Pity John Carter. The poor bastard never had a chance. Released several months before the summer movie deluge, Andrew Stanton’s highly anticipated adaptation of the classic 1912 Edgar Rice Burroughs novel A Princess of Mars had the potential to kick start a new blockbuster sci-fi adventure franchise. Unfortunately a series of idiotic marketing decisions in the run-up to the film’s debut and mounds of negative press surrounding the troubled production and its massive $250 million budget effectively sabotaged any chance John Carter had of connecting with audiences and grossing enough at the box office to ensure future sequels and additional ancillary revenue. Though it was very flawed I found the movie to be one of the most entertaining of last year – you can read my review here – yet it seems I was in the minority on that front.
John Carter‘s failure to even make back its budget and marketing costs turned out to be a major strike against the Walt Disney Company; the studio was pilloried for befouling what has been long considered one of the most important (if not THE most important) genre properties in existence by hiring a director inexperienced with live action – Stanton had previously directed several major hits for the company’s computer animation division Pixar – and allowing the costs to mount to the point where the movie’s box office prospects were saddled with unrealistic expectations, and then worsening its already ineffectual reputation even more with a confusing ad campaign that had no idea how to sell the film to the general moviegoing public.
John Carter Blu-ray | Blu-ray 3D | DVD
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Mark Strong, CiarÃ¡n Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy
Walt Disney Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars is the first book in the John Carter of Mars series, which tells the story of a Civil War veteran transported to Mars.
For nearly 100 years, Hollywood has failed in its attempts to bring Burroughs’ classic science-fiction fantasy to the silver screen, though the ideas presented were borrowed by countless other works.
Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series is so old that it actually influenced other influences. From Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian series to the pulpy Flash Gordon serials of the ’30s and ’40s that inspired George Lucas’s Star Wars, the themes and elements of Burroughs’ work have been mined so thoroughly that most moviegoers will find Disney’s live-action film adaptation, John Carter, to be rather irrelevant – but that’s not to say it isn’t entertaining.
John Carter Directed by Andrew Stanton Written by Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon Starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, and Dominic West Walt Disney Pictures Release Date: March 9, 2012
Captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a former Confederate officer who returned from fighting in the Civil War to find his wife and child murdered by Apaches, is now scouring the deserts and hills of Arizona looking for a mysterious cave of gold. When a group of Calvary soldiers attempt to conscript him into their fight against the Apaches in that territory, Carter escapes their clutches and soon manages to find the cave he has been looking for, but a strange and bald being is already there waiting for him. After a brief fight Carter emerges the victor, but his adversary activates a device and speaks the word “Barsoom” before perishing from his wounds. The reluctant soldier is suddenly transported from Earth to a place unfamiliar to him. In his new surroundings, a planet called Barsoom (better known to us as Mars), Carter can leap great distances and has increased strength, but he soon discovers he’s not alone.
Disney’s John Carter opens in theaters everywhere today. The studio’s attempts to rectify their shockingly lackluster marketing campaign in recent months has been bold and commendable. Hopefully their efforts will not be in vain. A minute-long action scene from the film has been released and you can watch it here below.
I like it. Hell I like virtually everything I see and/or hear from this movie. There’s a strong sense of fun and adventure one cannot help but feel from watching this recent trailers and clips. Matched with the impressive visuals and Michael Giacchino‘s grandiose music score, John Carter looks to be one of the few genuine movies released this year that go beyond their massive hype.
Walt Disney Pictures really, really wants you to see John Carter, the movie they’ve been marketing rather poorly up until recently. In fact, the studio is so desperate to gets butts in seats for this big flick that they’re making a 10-minute clip from the movie’s opening available online absolutely FREE!
You can watch the video here below.
All I can say after watching this clip is, “Hot damn.” There is infinitely more humor, adventure, and tension in this clip than in the entirety of recent sci-fi tentpole releases like Cowboys & Aliens and Tron: Legacy.