John Carter was one of the biggest box office black eyes that the Company has seen in a long time. Blame was pointed everywhere, from Marketing to famed animation director Andrew Stanton.
But is this a movie you should avoid or one you should embrace now that it is available on Blu-ray?
I have to admit that I had a high interest in this film when the first inklings started to appear online. It looked epic and many Disney bloggers were finding it hard to contain their fan-boy praise of the novel.
I reviewed the novelization/original novel at Imaginerding and I was actually glad to have read it before seeing the movie, since it answered some nagging questions that kept popping up.
As expected, the movie veers slightly from the book in order to sate a modern viewer. In the original 1912 novel, Edgar Rice Burroughs paints the Princess as a more demur and flowery Martian. She is feisty, like a good princess should be, but she wasn't involved in the battles like the movie version.
Right off the bat, I found the terminology of the Martian language and caste system to be a hindrance to the film. Even though I had read the novel and knew all of the characters, it was still difficult to follow the alliances made and the names of some of the characters. Jeddak, Dejah, Tharks, Zodanga...all seem to run together at first and we were still piecing together the characters by the film's end. Are we pulling for the army with the red or blue capes?
I remember a lot of marketing that touted John Carter as the major influence of most modern science fiction/fantasy novels and films. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg credit the book as an inspiration, so I was looking for ways to tie this film back to Star Wars. As a friend put it after previewing the film with me, it was weird thinking that it was copying Star Wars when Star Wars copied the novel in some aspects. That being said, I really felt like I was watching the Geonosis scenes from Attack of the Clones for most of the John Carter film.
John Carter is epic. The vistas and locations are huge. The Martians are credible and extremely photo-realistic. The animation of the characters was so well done that you actually paid attention to the acting versus the effects.
The effects were superb and Disney did a great job with their first major CGI production. They created a living world that had as much credibility as one could hope for. I also never felt like the film used special effects just to use special effects. To me, knowing Stanton's background, he used the CGI to create the world and the special effects are a part of that world instead of dominating it! It never felt like the special effects overpowered the film, like you see in some summer movie releases.
The highlight of the entire film was Woola, the six-legged, dog-like creature that becomes Carter's best friend and protector. Everytime Woola was on screen, he stole the scene and provide the major comedy of the film. Disney could extend the franchise by creating some Pixar-like Woola shorts for some of their future sci-fi releases.
The extras on the Blu-ray are alright for a film of this caliber. My favorite extra was 100 Years in the Making, which looks at Edgar Rice burroughs and the creation of the original pulp series. You get a greater sense of how influential Princess of Mars really was.
Blu-ray bonus features:
John Carter is a fun film, but when you stack it up against a tremendous blockbuster like The Avengers, you can see how it falls short of the mark in several areas. The film has a good story, but didn't seem to capture our attention for the whole film. If you like the book or are a fan of the novels, then you should definitely check it out. It is a great Saturday night popcorn film with friends and family.
So, is John Carter a purchase or a rental?
What did you think about the film after all of the media and marketing hype? Would a different marketing plan have made the movie better received?
By George Taylor
The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at George@MiceChat.com or Jeff@BamferProductions.com
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You can also see us EVERY week on Communicore Weekly on the Mice Chat Youtube Channel
Tickets are now on sale for the
COMMUNICORE WEEKLY 38TH WEEKAVERSARY
EPCOT 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!
EPCOT 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!
Come celebrate EPCOT's 30th Anniversary in style with a live taping of MiceChat's Communicore Weekly! Join co-hosts Jeff Heimbuch & George Taylor, along with MiceChat's Dusty Sage, Kevin Yee, and the Communicore Weekly Orchestra, for a fun-filled night of fandom and frivolity as they tape a special hour long episode of the hit show, Communicore Weekly.
Join us on the evening of Saturday, September 29th 2912 in the Norway Pavilion Special Events Lounge in EPCOT's World Showcase for this one of a kind event!
Your ticket includes:
- Admission into the live taping of CW in the Norway Pavilion of EPCOT (note: admission into the park is NOT included)!
- Meet special guest, Ron Schneider, the original Dreamfinder!
- Decadent dessert reception!
- Short scavenger hunt hosted by Kevin Yee before the show will be available to those who would like to participate (prizes will be awarded)!
- Prizes, giveaways and more!
- The chance to be a part of EPCOT and Communicore Weekly history!
- Endless Five Legged Goats and perhaps even a real life Bathroom Break!
- Exclusive late night ride after park closing on a selected EPCOT attraction to cap off the evening!
For more tickets and more information, be sure to visit MiceChat.com/store!