I went back and forth between choosing this or Mass Effect 3 as our GFR pick of the week. Both properties have me itching to experience them. Both are things I’ve been waiting years for. In the end, however, Mass Effect 3 is a surefire hit, the concluding chapter of one of the most acclaimed game series of its generation. John Carter, however, is a much bigger gamble. The marketing has been hit-or-miss at best at making the movie look appealing. On the other hand, I love Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels, and have faith in Pixar director Andrew Stanton’s ability to pull it off. Early reviews are mostly positive, but I still wonder how many of the general moviegoing public have this movie on their radar at all. That’s why it’s all the more important that fans hit up the opening weekend showings if they can, so that John Carter can build up positive word of mouth — assuming it deserves it. And if it’s disappointing, well, hell, I’d still rather spend my ticket money on a mediocre but ambitious John Carter movie than anything else currently in theaters. People have tossed around plenty of negative comparisons between the early JC footage and the Star Wars prequels, but if John Carter succeeds in the ways I hope it will, it could very well be the movie those films should have been: a big, bold, old-fashioned adventure that transports you back to your childhood and leaves you with a goofy grin on your face.
John Carter arrives in theaters this Friday and carries with it the expectations of long time fans of Burroughs’ groundbreaking sci-fi novels. Early reviews have been decidedly mixed and, if you’re on the fence about whether or not to see it, maybe this will help make up your mind.
Disney has given us the first ten minutes of John Carter to show you. Watch as Carter fights his way through the wild west, shortly before being whisked off to the alien planet of Barsoom…
It’s no secret that we here at Giant Freakin’ Robot are critical of how Disney’s marketing department has handled all the John Carter advertising. At best, the commercials have been pretty but confusing, and at worse they look like somebody left a video of the Geonosis sequence from Attack of the Clones playing. This is not to suggest that I think that John Carter will be a bad movie. On the contrary, given the director involved (Pixar’s Andrew Stanton), I’m looking forward to it putting a giant smile on my face…inside a mostly empty theater. And that’s a damn shame, because if Stanton does nail the material, there’s a good chance we’ll never see a sequel, at least not until they decide to remake it in six months.
So now we’re just over a week away from John Carter‘s release. This is the last chance to win over those moviegoers who don’t know who John Carter is, the vast majority of average joes whose ticket purchases will be crucial to John Carter actually making its budget back, to say nothing of making a profit. With a lot riding on that opening weekend box office, Disney has unleashed their final John Carter trailer on the world. Does it work? Have they finally gotten it right? Should we prepare to arrive early so we won’t have to fight the crowd to find a seat for premiere night?
Sigh. At least we’ve still got that kickass fan trailer…
We’ve seen tons of small moments from the upcoming John Carter film directed by Andrew Stanton, but the big question remains: how well will it all play together? The movie has an uphill battle when it comes to winning over new fans who aren’t familiar with the books, because the core concept, let’s face it, contains a lot of weird ideas. It’s set on Mars, but not a Mars that looks anything like what we know the real Mars is like. It’s got that science fiction-y conceit of going to another planet, but it’s actually set in the aftermath of the American Civil War. There are flying machines and strange devices, but people spend a lot of time fighting with swords. And this Carter guy appears to be a normal human, so how come he’s jumping around like one of the Super Mario Brothers? These concepts may not be hard to swallow for lifelong SF/fantasy fans, but it’s a lot to digest for the uninitiated, and goodness knows Disney’s marketing campaign has done the film no favors.
If there’s one thing that will carry new fans past the confusion, it’s an exciting story well told, and John Carter has all the potential to be just that. Now a new clip released by Yahoo Movies UK has an extended look at one of the action sequences they’ve been teasing for months now: John Carter’s gladiatorial battle against an enormous, blind white ape. Take a look:
I’m not gonna lie: that very first John Carter teaser gave me goosebumps. I’m honest enough to admit, however, that most of my enjoyment came from already loving the property and being excited to see a talented filmmaker – Pixar’s Andrew Stanton – finally bringing it to the big screen. Not to mention the excellent use of Peter Gabriel’s haunting cover of Arcade Fire’s “My Body Is a Cage.” For a casual moviegoer, someone who’s never even heard of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ books, neither the original trailer nor the ones that have followed have done a very good job of answering three crucial questions: who the hell is John Carter, what the hell is going on in this movie, and why the hell should I care?
We should have known there was trouble afoot when Disney dropped the “of Mars” from the end of the title early on. I can understand their concern; the Mars (or Barsoom) on display in the books and the film looks nothing like the Mars we all know from science class, and it’s hard to explain why that is in a two-minute trailer. That’s probably why they’ve also downplayed mentions of the source material – they’re trying desperately to sell John Carter the movie as its own thing. Here’s the problem: it’s not working.
Disney continued it’s uphill battle to get the less imaginative segments of our population on board with John Carter tonight at the Super Bowl. During the broadcast they debuted a brand new, 80-second, epic trailer which splashed the movie’s name across the screen and trumpeted epic music while promising massive adventure.
I hope this works. Check it out…