Monday, March 19, 2012


I saw JOHN CARTER last night. I went with a certain amount of trepidation but I was completely blindsided at how damned good the movie was. It was not a perfect adaptation of A PRINCESS OF MARS. Elements from the later books have been brought in to flesh out the story, but most everything that I loved about Burroughs' novel was up there on the screen and more!
Aside from a slightly annoying "character Arc" that has been grafted onto John Carter himself, all of the characters were there exactly as they are in the book, particularly the tharks. Far from being merely skinny versions of Shrek, they come across a real beings with emotions from a real culture. Tars Tarkas and Sola in particular are there on the screen exactly as they were in the book.

The filmmakers have had to make concessions to the modern filmgoing audience (hence John Carter having more in common with Clint Eastwood than with earlier heroes in whose mold John Carter was originally written) but they have translated the story so wonderfully and so powerfully upon the screen that it was not onerous at all.
It is an amazing and wonderful film, even in a 2D version, which is all our local theater is showing. (It must have rocked in 3D).

So why is it doing so poorly? Why is it doing better outside the US than it is domestically? Others have posited that a change in studio executives is behind it all. A new studio head has made it his mission to scuttle this film which was given the green light by his predecessor. Disney itself is responsible for its poor performance, not the poor schmucks in the marketing department. They had the marketing right at first. The film was even called John Carter of Mars originally, but it all changed to the marketing campaign that had everyone scratching their heads.

Whatever the reason, I'm afraid that I contributed to that negative buzz with my misgivings and now I must take back anything negative I have previously blogged about this film. All my misgivings have been melted away.

Except for one thing...

As I said, I really loved this movie but there is one thing that has nagged at me and that is that, as a Disney production, Dejah Thoris would necessarily join the ranks of the Disney Princesses. Can you imagine it? Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Princess Jasmine and... Dejah Thoris?

I shudder at the very thought. I think I'd rather drink a cup of hemlock than see that happen.

So if the film does not generate enough money or interest to let that nightmare become a reality, I'm really okay with that. It is a beautiful film and nothing will take that away. A sequel would have been nice, the film becoming a runaway hit would have been nice, but I honestly couldn't face a world where John Carter and Tars Tarkas join Mickey and Minnie on parade through the streets of Disneyland.

I'd rather die in the Warhoon arena.

Still, the film deserves to be seen.

Do yourself a favor: GO SEE JOHN CARTER!

I've been here and there. I've drawn a lot of pictures. I've written a bit, too. I'm not good at this self-promotion thing. Look, you want to know about me? just visit these websites. Okay?


Anonymous said...

Hear, Hear! It was pretty damn good, and worth the 100 year wait.

James Chatterton

Jack Teague said...

I have actually seen this movie three times and plan to get at least one more viewing in before it leaves the theaters. I'm making up for the fact there is not likely to be a sequel, and want to see this while I can on the big screen.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I really liked it too. Just goes to show you how many people can be affected by a little bad press about a movie. We devour pop culture in such huge bites. I am glad this got made. Like the Rocketeer it will only be more appreciated with age.

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