I never felt tempted in the least to see the movie John Carter in the movie theater, though my brother told me recently that the main character, John Carter, was a Confederate officer. I figured that if Disney was making a movie with a Confederate character, then they would have to at least make him repentant and play up the evils of the South. However, I decided to check it out and rented it from a redbox.
While the movie will probably not go down as an instant classic, I was at the very least impressed with the representation of not only Southerners, but how they portrayed Yankees. I have never read the book, which was written in 1912, and was titled “The Princess of Mars,” so I can only tell you how the movie portrays things. It was an early science fiction piece written by the same author who gave us Tarzan. It defiantly has a lot of the feel of a late 19th century or early 20th century science fiction piece.
The plot in the most simplistic terms is about John Carter’s attempts to get back home to earth after being transported to Mars by an alien device. On Mars he finds himself once again in the middle of a Civil War, which he ends up drawn into after falling in love with the princess of the side being invaded.
Of interest, John Carter is not portrayed as being repentant of being a Confederate.
Yankee soldiers are portrayed as murderers who killed Captain Carter’s family. Though Yankees are not shown doing the deed, it’s implied.
Yankee soldiers are portrayed as brutal idiots, though their only real on screen depiction takes place after the war when the 7th Cavalry (Custer’s) are harassing Carter in Arizona.
A bad guy character identifies Carter as a Southerner because he is possessed of manners enough to address another man as “sir.”
The fact that he is a Virginian and a cavalry officer is promoted through the entire movie.
Overall, I’m astounded that this somehow all got by the PC police, especially since this was done by Disney. Again, this is not going to be an instant classic, but I have to provide some praise for a movie in this day and age that actively promotes a Southerner as the hero.
Note: Watch the trailer below: