Yesterday I was out running some errands and happened to notice that the second-run theater had John Carter of Mars playing. On Tuesdays they only charge $1.25 to see a movie, so I popped in to see it. I have been a casual fan of Burroughs for decades, but I haven't explored Mars in quite a while. I was always a lot more partial to the Tarzan books and The Land That Time Forgot.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I have to say that I enjoyed the film. There were plenty of things that differed from the books, but most of them were not jarring enough for anyone but a diehard fan to object about.
The one that stuck out, though, is the inclusion of Carter's family and their tragic end. Obviously it was used as a cheat for making him sympathetic to the characters on Mars, but it wasn't really necessary. It was a cheap hack to give some justification for what any intelligent viewer would see as simple human empathy. It also gave him a reason for being disgruntled and jaded, which is a definite change from the original character. He comes around by the end of the movie, but it was jarring to begin with.
That quibble aside, it was a fun film with a lot of eye candy and great effects. I don't see myself rushing out to buy the DVD or anything, but I wouldn't flip the channel if it was on TV.