Monday, April 23, 2012

John Carter of Mars

The nefarious FILM CRITIC HULK does a great job of dissecting the screenplay to this movie here. If you have the time and interest you should definitely read it. The main problem with this movie is three fold.

1. Too late. The book used as the source material for this movie has been cherry picked of most plot points. To be fair, the book is 100 years old. Supposedly George Lucas wanted to make this into a movie in the 70's and couldn't get the rights, or funding or something. So he went ahead and made Star Wars instead. Ha. But my point is most science fiction stories (films, tv, games) have taken some part of the plot of the "Princess of Mars" books over the century. It was never going to be a fresh tale.

2. Too confusing. When Disney settled on making this film, they really wanted it to be epic. What they ended up commissioning was a jumbled mess with too many clans, characters, openings and endings. If I recall correctly, there are 5 sides to the war in this movie. The two mortal "red skins". One group wears blue, the other have red clothes. Then there are the 4 armed actual "martians". Then we have the super-beings that are like the observers (if you watch Fringe). Lastly, we have John Carter, our hero. That's just me listing the sides. The plot would take too much time for me to lay out. Plus it's not worth it.

3. Marketing. You knew the movie was in trouble when it went from "Princess of Mars" (because Disney was afraid no boys would show up) to "John Carter of Mars" (really butched it up) and then ended on the super generic "John Carter" (because the recent failure of the cartoon "Mars Needs Mom" must have failed due to the word Mars). Now to be fair, when your story is as convoluted as this movie, I'm sure it's no easy task to market. That being said, there is a fair amount of action you can cherry pick to make it seem like an action epic. Just fool enough people the first week to get butts in seats, no?

All of this really was too bad, because big budget stories should be fun. Plus the director made Wall-E for goodness sake. Come on, man! How do you go from that to this? That movie had heart, scope and action. I'm going to have to believe that had little to do with you, which might be unfair, but the proof is in the pudding.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?
Nope. (try to find it, anyways)

Would you buy it?

Would you rent it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?
Pralle not.


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