Monday, December 05, 2011

John Carter of Mars

So, Disney's John Carter of Mars, huh?

There's probably no way that's ever quite going to sound right, is there?

How's the movie look?

I can't help getting the feeling it'll somehow suffer the same fate at discussed in Green Lantern. The trailer suggests that it'll go too far into the wild and wonderful for the "mainstream" to be as successful as it could be, but make too many compromises to appease them to be a truly wonderful new take on the material.

The film comes into focus as John Carter gets a new trailer and poster by Drew McWeeny gets at the problem, "At this point in the campaign, with the film coming out in March, I should be frothing at the mouth, ready to go, dying to see how the whole thing comes together."

I'm certainly hooked enough simply by this existing to go, and the campaign isn't exactly driving me away, but it is missing the hook, and I'm sure that's, if anything, worse for those who don't have the hook of already being fans of the series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

I have to say that the change from "John Carter of Mars" to "John Carter" is a big loser for me, and I'm refusing to acknowledge it. The story I've heard is that the lack of interest in Mars Needs Moms led Disney to believe the "Mars" label isn't marketable. Unfortunately, the interesting thing about the "John Carter of Mars" label is the juxtaposition of a kind of generic white guy name and his positioning as to being "of Mars". Losing "of Mars" makes it just a generic white guy name with no hook at all. I can't imagine too many kids leaping on to get excited about some generic white guy, even with the fantastic creatures in view here.

Not to mention that I think the failure of Mars Needs Moms would probably be better placed on the uninspiring trailer as a whole. I obviously don't have access to the same market research as them, but that seems much more plausible to this potential viewer. And, of course, "Mars Needs Moms" also sounds like it's trying altogether too hard to sound clever.

On the home front, Kimberly Rae has not read the books, so we've initiated a "family reading time" in which we're reading A Princess of Mars together. We were already discussing that we both need to read more, and, while Conan is much too young to appreciate the story, perhaps this can just seamlessly transition when he is.

However both of us will have that book fresh in our heads as comparison, for better or worse, when the movie arrives.

UPDATE: The title of John Carter and why it has everything to do with gender and money in Hollywood by Jill Pantozzi has a more pointed take on that boring sounding title of "John Carter".

Andrew Stanton Says Girls Won’t See Movies With Mars In The Title by Devin Faraci also take issue with the title, perhaps less pointed, but coming down to the same issue.

My take is that whether it's the Mars Needs Moms thing, stupid but vaguely innocuous, or Stanton's explanation, sexist and out of touch, the title "John Carter" in itself is terrible.

Don't bother with what I think, though. If it's an adaptation of "A Princess of Mars", my ticket is already predestined and I admit that. The question is whether one single uninitiated person thinks it sounds even a little bit interesting, and I very much doubt even one does.

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