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Thursday 8 March 2012

John Carter

I hadn't heard anything about John Carter until I had lunch yesterday with a good friend who told me about it and that it's based on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs - creator of Tarzan.  Thanks, MB.

Since yesterday, I've come across trailers and reviews and forums, all by accident - except for the trailer, which is the point of this blog...

My first thought before viewing the trailer and doing some homework was: this was written by Burroughs in the 1930's.  It was a series called, John Carter of Mars.  At the time, it was likely considered original, bringing together uncommon themes like westerns and science fiction.  During the process, the recent film Cowboys and Aliens popped into my head.  Did Favreau read, John Carter on Mars?  Favreau is a smart guy, I'll bet he did.

My second thought was: will what was original in the 1930's be fresh and exciting today?  That's really the key, isn't it? Well, watching the trailer for John Carter was like watching the trailer for 300 or Immortals or Clash of the Titans, with a slight Stargate (the original film, not the TV show) feel... so, not really fresh.

That said, this is a Disney film.  To me, Disney means big budget, lots of special effects and a story that is more family friendly - that said, Disney also made Something Wicked This Way Comes and it scared the hell out of me... and, wait a minute, Bambi's mom dies in the beginning of the movie.  The fox from The Fox and the Hound is orphaned.  The cats from the Aristocats are homeless.  Olivia's dad is kidnapped by the evil Rattagan in The Great Mouse Detective.  Geez, there's a whole whack of manipulation here...  forget the latter and let's focus on the special effects.

Yep, looks to be many special effects.  I like special effects.  Special effects, good.

John Carter is about John Carter, a civil war vet, cowboy, who wakes up on Mars in the middle of another civil war.  He's the hero and wins the war for the good guys.  Americans are tough that way.

Mark Strong is in this one.  I think Mark Strong is the bad guy.  He's always a bad guy, except in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (please see my review).  I was wrong about that one.

John Carter is like a cowboy version of Conan the Barbarian fighting with Martians that sort of fit the Martian stereotype because they are green, though the princess looks human, fighting against Mark Strong and not-so Martian looking creatures, except for the monsters and the flying machines.  And John Carter can somehow fly, sort of - maybe that's how he single-handedly won the civil war. There are sci-fi weapons and swords and Roman style arenas where gladiators fight other monsters and there are motivational speeches where armies cheer and some characters look like Jar Jar Binks, but green, from Star Wars Episode One.  Whew, there seems to be too much to keep track of when I just want to be manipulated and entertained by special effects.

I will likely see this out of curiosity. 

1 comment:

  1. Wicked, awesome movie. Better than Attack of the Clones.

    Solid acting, original story, funny. Best Sci-fi I've seen since Avatar.

    Too bad the marketing dept. screwed up the sale.