John Carter (of Mars)

Mama Fisi's picture

I first read the "John Carter of Mars" series in high school, and recently re-read several of the books. The series is irregular in quality, but highly imaginative with magnificent literary visuals.

So I could never quite figure out why the books hadn't been turned into movies. I guess either the Burroughs estate forbade it, or the caliber of special effects just weren't up to the challenge. And maybe the suggestion that the Barsoomians went around nearly naked might have put off a lot of people.

As I recall, there was a borderline-softcore-porn adaptation of "A Princess of Mars" put out a few years ago, which The Husband said was only watchable in fast-forward.

So now I'm pretty enthusiastic about the new "John Carter" film that's coming out. The review I read this morning was poorly constructed, but the writer seemed to genuinely like the movie. This is the very sort of story CGI was created to serve, because Burroughs put in so many fantastical elements that actors on wires or in rubber suits just couldn't pull off convincingly.

I'm hoping to con The Husband into going to see this one on the Big Screen. Science fiction epics just lose something when viewed on a TV set.


It looks good to me

Mama Fisi's picture


I just viewed the trailer, which is taken entirely from the prologue section, set in the Arizona Territory in 1868. They added a conflict between Carter and the US Cavalry, but it also lays the groundwork for the later, similar situation Carter encounters on Mars.

Because it's Disney, I don't expect it to get too violent or gross.

The "look" of the film is quite nice, even on a tiny computer screen. I'm hoping the actor portraying Carter will get over the gravelly snarl, which can get tiresome; but in the trailer he was being set upon by everybody so the moody rumble kind of fits.

Ooh, there's more trailers...yeah, this looks like it could be cool. :)

But "from the director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E?" You, ahm, really want to tie those all together?

(Full disclosure: I liked both those other films.)

There's also subtle humor in the script, and I mean, subtle. So forget what the critics say--they're just out to criticize, anyway--go see it for yourself then make your decision. That's what I'm going to do!

Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.
Magpie House Comics

Time will tell

Mama Fisi's picture


Is it actually *possible* to have spoilers on a book that's been around since 1917? ;)

To expand on R3's book review--the series is irregular in quality. Some of the stories are really good, some are like bad fan fiction. And since they were written during the Edwardian Era, they're a bit more on the fantastical side, rather than the scientific side, yet they don't really read as being hokey. Burroughs may not really explain a lot of how Barsoom "works," and he uses the "new" radiation science extensively to power his devices, but these tales can stand the test of time. Most of them. The ones that star Not John Carter, But A Guy Who's Just Like Him are not as good as the ones featuring the Warlord of Mars.

Just hang your skepticism at the door and take a seat at the barsoom. Entertainment will follow.

Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.
Magpie House Comics

Six Thumbs Up!

Mama Fisi's picture


The Husband and I went to the matinee of "John Carter" today.


It's easily the best movie I've seen in years, if not decades. If you haven't read the books, you may get a little lost by the breathless pace of the action, but it looks gorgeous, the special effects are fabulous, the character designs are exactly as I'd imagined they'd look, and where the movie diverges (slightly) from the origial, it only serves to enhance the plot.

There's humor, pathos, action, and excitement packed solidly into nearly every moment of this film. Even the bits where the pedantic nitpicker in you wants to say "Wait a minute--Mars' moons aren't round, they're--" the wide-eyed adventure loving little kid in you will beat the crap out of the nitpicker and say "Shut up! I don't care, this is FANTASTIC!!"

Maybe some of the wire-fu looks hokey; wire-fu ALWAYS looks hokey, but at least here there's an excuse for it.

And it's also rare whem a movie moves me to tears; this one did, several times.

If I didn't have chores back home waiting for me, I'd've sat through it a second time. This is really one of the best adventure films I've ever seen!

Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.
Magpie House Comics

"It's expected to lose Disney


"It's expected to lose Disney ~$200 million, "

I just don't understand that a'tall.

It's not great cinema, but it's a darn good movie.

It's got ... a heroic man who gets the girl, a space princess who can hold her own, flying battle cruisers, four-armed lizard barbarians, dueling city-states.

The hero even gets a (Barsoomian) dog for a best pal.

Now they'll never make another.

What's Next? The Teacups?

Mama Fisi's picture


And meanwhile Disney will be going ahead with a movie based on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which is an amusement park ride based on Kenneth Graeme's "Wind in the Willows."

Because turning a theme park ride into a movie worked so well for "Pirates of the Caribbean."

Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.
Magpie House Comics

I don't pretend to understand it.

Republibot 3.0's picture


I don't get that: The movie cost about $250 million to make, which means they intended to make half a billion on it, with an obvious eye towards a long-term franchise. If your receipts aren't double your production costs, you're losing money. Anything over double is profit. Initially it was a Pixar film, but it got moved off their slate, allegedly because of their fear of 'brand confusion' but possibly because they just felt it was gonna' bomb.

So if they thought it was gonna' bomb, why not ankle the production? It happens all the time.

And if they didn't think it was gonna' bomb, why didn't they promote it better? The failure here, I think, was promotion. Just putting "Of Mars" in the title gets interest, but they deliberately left it out. There weren't a lot of commercials, and most of them gave no sense of what the movie was about. I mean, if cheezy Adam Sandler movies and random sitcoms get billboard adds around the country, why didn't a quarter-billion dollar investment rate more than a cursory advertising campaign?

You could have put out "Star Wars VII: This One Doesn't Suck" and it would have bombed with a promotional campaign as bad as the one for J.C.

The Artist Formerly Known As Republibot 3.0

Studio Executives

SheldonCooper's picture


Studio executives, whether in film or television, are retarded. None of them deserve to be where they are, because they don't understand the product they're selling. There are precious few exceptions to this rule, two obvious ones being Michael Eisner and Brandon Tartikoff.

As an example, I cite Mork & Mindy. It was a fabulous hit. Gerry Marshall made all the right moves, and the first season blew up. Then, in an effort to fix what was not only not broken, but functioning at peak efficiency, the network came in and demanded many changes that Gerry Marshall thought, rightly so, were absurd. They wanted characters fired, new characters brought in, and most aggresiously, they wanted to move it opposite Archie Bunker. All big mistakes, and the rating dropped into the basement for season 2. They tried to put everything back the way it was, but Mork couldn't recover. A successful series sabotaged by executives meddling where they don't belong. These people are idiots.

One lab accident away from being a supervillain! Bazinga!