There is also the scifi fantasy epic - Avatar is the one that comes to mind. I would place John Carter in this bracket.
You've been seeing trailers and previews for John Carter for the last year. What you may not realize is that John Carter the character was originally created in 1911 by Edgar Rice Burroughs - before he created Tarzan. He featured in many novels by Burroughs, and was then translated to various magazine serials, comics, and eventually graphic novels. If you're curious, here's the Wikipedia link to answer all your John Carter questions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Carter_(character).
The new movie sticks very close to the original Burroughs storyline. John Carter is a confederate soldier fed up with fighting who stumbles across a cave full of gold, and a passage to Mars. On Mars, he finds himself at odds with the different gravity there, which, once he masters it, makes him seem stronger and able to travel the way the Hulk does (big, long bounces). He runs into a tribe of primitive Martians who ask him to help them fight other tribes, then he runs into two warring factions of red-hued humanoids - who again ask him to fight. He falls for a princess on the run from a forced marriage and finally finds a cause worth fighting for.
Here's the thing - when you have low expectations of a movie - you can be pleasantly surprised. When you have no expectations, or expect to be unhappy with a movie - your mind can be blown. I loved this movie. Surprised? Because every review you've read has said it was terrible? Here's the thing about movie critics - I find that I generally disagree with them and find them very snooty; they never seem to be willing to simply be entertained. Guess what: this movie is entertaining as hell. Big, sweeping, tons of great effects, decent performances, and my favorite thing about good big budget pieces: you can see every cent of the budget on the screen. It's the perfect kick-off movie for the summer popcorn-flick blockbuster season. Equal parts Utah desert and CGI make for beautiful martian landscapes. The movie also manages a consistent tone - tough in a movie like this. There's the funny fish-out-of-water beats, the fast actiony battle sequences, and the believable love story. The cast is very good as well.
Taylor Kitsch of Friday Night Lights fame (I've been told repeatedly it's a good show) plays Carter in an acceptable stiff style. It's been criticized as wooden, but I think it fits the character. Kitsch is posed to have a big year between this and Battleship. Maybe that would bring his Gambit from X-Men Orgins: Wolverine to the forefront of his own movie. Come on, it would be awesome...set in Lousiana swampland in a war between the Assassins and Thieves Guilds. Lynn Collins, who coincidentally played SilverFox in the Wolverine movie, does a really impressive job in this as the princess. Collins is a martial artist (check out her abs in this flick) and wife to Stephen Strait who starred in the epically terrible 10,000BC. She is also a Houston native who does an impressive british accent in this - perhaps because all the other actors playing Martians are UK folks. Ciaran Hinds (most recently from Ghost Rider 2) plays her father, James Purefoy his second, Dominic West the forced husband-to-be. Again, coincidentally - Hinds and Purefoy were both in the TV show Rome (rent it!). Hinds was Julius Ceasar and Purefoy was Mark Antony. Mark Strong plays the bad manipulative alien. Thomas Hayden Church plays the tough-guy Martian who is looking to take over the tribe from Willem DaFoe's lead Martian. Interestingly enough - DaFoe did his motion capture on stilts to bring him up to the 9 feet that his character would end up being. How's that for method?
To make a long review short (too late!) I loved it. I really did, and I was so surprised that I did. Go see it - enjoy it - use it as an absolute escape - get the big popcorn.
9 out of 10.
Here's your bonus video - Gambit :)