This is a cruel headline at the Gray Lady.
I haven’t seen the movie (we were actually thinking about seeing it this weekend, but a combination of Patricia being under the weather and sticker shock at the prices for the 3D/Imax kept us away for now. But nowhere in the article does it really say, or at least support the notion, that it’s a bad movie (a Ishtar undeniably was, in addition to being a box-office flop) — it’s a business failure in that they spent too much in making it. The criticism that it “…was a bewildering mash-up, starting during the Civil War and moving to the Old West before leaping to a planet called Barsoom (Mars), home to tusked, four-armed creatures called Tharks,” sounds just like the book to me, which is an SF classic and the inspiration for much of the great SF in the twentieth century (including Star Wars, to the degree that it’s more than space opera). It seems as though perhaps the critics aren’t capable of handling complex story lines. Certainly, John Miller thinks differently.
Anyway, I hope that it does make its money back — I’d like to see it have sequels.
[Late Sunday evening update]
Bruce Webster has a more extensive, mixed review.