Battleship (2012)

It’s easy to imagine the pitch that sold Battleship: “It’s the Transformers – at sea!” Clearly, Universal was blinded by the dollar signs in its eyes when this flick was greenlighted, because Battleship sinks under the weight of its own pyrotechnics.

Set in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii, Battleship follows an alien invasion launched in response to a peaceful signal sent into deep space from Earth. (Damn those scientists!) An alien battle “fleet” of five ships lands (mostly) in the Pacific and sets up an impenetrable dome around Hawaii. Luckily, two U.S. Navy vessels and a Japanese ship are trapped within the exclusion zone, giving Earth a chance to fight back. Unluckily, our ships are massively outgunned by the aliens. The fate of the entire world is left in the hands of a few sailors led by Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), inveterate screw-up who is in the process of being court-martialed out of the Navy, a resentful Japanese captain, and… Rihanna.
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John Carter of DVDs

I expected Disney to dump the DVD of John Carter on the market quietly, like a Las Vegas gambler burying a body in the desert. But the Mouse House is giving the release top-tier treatment as a 4-Disc Combo Pack (3D BD + 2D BD + DVD + Digital Copy), as well as a 2-Disc Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD), a 3D DVD, and a 1-Disc version. Oh, and and On-Demand. All of this on June 5.

Including calling Andrew Stanton the Oscar-winning director of WALL-E (something the ads for the theatrical release never did) and cites star Taylor Kitsch’s FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS connection and Lynn Collins’ role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

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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.

John Carter Marketers: You’re Doing It Wrong!

Yesterday,’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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John Carter Trailer: “Good God, I’m on Mars!”

Another trailer for the movie adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough‘s legendary A Princess of Mars is out, and I’m not going to mince words here: This is my favorite trailer so far for the movie, to be called John Carter. This trailer is just a brief one minute long, but it makes the story of Carter’s adventures on the red planet look like a ripping yarn! This should be epic.

What makes this trailer work so well? (BTW, I don’t mean to imply that any of the others don’t work; just that this one works best.) It sets up the premise, establishes the stakes and gives viewers a taste of the action to come. In other words, it’s a true tease that doesn’t spoil. Take a look:

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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 Two New TV Spots

Disney is finally starting to ramp up the publicity machine for the upcoming John Carter movie, and as part of that, we get to see two new TV spots that ramp up the action factor and show a little more of Barsoom and hint at the story.

This clip is called “He Arrives,” and looks at US Civil War veteran Capt. John Carter’s (Taylor Kitsch) arrival on a desolate Barsoom, then some good-looking action sequences.

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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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