John Carter (2012)

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.
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Want to See 10 minutes of ‘John Carter’? Of Course You Do!

Somebody over at Disney has suddenly realized how horribly the marketing department has screwed up promoting John Carter, the big-budget, epic film based on the first installment of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ seminal book series about an ex- Civil War soldier’s adventures on Mars (Barsoom).

Hoping that it’s not too late, Disney is stepping up a modified campaign, emphasizing that John Carter’s tales came first, and that Star Wars, Avatar and countless others have been ripping off ERB, not the other way around. The crown jewel of this promotional push (so far) is the release of 10 minutes from near the beginning of the actual movie itself! Enjoy…

Keep in mind that John Carter is not a Western — at least, not in the conventional sense. I am impressed by the sly way the filmmakers adapted the early Western sequences to bring the book to life. (Bryan Cranston‘s Colonel Powell was invented for the film.) This isn’t exactly how it plays out in the book, but it is true to the spirit of the novel.

John Carter stars Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) and opens March 9.

New John Carter Extended Clip

Check out this 4:27 clip of scenes from John Carter, based on Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ seminal planetary romance novel.

The first half is an extended arena sequence, featuring John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) and Tars Tarkas (voiced by Willem Dafoe) battling a couple of great white apes. But the real treasure is the second half of the video, a nice selection of scenes from the rest of the movie that make it look pretty thrilling. I am disappointed, however, that the promotions are still avoiding John Carter’s romance with Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). That relationship should be vital to bringing hordes of teenage girls into theaters. Oh, well…

John Carter is being released on March 9 in 2D, 3D and IMAX formats. Catch at least one of them.

John Carter Marketers: You’re Doing It Wrong!

Yesterday, Deadline.com’s Nikki Finke reported that early tracking numbers on John Carter are pointing toward a box-office flop of mammoth proportions. “The tracking for John Carter is shocking for a film that costs over $250 million,” Finke claims a rival studio executive wrote. “This could be the biggest writeoff of all time,” possibly as much as $100 million.

That’s bad news for those of us who have already tossed our swords at John Carter‘s feet, hoping for a film trilogy. Especially because the news gets worse: Finke further reports that studio exec claimed, “Women of all ages have flat-out rejected the film.”
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Dejah Thoris is My Cellar Door

Fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkein (Lord of the Rings) is among the literary heavyweights said to be particularly enamored of the words cellar door. The combination has often (and apocryphally) been called the most beautiful words in the English language; cited for their melodic quality and the way the musical sounds contrast with the ordinariness of the object they describe.

I happen to believe that Dejah Thoris is the most beautiful name for an SF/fantasy character ever. I remember hearing it and instantly being enamored long before I ever read the source material. Dejah Thoris is, of course, the title character in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ seminal novel A Princess of Mars, which introduced the Earth to swashbuckling hero John Carter — who would go on to become the Warlord of Mars.
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New Trailer Adds Elements to John Carter’s Story

I know clouds are not common on Barsoom, and I have praised John Carter teases before (like the TV spots and the long trailer), but my nervous disposition makes me think I now see some dark cumulonimbus on the distant horizon, thanks to the just-released Japanese trailer for the Disney adaptation. The teaser contains some scenes not yet seen in the USA, and they hint at mechanisms and motivation — but mechanisms and motivation that are not in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original texts!

SPOILER WARNING: If you want to avoid all information about the story beforehand, you should skip watching this trailer. For the rest of you, take a look:


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John Carter’s New, Barsoomian-size Trailer

I have been waiting – cautiously – for the full-length trailer for John Carter, the forthcoming Disney live-action adaptation of the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ second-greatest creation, John Carter of Mars, and it has finally been released. After watching it, I am a bit distressed to say that I am still only guardedly optimistic about the film.

If you haven’t checked out the 2-minute HD trailer, take a look now, and then we’ll have a word about it.

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John Carter: A trailer of (not) Mars

Anyone who knows me knows that one of the movies I am most looking forward to in 2012 is John Carter, an adaptation of a story written by Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) almost 100 years ago. It bothers me a little that the adaptation is not being called “John Carter of Mars,” because the moniker “John Carter” is just so… blah. The flick has been flying mostly under the radar despite being released by Disney, which has not turned its marketing department loose on the property. Well, until recently, when the studio released a couple of teaser images, and finally an actual trailer. And now I can say the short clip was worth the wait!

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Teasing John Carter (possibly of) Mars

I have a relatively new passion: the Mars novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who is most famous for creating Tarzan. Burroughs wrote 11 books in the Mars series dealing with American Civil War veteran Capt. John Carter, who finds himself mysteriously transported to the planet Mars, where he becomes embroiled in a number of armed conflicts and a sweeping romance that takes him (literally) from pole to pole of the red planet its denizens call “Barsoom.” I recently devoured the first three books in the series (A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars and The Warlord of Mars) and am now reading the fourth, Thuvia, Maid of Mars.
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