I'm very impressed. As a person without intimate fore-knowlegde of the stories I have to say the film was really a lot of fun. The people with me were in a similar position, also lacking a frame of reference for what it was drawn from, and they too found the movie engrossing and fun. Every one of us would love to see a sequel or related film. Sadly thanks to the marketing team completely failing their reaction roll, nobody has a clue about just how well done this movie is and that explains the lack of crowds in the theaters.
Of note, I am duely blown away with the quality of 3D used in this film. The only part that I found jarring was the scene with the chase on horseback. It was almost enough make me dizzy since the perspective of the camera seemed to be bumping along on its own unsteady horse.
Getting back to the one blogger that panned the film. If I recall that person's complaints they had to do with the film maker not sticking to exactly what was in the books. I do not feel I missed out on anything in this film and do not feel that it hurts the original work in any way (have not read them yet, but definitely will). It did just enough to exlain the premise of the story as it went, and gave us the action that a lot of film goers want from a movie these days.
This movie has a chance to bring new sets of eyes to the Barsoom stories. The group attending with me consisted of thee adults in our upper forties, and three kids ages 12 through 16, none us having read the books with a slight exception, one of the adults read an brief excerpt over a decade ago. We left the theater with a feeling of time well spent.