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Tonight… or Tomorrow… But For Sure This Weekend… Just Do This For Me.

Tonight’s column is very short.

It could pretty much be four words…

Go see John Carter.

Seriously. Just go.

It’s not just a great movie. It’s the Edgar Rice Burroughs movie that all of us that read the books have been praying for, every time we hear news of a film adaptation of one of the novels.

And if you are a Burroughs fan, that’s all the review you need. Because we Burroughs fans have had our hearts broken…

…SO.
…MANY.
…TIMES.


Of all of these? The one that really HURT was GREYSTOKE. I'm still bitter about what a letdown THAT was.... and apparently, so is its original screenwriter Robert Towne.

Usually with a Burroughs movie adaptation, you wonder why the hell they bought the rights at all, because the filmmakers clearly had no affection for the books.

Not this time. Seriously. Take it from me, and I know Burroughs and Barsoom.

Yeah, they changed some stuff. Dejah Thoris is a bit more of a modern lady, and there’s a brilliant rethinking of the original prologue from A Princess of Mars (I mean the one with Edgar Rice Burroughs himself reading the will of his adventurous uncle John, with his strange request about the crypt that only opens from inside.)

Lynn Collins as Princess Dejah has much more of an active role in the plot than her literary incarnation, even in combat; and former Spy Kid Daryl Sabara as the young Edgar Rice Burroughs also gets a more active role than his original one as narrator of the book, in a wonderful plot twist I won't spoil.

But the important part here? Andrew Stanton and Michael Chabon and everyone else involved understood that they needed to include the prologue with the crypt. And the Apaches. And Kantos Kan and the River Iss and Sola and even Woola the Martian dog (Woola is AWESOME, by the way.) They streamlined some things, they combined some things, they added a couple of new ideas… but it’s the book, it’s really Barsoom.

To clarify, it’s A Princess of Mars with a few bits of The Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars folded into it.

There was just so much RIGHT with this....

What I’m trying to say about Disney’s John Carter is that it’s about as close to what I saw in my head, back when I was thirteen years old reading the old Ballantine editions with those amazing paintings by Gino d’Achille, as it’s possible for a movie adaptation to get. It’s the way Sherlock Holmes fans felt when they saw Jeremy Brett on television– or, closer to home, the way Marvel fans felt when they saw Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octopus fighting with Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man while Aunt May dangled from a ledge. That moment of, “Yeah. That’s what that looks like.”

If this is your Carter, you will be delighted with the movie.

If you came to John Carter and Barsoom through the comics, or maybe the Frazetta paintings, well… you’ll still love it. It’ll still feel that close.

If this is your Carter, you will STILL be delighted with the movie.

I had a column I was kind of working on (we’ll get to it next week) about when you find that certain moment, that tipping point where you become not just interested, but a fan of something. Watching the audience tonight– hell, watching Julie, most of this was new to her and she was just transported– I am absolutely convinced that this movie is going to become that tipping point for people discovering the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Certainly, it reminded me of why I fell for them so hard, almost forty years ago. I envy those new fans the experience. Hell, they can even read them for free at Project Gutenberg if they want to, if that’s how they roll. (Not me, though– I assure you that the only way anyone gets my Frazetta hardcover editions will be from my cold dead fingers.)

…sorry, drifting. Here’s the bottom line. If you have not read the books, John Carter will nevertheless leave you feeling pleased; it’s a wonderful ride, a good time for everyone. It’s a great superhero/fantasy/romance/action movie and really brings the FUCK YEAH! moments.

But some of you media-savvy, jaded youngsters out there might be saying things like, “This is kind of cliché.” That’s when someone like me slaps you and say, “Burroughs INVENTED this cliché, you ignorant jackass. This story is a hundred years old. Those other guys? They were all ripping THIS off.”

Burroughs led the way for almost everyone on this stuff. Edmond Hamilton, Robert E. Howard, even guys like Michael Moorcock have spent time working in the Barsoomian house Burroughs built. Comics too-- ADAM STRANGE has a big hunk of John Carter in his DNA.

If you love the books and have been waiting nervously for this movie, the way we all did before Bryan Singer’s X-Men and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, and then Iron Man, and Thor, and all the other movies that adapted something dear to you? You will be weeping with joy. Burroughs himself would have loved this. It was almost worth the century-long wait, to finally see an Edgar Rice Burroughs movie adaptation from someone who gets it.

Anyway. You still here? What are you waiting for? Go.

See you next week.

55 Comments

I’m seeing it Saturday (in about, oh, 8 hours or so I guess). It’s this year’s birthday present to me from former CBRian Figaro.

Can’t go. Hasn’t been released yet where I live.
Anyway, the Barsoom I envisioned was influenced by those beautiful Michael Whelan paperback covers from the early ’80s, but I get your point. Based on the previews and screenshots I’ve seen, this does appear to be the real thing. Unlike most adaptations, when my normal response is something along the lines of “I wonder what they’re going to screw up now” (and I’m perfectly content to wait for either the DVD release or even the first airing on non-pay TV), I am really looking forward to watching this one.

Seeing it Saturday afternoon. I wasn’t really planning on seeing John Carter at first, but the positive reviews swayed me. It sounds like its going to be a pretty cool movie.

Looks neat. I’ll try for Sunday.

I haven’t read the books. I only read the preview comic from last year. So I don’t really know John from Jack or Jimmy Carter but…

This is THE best film review I’ve read in years. Loving the passion there, Greg.

The Crazed Spruce

March 10, 2012 at 2:42 am

I’m only familiar with the character by name. I’ve never read a book or a comic. I still want to see it, though.

My problem is, if it does come up here, it probably won’t show up for at least another month, in a theater that only shows one movie a week, from friday to sunday. . And because of several different circumstances of my life right now, I have to get a number of ducks in a row just to get the chance to go and see it. And frankly, I’m saving that marker for The Avengers. I’ll try to get to the theater if I can (and if it comes here), but I’ll probably wind up catching it on DVD.

What about all the critics who hate it?

I didn’t picture a 20-something model boy bouncing around Monument Valley. A real man–maybe a Clive Owens type–would’ve been better as the veteran John Carter. And Mars should’ve been all dark and red like the paintings and book covers.

I watched the 10-minute prologue online. It didn’t wow me, but it didn’t repulse me either. It did a good job of reimagining the “savage” Indians, as noted here:

http://newspaperrock.bluecorncomics.com/2012/03/apaches-in-john-carter.html

So I’ll guess I’ll see it. Eventually.

A PRINCESS OF MARS was the first book I loved , the first book I read in a day because I couldn’t stop. My only complaint with this film adaption is I had to wait so long to see it. Imagine if it had come out before RAIDERS, AVATAR, LORD OF THE RINGS, STAR WARS…….

I never read the Burroughs books but I saw it. And I loved it. I thought it was big, pulpy fun with arresting visuals and really brilliantly put together.

But I have to admit all the way through I was wondering “I wonder what Greg Hatcher will make of it?” So I’m glad to hear it got the thumbs up from you.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 10, 2012 at 4:41 am

I’ve started reading the first book this week – I got the first five novels for a buck on Amazon digital – and am planning to go see it tomorrow.

What about all the critics who hate it?

What about all the critics who hate everything? Even the greatest film has a critic who hates it, and there’s been really good films the critics panned on their release.

Greg saw it and he likes it – why would he care what other people have written about it?

@Rob Schmidt – I haven’t seen the movie yet, but Taylor Kitsch was terrific on Friday Night Lights, so I’m willing to assume he’ll bring that same soulfulness to this role.

Also, in his defense, he’s 30. Heh.

Amen!

Saw it. Enjoyed the hell out of it.

While I’m thinking of it, Greg, I wonder if your experience in any way mirrors my own in discovering Burroughs and Barsoom:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=37421

While I’m thinking of it, Greg, I wonder if your experience in any way mirrors my own in discovering Burroughs and Barsoom:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=37421

Almost exactly the same; and we both were joined by Michael Chabon. Gino d’Achille sold those books to a LOT of us.

What about all the critics who hate it?

The couple of bad reviews I’ve seen make it clear that those critics don’t get the GENRE, not just the movie. For example, Roger Ebert is a guy who’s very clearly of that 1950s Heinlein/Asimov school of SF where the science MUST be right, so it left him cold.

My feeling is that critics who hate this would hate the books too, in which case, well, there’s not a lot to be said. Because the flaws in the movie are the flaws in the books. Chabon did his best to fix them, including the things that WEREN’T flaws in 1912 but would seem horribly dated now. (Indians, Carter’s arrogance, the role of women, etc.) What I loved is that he did his level best to honor the books while tailoring the story to a 2012 audience. That’s an incredibly difficult tightrope to walk and the film does it with grace and style.

EDITED TO ADD– Looks like Peter David thought so too. Clearly a theme is emerging. All of us who’ve loved the books since we were teenagers that went to JOHN CARTER last night are saying, “Dear God, thank you, Mr. Stanton. Thank you,” this morning. Those are the reviews I’m paying attention to.

I wonder how the same production team would handle _The Skylark of Space_…

I was one of those folks who always planned to read ERB’s “Mars” novels, but never got around to it..yet (been working on a lot of the classics lately, as a lot of the new stuff just ain’t cuttin’ it). However, going into the movie, I had limited knowledge about the series and some of the characters. That said, I had one hell of a good time with this, as did my fiancee (and she is neither a comics reader, nor had she ever heard of the books until I told her about them on the way to the movie). It was fun, excited, and, best of all (from what I have gathered), it was relatively faithful to the source material.

I dunno. She and I are both worried Disney is going to drop this one like they did the “Narnia” series after the 2nd film didn’t do as well for them as they wanted. :/ I am really hoping I am wrong, but lately it seems that if it isn’t mindless drek filled with healthy heapings of sex n’ violence with oversaturation of F-bombs, then it’s not a money maker. Let’s hope I am wrong..

If Roger Ebert and other critics are panning this movie because the science isn’t right, I have to say, I don’t get that angle. I mean, I like “hard” science fiction as much as the next guy, from Asimov to Egan and everyone in between, but I can still appreciate Burroughs’ Martian tales. In fact, despite its sort of SF veneer, I always thought of his Barsoom as more akin to fantasy or sword & sorcery. So if you’re o.k. with Lord of the Rings, why not John Carter?

youve convinced me, Im working out trying to see it today

The only friend I know who’s seen it yet said that it was so awful that he walked out halfway through, which he’s never done before. That does not fill me with a lot of optimism.

You’ve convinced me, too. I don’t think I’ll get to it this weekend–I have 400 pages to read for class early next week–but I’ll find the time in the next week or so based on your impassioned plea.

Thanks for this review. The concept/genre is fine, but i’ve seen lots of these movies come & go. Also, the title ‘John Carter’ is so boring & the preview that i saw didn’t do anything for me.

Based on your review, i’m going to go see this movie asap with my wife. Thanks Greg!

I don’t think I’ll get to it this weekend–I have 400 pages to read for class early next week–but I’ll find the time in the next week or so based on your impassioned plea.

Julie says to tell you that she played hooky from HER homework– she’s working on a certification– and that it’s “okay to practice self-care!” Although I think this is the guilt for taking time out from HER homework talking, she’s been studying like mad all day today.

But I’m being a good husband and passing it on anyway.

Luckily, in Australia, I got to see this film before anyone else did in the USA! Yay for me! I took the whole family – wife and two kids (both boys – 17 and 7 respectively) and we all loved it. My wife knew little to nothing about John Carter and she was just blown away by the film. My 17yr old was raised on Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, all read by me to him when he was a little one (with some “Dad” editing to cover over some of the more violent and racist over tones in all the novels – I figured he could work it out himsellf when he was older, which he did). I’ve been reading A Princess of Mars to the younger one just recently in preparation for this film. Both boys loved the film – I especially loved being able to discuss/ compare the novels with my 17yr old afterwards. It was a great family experience.

My own Burroughs experience mirrors, yours Hatcher, and David’s, and Marz’s – it must be our generation. I have to disagree about the Disney Tarzan and Greystoke films though as I love both of them. Sure, they’re nothing like the original material, but they were still great. Personally, I always loved watching those great Mike Henry films and the Ron Ely series – they did their best!!

As for John Carter – what can I say? It’s not a perfect film, there’s a little too much expositiion at the start (that got me worried it was going to be another Green Lantern) but after that it all settled into a great film. The machinations of the villains are a little confusing, but the action/ adventure/ characters are all brilliantly demonstrated. Taylor Kitsch is great in the role (although I did think James Purefoy would have also made an amazing John Carter.) So, it’s not a perfect film at all – just NEAR-perfect, and like Greg says, the Burroughs film we have not only been waiting for, but DESERVED to see!! (you Tolkien fans have no idea how well you’ve been treated!!)

P.S. In addition to SEEING this film, everyone also has to stand up for it as an original piece of material. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve had to defend this film against ignorant Star Wars fans (I am a fan myself) as well as the AVATAR generation. Luckily my 17yr old continues the fight with how own peers. Long live John Carter!!!!

I friggin’ loved it. I’d never read the books, but they’re going on my Wish List. I’m a fan of just about everyone involved in the movie, and I admit, it was fun watching McNulty and Riggins fight on Mars.

I’ll admit to having never read the books (I know, sacrilege, but I’ve never been a big sci-fi literature fan), but something that gave me pause was the appearance of Dejah Thoris. Every time I’ve ever seen her portrayed artistically, she’s been wearing a very specific outfit, or lack thereof (let’s just say Kelly probably isn’t a fan).

Is this an invention of the artists I’ve seen draw/paint her? Or is she actually said to be that scantily clad in the books, and Disney just “Disneyfied” it?

Okay, Greg. Figaro and I went to see the movie.

He loved it, having had no prior experience with the concept. Myself, having read the novels (but barely remembering them since it was thirty years ago when I read them, and ERB has never been one of my ‘go to’ authors for re-reads), and a couple of the old Marvel comics run here or there, I find myself mostly agreeing with your sentiments. Everyone involved with the film did a really nice job.

I’m hoping they manage a sequel, but the box office doesn’t sound too promising. :-(

Is this an invention of the artists I’ve seen draw/paint her? Or is she actually said to be that scantily clad in the books, and Disney just “Disneyfied” it?

Burroughs describes her as very scantily clad in the book.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 11, 2012 at 12:04 am

That was a great movie. I loved it, and my girlfriend loved it. There was a few changes that had me scratching my head, but then made sense later in the film. Other changes made sense from the moment they happened – they clearly made for a better film.
Bugger Star Wars – we’ve got a new contender for the best action/adventure sci-fi!

Roger Ebert is a guy who’s very clearly of that 1950s Heinlein/Asimov school of SF where the science MUST be right, so it left him cold.

He’s much more a reviewer than a true critic at times.
Didn’t he give Attack Of The Clones a higher rating than Spider-Man 2, despite saying nicer things about Spider-Man 2?

Burroughs describes her as very scantily clad in the book.

He describes everyone/everything as scantily clad in the book!

This.

Absolutely and unreservedly. Before this movie, I’d read perhaps one of the Marvel comics, and I’ve been following the Dynamite Comics “Warlord…” series, and the only bone I’d pick would be some muffled dialogue (the theatre’s problem, perhaps?) and the rattling ventilation duct that made it sound like we had an old-style projector (the theatre’s problem, definitely – must tweet them about that).

A strong start to blockbuster pre-season, and I would give a double thumbs-up for a second movie, and the completion of the (apparently) planned trilogy.

My girlfriend and I are going to see it in a couple of hours for my birthday. Really glad to hear so much praise for it after last year’s utterly disappointing “Conan.”

Well, this is a surprise. I’ve been expecting this movie to suck, BAD, because they changed the title to just “John Carter” (no “Of Mars”) even after it HAD been promoted that way earlier, as if they were afraid they couldn’t sell that way (reminds me of last year’s Cowboys Versus Aliens turning into Cowboys AND Aliens, and you know how that one turned out) but if Greg, of all people, says it is faithful to the original material -a rare thing these days- I’ll give it a try.

The right marketing can make or break a movie. For example with The Lorax, some people utterly decried it as an insult to the original just because they had the guts of EXPANDING on the story! (How did they expect it to fill a whole movie otherwise?) Admittedly, using it to promote A CAR was a huge mistake. But the public didn’t care about what the critics said, given its box office so far. ;)

And later this year, Pixar’s Brave is coming, and from the trailers so far, I find it unoriginal, even annoying. I know its pro-feminist, I don’t mind that, but does Merida HAVE to be a brat? Empowerment = Tomboy? And how about showing us more about the other characters’ personalities? (We have only seen her mother in any detail.) Really, if this weren’t a Pixar movie I wouldn’t give it a chance (but I have disliked their trailers before only to love the movie itself, ex. Ratatoille, Up.)

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Well, this is a surprise. I’ve been expecting this movie to suck, BAD, because they changed the title to just “John Carter” (no “Of Mars”)

Heh. Believe it or not… they work that into the film, and it makes sense.
Just wait till you see the end – even the credits in this film are good!

Well, this is a surprise. I’ve been expecting this movie to suck, BAD…

Sijo raises a point I would have addressed in the column if I’d realized it was happening– I’d avoided all reviews because I knew we were going opening night and I wanted to not be spoiled, and I was so euphoric and excited when we got home that I banged out the column then and there. But the next morning the reviews shocked me. I honestly expected critics to love this movie and have been amazed at all the tepid reviews (Ebert, especially, who I’m sure has read the books at some point, should have known better.)

Whatever. I was clearly expecting too much. But don’t fall for the press narrative. A lot of this skepticism and caution about seeing it is being driven by reviews that basically are writing about the budget and the horse race at the box office, not the movie itself or its fidelity to the source material. Here’s John Rogers (Blue Beetle, Leverage, lots of other cool stuff) speaking out on Twitter about it….

Gratified to see so many people actually consider my advice. Go help @andrewstanton punch critics in the neck. Go see JOHN CARTER today.

The NYT declares it a misfire, talking studio politics, without ever addressing whether it’s good or not. And it’s FUCKING GREAT.

It’s convenient Disney execs say “no finger pointing” when they damn well know where those fingers should point. Andrew Stanton has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I’m first in line for his next movie.

At this point, I genuinely want every human in the US to go see “John Carter” just to shut up the New York Times.

So that’s me, Peter David, Ron Marz, John Rogers, and all the other Burroughs fans responding here and around the internet. Who are you going to listen to? Some pinhead newspaper guy who’s made up his mind it’s terrible because he hates big-budget blockbusters and Disney in general? Or all of us that grew up on Edgar Rice Burroughs and sword-and-sorcery and comics, who can genuinely attest to whether this is the real deal or not?

While I might see it for 2 bucks when it goes second run because of fan praise, there’s no way I would see it otherwise because of AGGREGATE review sites like Rotten Tomatoes. 6 fans do not a film critic make. But several hundred film critics do. And you shouldn’t have to be a fan of the source material to like a movie based on it. The movie should work whether it’s an original screenplay or adapted. And for the record, I never read actual reviews at all before seeing a movie. The only thing I know about the production of John Carter is the name change (well, and whatever is in the column and comments). All I want to know about a movie before seeing it is the general consensus from critics on whether it’s good or not and the genre of the film. Every once in a while I’ll see a “good” movie that I don’t like or a “bad” movie that I think is pretty good. But most of the time, I agree with the aggregate critic sites. Everyone has their own unique way of picking entertainment. Just ask Burgas about how he picks CDs.

I saw this in 2-D – I basically refuse to see any movie in 3-D unless it was filmed in 3-D, as opposed to filmed in 2-D and converted in post – and liked it quite a bit. I’m wondering if anyone saw it in 3-D and felt that it added anything to the movie (I know you can’t say for certain unless you see it both ways, but you usally get a feel for whether anything would be lost or gained by seeing it the other way). I don’t remember any parts of the movie that felt like 3-D – especially after-the-fact 3-D conversion – would have really added anything, but if there was anything someone thought was particularly impressive in the 3-D version, I’d be interested in knowing.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm

While I might see it for 2 bucks when it goes second run because of fan praise, there’s no way I would see it otherwise because of AGGREGATE review sites like Rotten Tomatoes. 6 fans do not a film critic make. But several hundred film critics do.

173 critics on rotten tomatoes have given it 49%, 17,885 movie goers have given it 73% on rotten tomatoes.
I’d point out to you that Rotten Tomatoes percentages don’t live room for a middle man – I make movie trailers for work, and I’ve used quotes from reviews given a ‘rotten’ on that site in them before, as they said positive things.
2001 A Space Odyssey got a rough time from critics when it came out as well, as did Citizen Kane.

I read one from news.com.au that declared it the first ‘floparoo’ of the year, and the reviewer seemed to be taking glee in knocking it down.
Your loss, basically. When you do see it, you’ll realize why the critics reviews are really weird for those of us who have seen it.

And you shouldn’t have to be a fan of the source material to like a movie based on it. The movie should work whether it’s an original screenplay or adapted

You don’t have to be – weird critique from someone who has not read a review or seen the film.
I’m halfway through the first book, and I loved it. My girlfriend knew nothing about it, and she loved it. She wants to read the books now.

I’m wondering if anyone saw it in 3-D and felt that it added anything to the movie

Not really.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 11, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Here’s the review I mentioned – http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/movies/movie-review-john-carter/story-e6frf8r6-1226293324784

He counts as a top critic on rotten tomatoes (non top critics seem to have about six fans each). Those who have seen the film will be scratching their head. ( And probably chuckling that he can’t understand why John can jump higher than others).

Those who have seen the film will be scratching their head. ( And probably chuckling that he can’t understand why John can jump higher than others).

I was just mildly appalled he got PAID for that. It’s the review of someone who wasn’t really paying attention. Sort of the equivalent of BS’ing your way through a school paper you haven’t done the research on; snark off about the costumes, mention the budget (because all big-budget movies are “bloated”), complain about being confused (which is probably because you’re not really watching it) and talk about the box office horse race.

But yeah, he counts on Rotten Tomatoes, and all the people who actually KNOW something about fantasy fiction who’ve been writing about how much they loved the movie do not. That’s my point.

Da Fug: Hey! How’d I get dragged into this???? :)

“weird critique from someone who has not read a review or seen the film”

It’s not a critique, it’s a statement of fact regardless of what film we’re talking about. Film reviewers, who see loads of films and know something about film-making, know what good films are more than other people. You either fall into the camp that believes that or you don’t. That’s all. Film critics tastes are more like mine than people who love trashy movies. Hatcher LOVES bad/trashy movies. He’s asking why I wouldn’t take his advice about choosing movie entertainment right off. That’s why. And that’s no criticism of Hatcher, either. We like some forms of entertainment that are the same and we like some forms of entertainment that are different from each other. To each his own.

And I’m not saying Rotten Tomatoes is the perfect way to see a movie either. It’s just one of the ways I currently choose that works for me. Optimally, I’m looking for an average rating from critics that’s 8.0 or higher for something I definitely have to see. When it doesn’t meet that, I look at percentages or whatever else. Captain America had a 6.9 and I’m glad I saw it anyway because it was pretty good. I would rarely see a movie based on the feelings/reviews of the general public since they have such awful tastes in movies. They liked The Dark Knight more than Batman Begins for gosh sakes!

“And probably chuckling that he can’t understand why John can jump higher than others”

Gravitational difference between Earth and Mars?

We all really enjoyed the movie last night. I read the first book a couple fo weeks ago– despite my love for the likes of REH and such, somehow the Barsoom books had eluded me– my girlfriend had absolutely no idea who John Carter was, or anything about the concept aside from “guy somehow goes to Mars.” Ditto my 13-year-old nephew. We all loved it. My nephew bombarded me with questions after it was over, wanting to know more about the characters and the world. The tepid box office is disheartening. I slapped up an impassioned plea on my blog and facebook for people to go see the damn movie NOW. We get so few epic action movies that actually have a brain, and I hate to see them left to wither on the vine when one actually does come along.

“Greg saw it and he likes it – why would he care what other people have written about it?” Because it’s the dominant press narrative and a good reviewer might want to address it. As Greg did in his comments:

“But don’t fall for the press narrative. A lot of this skepticism and caution about seeing it is being driven by reviews that basically are writing about the budget and the horse race at the box office, not the movie itself or its fidelity to the source material.”

I loved the semi-hard Heinlein/Asimov school of SF AND the Burroughs books. (The best ones, anyway.) So I don’t understand people who love one and hate the other. Do they also hate Jules Verne and H.G. Wells because their stories were scientifically impossible?

Besides, people didn’t know much about Mars in 1912. With the low gravity, the desert conditions, the elongated Tharks, and the atmosphere factory, Burroughs actually used a touch of science.

Anyway, I probably would’ve seen the movie eventually. But now I’ll see it with more enthusiasm.

P.S. I think Dejah Thoris was naked when John Carter first met her.

P.S. I think Dejah Thoris was naked when John Carter first met her.

Actually, in the book, Carter is nakeder than anyone else for some time. I think Dejah was wearing MORE than he was when they met….

…which is to say, I think she may have had some jewelry.

I’m sure you know already, but it tanked pretty hard. Something like 30 mill, which was worse than, say, 10,000 B.C., for instance. I also keep reading the justifications for changing the title, and it makes less sense every single time. Too bad. It’s doing okay internationally, so maybe there will be a sequel?

From the source:

And the sight which met my eyes was that of a slender, girlish figure, similar in every detail to the earthly women of my past life. She did not see me at first, but just as she was disappearing through the portal of the building which was to be her prison she turned, and her eyes met mine. Her face was oval and beautiful in the extreme, her every feature was finely chiseled and exquisite, her eyes large and lustrous and her head surmounted by a mass of coal black, waving hair, caught loosely into a strange yet becoming coiffure. Her skin was of a light reddish copper color, against which the crimson glow of her cheeks and the ruby of her beautifully molded lips shone with a strangely enhancing effect.

She was as destitute of clothes as the green Martians who accompanied her; indeed, save for her highly wrought ornaments she was entirely naked, nor could any apparel have enhanced the beauty of her perfect and symmetrical figure.

They should’ve called it “John and the Princess.” You know, to attract the girls without repulsing the boys. Okay, maybe “John and the Half-Naked Princess.”

Look, kids…science! More from the source:

As I was to learn, the Martian nights are extremely cold, and as there is practically no twilight or dawn, the changes in temperature are sudden and most uncomfortable, as are the transitions from brilliant daylight to darkness. The nights are either brilliantly illumined or very dark, for if neither of the two moons of Mars happen to be in the sky almost total darkness results, since the lack of atmosphere, or, rather, the very thin atmosphere, fails to diffuse the starlight to any great extent; on the other hand, if both of the moons are in the heavens at night the surface of the ground is brightly illuminated.

Both of Mars’ moons are vastly nearer her than is our moon to Earth; the nearer moon being but about five thousand miles distant, while the further is but little more than fourteen thousand miles away, against the nearly one-quarter million miles which separate us from our moon. The nearer moon of Mars makes a complete revolution around the planet in a little over seven and one-half hours, so that she may be seen hurtling through the sky like some huge meteor two or three times each night, revealing all her phases during each transit of the heavens.

The further moon revolves about Mars in something over thirty and one-quarter hours, and with her sister satellite makes a nocturnal Martian scene one of splendid and weird grandeur. And it is well that nature has so graciously and abundantly lighted the Martian night, for the green men of Mars, being a nomadic race without high intellectual development, have but crude means for artificial lighting; depending principally upon torches, a kind of candle, and a peculiar oil lamp which generates a gas and burns without a wick.

The John Carter movie mised the mark on so many levels. In Burroughs’ books, he addresses racism, politics, religion, pacifism. This movie not only abandoned those themes, but greatly rewrote “A Princess of Mars”. This was a dumbed down film with lowsy acting and mediocre CGI (given today’s technology.) J.C. should have been a witty, bloody, violent ride with lot’s of deep social commentary. Instead, ther predecessor of Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Superman, and Luke Skywalker was empty and meaningless.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Da Fug:

Film reviewers, who see loads of films and know something about film-making, know what good films are more than other people. You either fall into the camp that believes that or you don’t. That’s all. Film critics tastes are more like mine than people who love trashy movies.

Sorry if I came on a bit strong – It’s a great film, and the glee with which reviewers are calling it bad doesn’t correlate to the film at all, and it’s really disheartening to see something so good not get the kudos it deserves.
I studied film production and film theory, and see an insane number of movies every week, as well as reading plenty of reviews for work – sometimes they get it wrong.
Much like when the Academy gave Sandra Bullock best actress, sometimes the people who should know best have a big error of judgement.
And in this case, they are getting it wrong – objectively wrong, in the case of some reviews.
Here’s some funny ‘getting it wrong’ from big critics – http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/when-critics-get-it-wrong.html

Hatcher LOVES bad/trashy movies. He’s asking why I wouldn’t take his advice about choosing movie entertainment right off. That’s why. And that’s no criticism of Hatcher, either.

This ain’t one of those – this is Star Wars/Raiders Of The Lost Ark type filmmaking. Y’know, the way they used to be done.
Imagine Avatar, but without all the whining, preaching and learning how to ride things.

They liked The Dark Knight more than Batman Begins for gosh sakes!

I probably did for a bit as well, until I saw it a second time. Then one day I watched them back to back, and if everyone did that, there would be a consensus that Batman Begins is the much better film, what with it having a structure and a theme.
(They talk a lot about themes in DK, but the film doesn’t really back them up).

I’d pepsi challenge this film against Captain America and Thor.
If anything, it would highlight how much boring exposition those films had – this film shows, not tells – as well as make you wonder why they thought it would make for entertainment to waste time with Captain America being used for propaganda.

Gravitational difference between Earth and Mars?

Yup.
They illustrate it by John struggling to walk without flying when he first arrives, then highlight the difference between he and the martians who are all amazed at this.
If you hadn’t then picked it up yourself, there is a conversation where Dejah Thoris flat out says ‘you are used to stronger gravity and have thicker bone density compared to us, and so your strength is boosted’ or something to that effect.
If that critic was confused by something shown via character actions, and then explained in conversation… then either he’s not a good critic, or he’d made his mind up about the film already (which would meanhe’s not a good critic).

Greg:

I’m sure you know already, but it tanked pretty hard. Something like 30 mill, which was worse than, say, 10,000 B.C., for instance. I also keep reading the justifications for changing the title, and it makes less sense every single time. Too bad. It’s doing okay internationally, so maybe there will be a sequel?

The title sucks, but it changes at the end, in a way that makes it seem intentional.

The producers want to do a sequel, the director wants to do a sequel, and Michael Chabon has started writing a sequel. So fingers crossed that these guys all being success’ will get them a sequel as a way for Disney to keep them around.
I’m hoping word of mouth will save this one.

You going to go see it? Go on, it’ll make your day.

Burroughs “addresses racism, politics, religion, pacifism”…in the Barsoom books? Maybe subtly, but nothing that rises to the level of “deep social commentary.”

A Best Picture Oscar for “John Carter”!

FGJ: I probably won’t see it in the theater. We rarely see movies these days, because it’s too much of a pain in the ass getting a babysitter and when we do, we’d rather go out to dinner with friends. I’m curious about it, but I’ll wait until it shows up on HBO or some other cable channel.

I thought it was really weird that the marketing didn’t focus more on the “director of Wall-E” aspect. I mean, that has to carry some cachet, right? Never mind the Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter. Marketing is a weird science, man!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Fair call Greg – I only went because we had vouchers. Cinemas seem to want to beat comics in pricing themselves into oblivion!

I thought it was really weird that the marketing didn’t focus more on the “director of Wall-E” aspect. I mean, that has to carry some cachet, right? Never mind the Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter. Marketing is a weird science, man!

Or mention it’s from the creator of Tarzan, or mention voicing from three academy award nominees, or that McNulty plays the villain and Walter White (Bryan Cranston – six time emmy nominee, three time winner) is in it as well!
Oh well, they changed the title at least – can you imagine if it had princess or mars in it? Disaster!

I wish the marketing had mentioned Cranston & West were in the film, but I wonder how much a difference it would have made. As celebrated as the Wire and Breaking Bad have been, I don’t know that either show has made either star a real household name.

OTOH, I’m hearing more from this blog post that makes me want to see the movie than a week’s worth of Taylor Hitch and CG beast trailers have done. Maybe Disney should consult Greg on the marketing if they decide to make a sequel.

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