Friday, March 09, 2012

Escape to the Movies: "John Carter"

This really needed to be better.

Also, "The Lorax."

14 comments:

James_T said...

Well, I'm a big fan of the books so I'm definitely going to see it. But it's unfortunate that John Carter's character has been change in the most generic way possible. Well hopefully it'll still be a fun time at the movies. But you're right, this is a movie that could've been something special.

FigmentJedi said...

Looking at the early versions of some of the songs on the album for Lorax, it really does seem they wanted to have a little more bite. Especially the early version of the villain song, "Biggering", which has a darker rock opera feel to it.

Ethan said...

Well, I've never even heard of the books...so should I see it?

Blue Highwind said...

I'm still gonna see it.

Lord Slithor said...
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Lord Slithor said...
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Lord Slithor said...

I'm sorry Bob. As with your opinions on the Spider-Man reboot, I have to disagree with you on this one. I saw it this afternoon with my fiancee and I loved the hell out of this movie. And this is from someone who's been almost a lifelong fan of this book series since I first read it at age 13.

As far as I was concerned, they nailed the spirit and feel of the books perfectly. I knew going in that they had to change some things around. I knew especially that the whole idea of Carter getting to Mars via astral projection would definitely not fly with today's audiences. But I didn't see that as a bad thing really. Even when I read it at 13 back in 1983 (dating myself here), it still seemed hokey.

No, I think the method of teleportation they used in this movie worked for me and made sense, especially considering how scientists would theorize teleportation would actually work. In any case, this explanation sat just fine with me.

I also understood the need to repurpose the Therns somewhat, and introduce them much sooner than when they appeared in the second book. I for one appreciated the new wrinkle they gave them. I thought their goals were faily simple to understand: they exploit the worlds they go to, sowing discord as they do so (and I guess you must have missed Matai Shang's detailing of how they do it, which seemed to me to be a subtle commentary on what's going on with our world right now. Implying the Therns already are/have been at work on Earth right now. Hmmm...) I noticed that they, like in the books, are trying to take advantage of the Martian civilization through its religion; something that doesn't really take center stage until the second book. I'm sure however that will be more directly addressed in the sequel.

As for your dig at the end of the Martians going naked in the books? Kind of an invalid argument there, as artists from John Allen St. John to Roy Krenkel to Frank Frazetta to Micheal Whelan had them walking around in loincloths or at least G-strings. Besides, I always interpreted that Burroughs' use of the word "naked" was subjective, since to 1900's sensibilites, going around barely dressed probably might as well have been naked.

Other than that, I didn't find this movie at all to be afraid of its source material. Quite the opposite, I think, as it embraced its source material and ran with it unapologetically. Everything in that movie was either exactly the way I imagined Barsoom looked when I first read the books or better...especially the flyers. The action scenes were as cool and as dynamic as the way I thought they did when Burroughs described them.

The casting was good too. I thought Taylor Kitsch was a good John Carter. I didn't mind the tweaks they made to his character. It still didn't change who he was at his core. He always has been the "honorable fighting man from Vriginia." If anything, giving him something of a tragic backstory helped delineate his character more. Even if it felt trite to you, sometimes those methods are still the best. Totalt agreement with you though about Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris. She's now my official Sci-Fi pinup girl. Willem DaFoe's Tars Tarkas, Samantha Morton's Sola, Thomas Hayden Church's Tal Hajus, Polly Walker's Sarkoja, and James Purefoy's Kantos Kan were also standouts.

So I'm sorry Bob if you didn't like this movie. Many of the other reviews that have been coming in however have been glowing an positive. Yours is probably the most negative I've seen. But that's not bad considering if the worst is damning it with faint praise.

I think this movie's going to do well. It had a pretty decent midnight showing, and will probably do even better today and Saturday. I think at least it's going to get great word-of-mouth in the long run. As far as I'm concerned, as a longtime fan of the series, this was a dream come true.

Omega Wyrm said...

@ Slithor

Ah, glad to see I'm not the only one who liked it.

I certainly hope it does better than the reviews seem to be implying, because I'd love to see a sequel or two.

Anonymous said...

What was the image at the end of the credits from?

I hate when you reference these things without explanation! I'm not as informed as you! T_T

David (The Pants) said...

I haven't read the books, and I will see it and I will enjoy the crap outta it. Gonna bring some Mars Bars.

Elessar said...

Mildly interested in John Carter, might see it later once I don't have to deal with the dreaded CROWDS (which I only do with movies I realllllllly wanna see).

However, the reason I'm posting is to tell you that your written post is one of the best written things you've done in a LONG while. Kudos.

Sssonic said...

@ Anonymous: That would be a teaser image for the newest upcoming "Assassin's Creed" game, which moves the series' focus out of Renaissance-era Europe and into the Frontier days of early America.

progSHELL said...

I wish Taylor Kitsch had some better material to work with theatrically. He proved himself as a good actor by his performance as Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights (TV) and now he's been shunted into both this and Battleship (although that may be because of the Peter Berg/Friday Night Lights connection.)

vlademir1 said...

@Sssonic My understanding was that it's set at the tail end of the Colonial Era maybe through the start of the Articles of Confederation era. The Frontier expansion didn't really get going until the Jefferson administration, though the game has been announced as having a location known as "the frontier", which is likely the largely unsettled areas between the set piece locals of Boston and New York.
Funny enough I dropped by this blog for the first time in ages just to agree with Bob's comment of anticipation for this game. I've not really been interested in the series previously, but that had a lot to do with the period it was set in making the story a little too predictable/cliche for my tastes.