This was one of my husband's favorite pulp sci-fi books growing up, and he was so immensely thrilled that it was being made into a movie that he insisted that I read it before it came out. I have to admit that the book was a little too much of a bloodbath for my tastes. A civil war veteran mysteriously wakes up on Mars and finds himself living among an extremely violent group of green beings and falling in love with a red-skinned princess that, of course, needs saving. John Carter finds himself living among men who are so bloodthirsty that laughter is reserved as something indicative of violence. Thus, the misunderstandings that transpire are unique in comparison to John Carter's previous life experiences.
I was glad to see that several of the plot holes of the book had been filled in by the writers of the movie script. For example, the movie script writers find a way to explain how John Carter got from Earth to Mars. It was interesting to see some of the old codgers (like the beanie-baby-loving, mullet-sporting, hippy Santa) who showed up to see the movie after waiting for decades longer than my husband had for their childhood favorite to come to the big screen. Of course, being a Disney movie, the voluptuous, naked princess of the book found clothes to wear. And she was tanning-bed orange rather than red-skinned. However, she did have some swirly red body tattoos. The actress was as exceptionally beautiful as John Carter was handsome. Woola, the faithful dog-like creature from the book was better than I had imagined with a huge licky, blue tongue.
I have to give the book 2.5 stars simply because I'm not the type of girl who generally cares for books in which the majority of the characters are inherently blood-lusty. However, I felt that the movie was a solid 3.5 stars for filling in plot holes and managing to add interesting plot lines to a book that was mainly one blood bath after another (with a bit of story thrown in for good measure). I do think that reading the book beforehand, however, gave me a better idea of what was going on where the movie glossed over information. And the experience of the 2 together was at least entertaining.