas orders them to let a girl called Sola have a hatchling for herself while Hajus tries to kill John, but Tarkas immediately pushes him away because he has nobody’s support. Then Tarkas asks John to jump, but John still refuses to cooperate and is sent to a cave with the hatchlings, where he’s chained up. Sola visits him and shares a special drink that makes John understand her language before passing out. John wakes up again in the middle of the night and is terrified to see Woola, a dog-like alien that quickly befriends him. Then John struggles with the chains and manages to get away, but Woola follows him. No matter how far John goes, Woola instantly reappears by his side in seconds. Desperate to find the pendant, John follows some noises and finds a Thark party that Woola interrupts. The Tharks begin hitting it, so John jumps into the fray to stop them, accidentally killing a Thark and proving his jump skill. The Tharks immediately knock him down and when John shows an understanding of their language, everyone realizes Sola has been meddling. In the morning, John is chained to a rock and has to watch how Sola gets branded for her mistake yet again and Tarkas announces next time she’ll be killed because her skin doesn’t have space for any more marks. This makes John think of his relationship with his own family. Suddenly the Tharks notice battleships fighting in the sky and they run for cover so they can watch the battle safely. In the sky, Sab Than uses his powers to attack the enemy ship and board it, but Dejah disguises herself as a soldier and tries to steer the ship away. Unfortunately the ship is hit and loses control, causing Dejah to almost fall and hang on the edge. John sees her and believing her to be human, he uses a long jump to save her. As the ships land, John tells Dejah to let him fight, but she reveals to be a warrior too and together they fight in sync against soldiers from both armies. John jumps on one of the ships and uses the cannon to shoot at other vessels, making them crash. Next Sab Than comes after John and they engage in a furious fight that Sab Than quickly wins. When he’s about to kill John, the Tharks begin shooting at the ships, allowing John to jump away while the last few ships escape. Afterward the Tharks accept John as a warrior of their own and grant John his “dotar sojat”, or “right arms”, which makes Hajus furious. John wants to turn it down because he doesn’t want to fight, but Tarkas threatens Dejah and John is forced to accept the honor. Next the Tharks go raid the fallen ships while Dejah shows curiosity for John’s skill. She wants him to teach it to her people, but he reminds her he isn’t for hire. When Dejah suddenly mentions the lack of seas on this planet, she and John exchange their knowledge and John finally realizes he’s on Mars. Dejah isn’t sure she believes him, and John explains he was brought here by the pendant, making Dejah think he may be a Thern. Looking for answers, Dejah brings John to the Temple of the Goddess, ignoring Sola’s warning that it’s forbidden to enter. Dejah analyzes some symbols that talk of a gate and promises to take John there so he can return to Earth as payment for him saving her. Unfortunately they’re interrupted by Tarkas and his men, who arrest them for breaking the rules. Tarkas is furious with John for getting Sola in trouble because she’ll die, and John finally realizes Sola is Tarkas’ daughter. Tarkas hits him for it and explains the Tharks have no concept of personal children before taking the trio to his tent, pretending he’ll punish them. However Tarkas gives the pendant back and asks them to run away. By the time Hajus gets suspicious and enters the tent, the trio is gone and Tarkas is accused of betrayal. The group begins riding through Mars with Woola following them, and John is shocked to see how much damage Sab Than has caused. They have to cross furious sandstorms and hide from the warships, but a few days later, Sola realizes Dejah isn’t leading them to the gate. When confronted, Dejah reveals she’s taking them to Helium so they can help her people, angering John and making him decide to leave her behind. Begging and pleading, Dejah falls to her knees and explains she’s a princess that doesn’t want to lose her freedom to the enemy; she also admits the gate doesn’t exist. John takes her back, but he still believes the cave that brought him here is real. Meanwhile Shang receives news about Dejah’s location and organizes a plan to go after her. Moments later the trio makes it to a pilgrimage river where individuals who have sinned end things in the water to make it to paradise. Sola wants to join them, but John immediately stops her, saying that to honor her father she must follow his duty and help him. The trio takes a boat down the river, leaving Woola behind, and eventually they discover a weird structure that Dejah has never seen before. John takes her to the top of it with a jump and the pendant begins glowing, activating the whole structure and confirming these are machines. A hole opens and the duo makes it inside, where Dejah uses the pendant to activate a diagram of the Solar System. The blue light is the Ninth Ray she’s been studying and is shaped that the spider John saw in the cave. It turns out John’s presence here is the result of a replica of himself being transmitted from Earth to Mars. Dejah realizes Sab Than is getting help from the Therns and finally believes John’s from Earth. To keep studying this, she has to take John back to Helium, and to convince him she kisses him, making John think of his dead wife. At that moment, an army of Tharks arrives with Shang pretending to be one of them. John immediately grabs Dejah and they jump back on the boat in order to sail away and reunite with Woola. The Tharks immediately begin chasing them and John begins thinking about the time he returned home to find his house destroyed and his family dead. Not wanting to lose more people, John tells the girl to run away while he stays behind to fight with Woola’s help. A furious battle ensues and fed by the tragedy of his family, John actually manages to take the upper hand, defeating warriors all over the place. However at that moment a Helium ship arrives and puts an end to the battle. Tardos reunites with his daughter and reveals he’s with Sab Than, who is pretending to have come in peace and is only worried about the princess. To prove it, he gives his sword to Dejah, who almost kills him but in the end accepts the marriage for the sake of her people. While the ship takes everyone away including John, it’s revealed Woola and Sola had been hiding under dirt. Hours later, John wakes up inside a fancy room full of Zodangan guards. He’s suddenly visited by one of Dejah’s soldiers, who asks him to pretend to take him hostage. John plays along and after beating up a few guards, they make it outside, where the guard tells him to jump into a specific tower. They make it to Dejah’s room and once the couple is left alone, Dejah asks John to fight for her people. John says no, so Dejah gives him back the pendant and teaches him the words to use it. John begins repeating the words but suddenly, the guards enter the room. When Dejah turns around, John’s gone, so she leaves assuming he went home. However John is hiding in the ceiling and when he takes a corridor to escape, he’s stopped by Shang in disguise. Shang takes John away in a carriage and reveals to know a lot about Earth before he takes a new disguise so they can go watch the wedding procession. It’s revealed that Dejah will die after the wedding is over, then Shang explains Therns are ancient immortal creatures that exist on many planets including Earth, and they always control the course of history. Shang takes John to a hangar intending to fly him away, but at that moment Woola shows up and bites Shang, freeing John. After stealing back the pendant, John steals a light-flyer and begins piloting it rather clumsily, almost crashing multiple times. There’s a guard chasing after him, but when he leaves the city, Sola shoots the pursuer down and John lands by crashing on the sand. John can’t save Dejah alone, so he must fly back to the Tharks for help. Sola says her people don’t fly, but John forces her to come back with him. When they arrive at the village, they’re immediately arrested because Hajus is in charge now. When they’re thrown in a cell, they discover Tarkas has been locked up as well. Tarkas is furious to hear Sola come back, but he doesn’t have the strength to kill John because he lost a coliseum battle. Moments later, John and Tarkas are thrown into the coliseum and forced to battle two giant white apes. Sola can’t stand watching a massacre and jumps in as well, running to her father’s side. John can’t jump away because he’s chained, but after dodging various hits from the apes, he manages to free the chain and uses the rock at the end to kill one of the beasts. Then he picks a sword from the ground and when the second ape jumps on him, John immediately kills it, earning the crowd’s respect. Afterward John challenges Hajus, who tries to say no but the crowd reminds him of the rules. Hajus makes a jump to attack, but John swiftly cuts his head off. Everyone celebrates his victory, and when he offers a speech needing warriors to save the planet, the crowd is eager to follow him into battle. While the wedding ceremony begins, John guides the Tharks to Zodanga, only to find the city empty because the wedding is actually happening in Helium. Tarkas slaps John for his mistake, pointing out they can’t make it on time and that his people don’t fly. Disappointed, John leaves alone on a light-flyer. Moments later, John safely enters Helium thanks to the light-flyer making him look like a local. Just as Dejah is about to become Sab Than's wife, John bursts through the window and stops the wedding. Sab Than immediately sends a signal to call his army and escapes dragging Dejah with him. A fierce battle starts between Zodagans and Heliumites on the streets and inside the temple while Dejah hits Sab Than to make him drop her, so she gets saved by John. Then the couple joins the battle, and John goes hand-to-hand against Sab Than. It seems the bad guy is about to win their fight, but suddenly a ship crashes into the temple, revealing the Tharks have finally accepted to fly. With the Tharks and the Heliumites working together, they can finally overpower the Zodagans while John jumps on Sab Than, getting his arm and demanding information. However the blue light goes back to Sab’s body and kills him before he can talk, the light also begins affecting John. Nearby, Shang is controlling the light while disguised as a Thark, but he’s interrupted by Dejah’s sword. Shang transforms into Dejah to distract her and when Johna approaches them, the real Dejah uses the distraction to push Shang away, who takes the chance to escape through the window. Tarkas finds the pendant on the ground and when he picks it up, John tries to ask for it, but at that moment the real John shows up and he and Tarkas attacked the transformed Shang, who immediately disappears. The battle comes to an end and everyone celebrates the newly found peace. Seeing as things are ready for a wedding anyway, John takes off his old wedding ring and asks Dejah to marry him. Dejah accepts and the crowd celebrates with a party. After the wedding night, John goes to the balcony to have some fresh air and throws the pendant away, accepting he’s John from Mars now. He suddenly comes across a guard that turns out to be Shang, who immediately touches John and sends him back to Earth. John wakes up in the cave and many years have passed, Powell is already dead. He tries using the words on the spider on the rock, but they don’t work. Back in the present, Ned finishes reading the story. For years John had been looking for a new pendant that could take him back to Mars and after lots of work, he founds something in Orkneys, but he knew the Therns were still following him in disguise. That’s when he decides to make a plan: he pretended to be sick and using a special poison, he made his body look like it was dead so it would be taken to the crypt, leaving special instructions for only Ned to know the truth. Shocked and worried, Ned rushes to the crypt and uses the keywords on the telegram to open it again, only to find it empty. At that moment a Thern appears behind him, but before he can attack, he’s killed with a shot. Then John comes out of hiding and explains he had been using Ned as bait to catch the Thern, but the rest of the plan is the same: he takes a pendant from the Thern and asks Ned to protect his body before he enters the crypt, sealing it for good. Then John says the words to finally return to Mars.
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