Earlier this year, the adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter world, John Carter of Mars, hit theaters in the wake of great expectations. Unfortunately, it was met with disappointment from both sci-fi fans and Burroughs enthusiasts alike. Even before the official release, the early reviews made it out to be mediocre at best, dooming it failure. The huge losses that the movie took at the box office cemented the deal.
As it turns out, Jon Favreau was originally attached to the direct the film, but swapped the project out in favor of Iron Man, which, of course, got loads of praise. Andrew Stanton stepped in to take over, and the rest, as they say, is history.
So, to take some time for a “What If?” moment, what would Favreau have done differently if he had been in the director’s chair? In an interview with Crave Online, he had this to say about his own take on the film:
I probably wouldn’t have been as ambitious. I think both of us really appreciated the source material. Stanton started to weave in elements from the later books. I probably would’ve told a smaller story.
As we were developing the script it was much more the experience of John Carter being found in this new world and him coming up in a Man Called Horse kind of way among the Tharks and then opening up the world slowly.
Sounds like it could have been the best bet. After all, one good movie means the potential for sequels and more storytelling in the future. One bad movie means the death of the franchise.
Every day the internet produces an astounding amount of goodies and gems. Most hilarious, some amusing, but all worth at least a few seconds of your time. We here at Nerd Bastards try to bring you the best bits of news and nerdery the webz has to offer, with a bit of snark thrown in. But sometimes not everything makes the cut. Monday through Friday we’ll be bringing you our inbox leftovers, our forgotten bookmarks, the nerdy bits that simply slipped through the cracks. You can submit items to Nerdy Bits by emailing us at email@example.com.
ABOVE: That’s right, our President’s a Trekkie. Either that or this photo was taken at a secret White House meeting with the very first Vulcan ambassadors. And then of course, Obama calls in his top extra-terrestrial expert, Nichelle Nichols. (Laughing Squid)
I’ve spent the last several weeks following and writing about the negative buzz surrounding John Carterwith a kind of fascinated dismay. The things that make or break a film – especially when they seem to have very little to do with what’s actually on the screen – fascinate me, but because it was this film that seemed to be breaking before it was even released, I found myself once again overwhelmed with cynical passive-aggression toward Hollywood. See, I believe in Andrew Stanton, the genius who brought us Finding Nemo and Wall-E and who has been an integral part of Pixar since it began. I believe in Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay who champions genre fiction and bashes critical pretensions from inside the literary establishment. I believe in Edgar Rice Burroughs and his timeless, now 100-year-old story of a man who landed on a red world called Barsoom. I believe in all of that, and so I wanted to be vindicated. I tried for weeks to give John Carter the exposure I felt it deserved. I wanted to prove to everyone that the pundits were wrong, that it was worth seeing despite the convoluted and often obnoxiously bland marketing machine. And so I went to see John Carter hoping to be vindicated and worried that I would be both disappointed and embarrassed. What if it wasn’t good? What if it was terrible? Would I leave the theater still believing in John Carter?
John Carter opens this coming Friday and despite all it’s bad press, Disney is still doing all it can to put asses in seats. The studio has now released a ten-minute clip that helps set up the movie.
What you’ll see below is the film’s version of Edgar Rice Burrough’s arriving at a palatial estate, where he reads a book in which John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) narrates his experience. We see Carter in Arizona and the events that lead to his transport to Mars, where the Civil War vet is caught up in a new civil war.
I’ve been hatin’ on John Carter since day one, but I will admit those 10 minutes drew me in entirely. I dig the Indiana Jones feel to it – fun action and what not. If the original trailer didn’t have me hooked… this excerpt certainly has.
John Carter stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Daryl Sabara, Polly Walker, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Hayden Church, and Willem Dafoe. It is directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) and opens on March 9th.
From Academy Award(R)-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes “John Carter”–a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). “John Carter” is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.
Valentine’s may be over and the rejection may have worn off for some, but John Carter is not getting a break. Disney execs are scurrying around in panic this afternoon after the results of John Carter’s tracking numbers were leaked to the press. Deadline reported the results as follows:
“2 unaided, 53 aware, 27 definitely interested, 3 first choice….Women of all ages have flat out rejected the film.”
Now the most interesting part of the quote, seems to be the last. John Carter was not the official title of the film. This film initially went by the original title “Princess of Mars” due to the film being based on the first book of Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsom series. When books are being made into film it is custom to keep the title so as to attract the fan base that the book has and add to the fan base. Disney did not seem to go in that direction, which is odd seeing as they’ve made book based films such as: The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Little Mermaid, and so on.
When asked on the reason for the changed title Writer/Director Andrew Stanton said in an interview:
“Here’s the real truth of it, I’d already changed it from A Princess Of Mars to John Carter Of Mars. I don’t like to get fixated on it, but I changed Princess Of Mars…because not a single boy would go,” he said. “And then the other truth is, no girl would go to see John Carter Of Mars. So I said, ‘I don’t won’t to do anything out of fear, I hate doing things out of fear, but I can’t ignore that truth.”
Stanton and the Disney may be gritting their teeth because this minor mistake in titling could cost them more money than they expected. Due to the tracking study, the film is estimated to gain only $100 million even though the film cost about $250 million to produce. With a loss this great and the film’s release coming up; there really isn’t much to do, but wait and see what the final results are.
John Carter, while being initially appealing last year seems to be losing steam and after taking from it the one thing that made it unique due to gender preference and, from what the company has divulged, is the sloppy seconds of someone else’s project. A representative from Disney was quoted as saying:
“We’re not running away from the movie. Our job is to sell it.”
They will have to come up with a new strategy to sell this film, and that will be a hard thing to do in three weeks. But hey, this is the company of dreamers and the imaginative types so this could work out. John Carter, starring Taylor Kitsch, Bryan Cranston, Lynn Collins, and Mark Strong, hits theaters March 9.
I’ve watched every piece of John Carter footage with a healthy amount of skepticism. I haven’t seen much evidence of a gripping, action adventure story that will hold my interest, even though most of the visual effects look spectacular. Let’s just say no trailer or sneak peak has really wowed me. So of course I’m pleasantly surprised to hear early reviews are giving the movie some positive buzz. I want the movie to be good, I’m just not convinced it will be.
One of the first reviews comes from The John Carter Files. Theirs is a really in depth review so here’s a quick sample,
Movie was really excellent and well worth watching. The audience reacted positively to the entire thing. All around me were pleasantly surprised, as most, like me, hadn’t even heard of the film. Many people took a long time to fill out their surveys and felt a responsibility to accurately convey their opinions. I felt the audience was emotionally engaged. we were rooting for JC all the way. We wanted him to marry the princess. we wanted her to love him. I would definitely recommend it.
Okay, so it’s not the most elegant review but they obviously enjoyed themselves. Which is all one’s really looking for in this kind of flick, right?
Next comes from Ayelet Waldman, though I would like to point out she’s married to one of the screenwriters so her opinion might be biased. These are just a few quotes from Twitter, where she was raving about the film after a screening at Pixar,
Just saw John Carter. It was AWESOME. Seriously. Best action movie I’ve seen … maybe ever? Lush and gorgeous. Great love story. FAB!!!! The thing about #johncarter is that the female lead is smart, & kicks ASS. It’s so female friendly!
Okay, female friendly. Obviously I like how that sounds, but being the jaded, science fiction fan I am, I really hope this female lead doesn’t come off as a token. But still, I want to try and think positively. Maybe if the film had been called Princess of Mars, which is the title of Edgar Rice Burroughs first book in the series, but anyway, I digress. I’m glad to hear the princess kicks ass.
This last bit of positive early buzz is from Ain’t It Cool News‘ Nick Soapdish. He hasn’t seen the whole film but he was given the chance to see quite a few scenes, and you can read his descriptions of each at their site. Here’s his overall opinion,
So all in all, the Film looks great. Much better then I was expecting. I have two reservations. The first is Disney’s track record with live action films of late, especially Sci-fi. Admittedly, John Carter is just as much a Fantasy film as it is Sci-Fi. But I am worried it will end up like Tron Legacy. A great film that doesn’t do as well at the box office as it deserves. The fact there has been no merchandise and poor promotion thus far means I am worried it to will not do so well.
The second is the claims of copying other films. The book is about 100 years old and nearly every sci-fi film has drawn inspiration from (or stolen) themes and ideas from these stories and like I mentioned in my review of the last clip that when people see that scene they will think Star Wars. I hope that audiences are able to realise that John Carter was the original, and is not trying to copy other famous sci-fi films.
John Carter, under the Direction of Pixar’s Andrew Stanton, could be a big Disney franchise, something that it could really do with. The planned John Carter to be a trilogy and the success of this first film will determine the future of the series. I hope it finds its audience and I for one will definitely be there opening weekend to see the final film.
Are you excited for John Carter? Was it something you saw or read recently that got you interested?
Adapting Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ classic Barsoom novels about American Civil War soldier, John Carter who’s transported to Mars and must become a hero when’s he thrust between two warring Martian clans was almost unthinkable years ago. Nowadays such interplanetary odysseys are a dime a dozen. So will John Carter, the new film from Disney based on the books that practically began the sci-fi genre, be any good?
It’s tough to tell. Most of what we’ve seen in promotional stills and the few trailers they’ve released don’t reveal too much about the film’s plot. What they’re showing off are the fantastic creatures and Martain landscapes, so at least we’re guaranteed John Carter will look amazing. Personally, I have faith in director Andrew Stanton. This is the man who gave us Wall-E, one the greatest films of recent years, but can he work the same magic with living actors? I’ve seen so many films that look incredible but are a real pain in the ass to watch because their story, acting, editing, etc. are simply awful. I hope John Carter doesn’t fall into this same trap.
Check out this new featurette which gives us a closer look at some of Mar’s wonders. It’s obviously marketed for the younger Disney crowd, but it could be worse. Have you watched the new Episode I 3D trailer?
In addition to this clip some new concept images have hit the web. Again, they show off the film’s marvelous designs.
What’s your verdict on John Carter? I know we really never know until we see the film, but with movies becoming pricier and pricier if a flick doesn’t grab me, drag me into the theatre, sit me down, hold my eyes open Clockwork Orange style, I normally don’t buy a ticket.
Check out this preview of an even larger preview for John Carter (formally of Mars) that will premiere during the Super Bowl on Sunday. It’s short and sweet, but it includes a chance to win a trip to next year’s Super Bowl, soooo – that makes it worth something, right?
I’m finding it difficult to get excited for this flick. I’m hoping for the best, but for some reason I get Clash of the Titans flashback whenever I watch any footage. I should have more faith in director Andrew Stanton, and for his sake I hope its successful. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
John Cartertells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.
Andrew Stanton directed the adaptation of the classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film arrives in 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D theaters on March 9. Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Daryl Sabara, Polly Walker, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Hayden Church, and Willem Dafoe star in the film.
Also, make sure you stay tuned because I’m betting this is the first of many pre-Super Bowl teasers we’ll be sharing all this week.
What did you think of the John Carter tease? Are you more excited than I?
I’m not thrilled about Andrew Stanton‘s 3D mega-budget fantasy John Carter. When I think of John Carter, I think of Frank Frazetta paintings, fuzzy dramatic oil illustrations depicting muscular warriors and scantily-clad woman often locked in combat with deadly beasts. The dark Sword & Sorcery tone/style is lost in this Disney-fied adaptation. In fact, every photo and snippet of footage I see gives me Attack of the Clones flashbacks *shivers*. I’m sure it will be fun and filled with adventure, but it bares little resemblance to the world created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Anyway, two new TV spots have hit featuring some new battle/actions scenes. Maybe you’ll dig it? If you’re like me, however, you’ll be saying “That’s not moody and dirty at all. It’s so fucking Disney! Fuck this shit!”. Woola -dog-like creature- is pretty cute though….
Earlier this week the trailer finally dropped onto the internets, giving us more than enough to get excited for the Andrew Stanton directed the adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter. In fact we’ve had a nice amount of information about the movie as of late. Enough to know it will be a fun popcorn movie at least.
Ready for more? Some new promo shots were just released and… man, I don’t know. Something about the way John Carter looks here seems oddly familiar.