This movie is out on Blueray and DVD but I saw the original in the theatre.
John Carter is based upon the book A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs the creator of Tarzan. This book was Burrough’s first attempt to write a novel, it was published in 1911 first as a serial and later as complete novel,it was immediately popular with audiences.
John Carter tells the story of a former Confederate veteran who by unknown means is transported to Mars or as the natives call it Barsoom. Barsoom is a dying planet the once abundant seas have dried up leaving vast tracts of desert and civilization has come to an end on Barsoom savage bands of Tharks green six limbed giants roam the land fighting each other and the other races of Barsoom.
Into this comes John Carter because of the lesser gravity on Barsoom Carter finds that he has extraordinary strength and the ability to leap high into the air. (Jerry Siegel the creator of Superman said he based his character’s original ability to leap high and his strength upon the character of John Carter.) Carter’s strength and martial prowess makes him into one of the leaders of the Tharks despite his strange appearance. Burrough’s different races on Mars had very distinct appearances. John Carter with his white skin and black hair caused his Martian friends much puzzlement as he appeared to be a Thern (a white Martian) but has the black hair of a red Martian.
While with the Tharks John Carter rescues Dejah Thoris a red Martian princess of the city of Helium. He falls in love with her and strives to return her to the king of Helium her father. He does so and earns the love of the princess but is translated back to earth after marrying her.
The Disney movie follows most of the plot of a princess of Mars deviating slightly but not enough to be too nit picky. The main criticism leveled at this movie, from what I read, was that it has been all done before. What most people don’t realize is that the story of John Carter is the mold from where all the other stories of the same genre was developed. If you get a chance to see this movie do so.