John Carter

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 2!
"Lost in Our World. Found in Another."

Hello my Jeddak! It's Thursday, and I didn't get to the movies yet, so instead, I will today be talking about John Carter, a film that was released last year in March, but that I only managed to see around two or three weeks ago. John Carter is based on the Barsoom novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, most specifically the first one, A Princess of Mars. The film centers around the eponymous John Carter (portrayed by Taylor Kitsch who is essentially an older version of his character from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, see caption below), who has recently died. His nephew reads through his journal, in an attempt to determine how he died, and this flashes us back to the beginning of the story, when Carter, prospecting in the Arizona territories, when he is arrested by a Union colonel who wants his help fighting the Apaches. Carter escapes, and in the chase finds his way to a cave he'd been searching for, because he thought there was gold there. Instead there was an alien, who he shoots and then steals his medallion, accidentally transporting him to Barsoom, which is apparently Mars. Here, because of the lower gravity and his bone density, John Carter can jump super high, and perform incredible feats of strength. In short, on Barsoom John Carter is a grade-A ass kicker. He becomes embroiled in a war between the intensely war-like Zodanga, and the less war-like, but still war-like city-state of Helium. The Jeddak (which is what they call emperors on Barsoom) of Zodanga, with the aid of the shadowy Therns, attempts to manipulate the princess of Helium Dejah (Lynn Collins, who you might remember from that really shitty Wolverine movie) into marrying him, so that he can gain control of Helium and Zodanga. Carter is aided by the Jeddak of the green Martians, Tars Tarkas (voiced by Willem Dafoe, who is actually less scary when he is a giant green alien), and together they try and save Helium, Barsoom, and also Dejah, so John Carter can hit that ka-pow!

Not a lot of clothes in this movie.
So this movie was notable for being a pretty serious financial disaster. Andrew Stanton, the director, re-shot huge swaths of the movie, and purportedly went seriously over budget. The total expenditures on the movie ended up in excess of 250 million dollars, not including something in the ballpark of 100 million in advertising. It managed to gross 282 million worldwide, but that was not enough to off-set the massive expenditures on the movie, and its performance was so lackluster that it led to the resignation of Rich Ross, who was the chairman of Disney Studios at the time. Which seems pretty unfair, because it was probably down to Stanton, who was supposedly quoted saying that he "got it" better than live-action crews (Stanton had directed WALL-E and Finding Nemo, John Carter was the first live-action film he directed. Probably the last too for a long time). Pretty uncool dude.

Tarkas is convinced Carter's name is Virginia.
It's really too bad too because John Carter isn't a bad movie at all. It's exactly what you would hope from an Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation. He wrote pulp fiction in his day, a lot of it in fact (there are 11 novels in the Barsoom series alone) and this movie very much fits the pop-corn adventure movie mold. I have to admit, at times the plot is a little bit too complicated for its own good, and the movie is a little unevenly paced, but it is otherwise an enjoyable movie about aliens warring half-naked on Mars. Most of all, the movie looks fantastic. The effects are awesome, the CG is amazing, and the world is gorgeously realized. It's just a shame that it took a wildly out of control budget to produce these results. It's also too bad because this movie was intended to be the first of at least a trilogy, and I would have liked to see what happened to John Carter, Helium, and Barsoom. Now in all likelihood, we will never see those things. At least I can read the books though right?

Let me tell you a story about the wolverine gods or something.
So while it might not have been the greatest movie of 2012, if you like movies where four-armed green aliens fight half-naked warriors with airships and riding weird alien beasts and other such space adventures that blur the line between fantasy and science fiction (which you should seriously those things are awesome) then you should really make the time to sit down and watch John Carter. Maybe if we all show we like enough they will make a second one some day. I hope. That's all for today, I'll see you over the weekend! Thanks for tuning in~

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to read this. I thought it was a pretty decent movie and didn't understand the flack it got. It wasn't aiming to be in the top 100 movies of all time. It was aiming to be a pretty action flick with aliens and, as you said, little clothing.


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