Disney’s John Carter movie is a lot of things — a ripping action yarn, for one — but it is not a true adaptation of “A Princess of Mars,” nor is it the $350 million flop that many (including, shockingly, Disney itself) are accusing it of being. Call it an adaptation in spirit.
Based on the story “A Princess Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan), the movie is the first foray into live action by director Andrew Stanton, the Oscar-winning mind behind Pixar’s Finding Nemo and WALL-E animated masterpieces. But the movie mostly just uses the characters from the tale serialized in All-Story pulp magazine from February to July 1912. The film’s plot is an original concoction by Stanton and two others, including Pulitzer winner Michael Chabon.