Monday, April 09, 2012

John Carter of Waterworld

John Carter of Mars, a worthy tome from Edgar Rice Burroghs which Disney sought to be converted into a science fiction blockbuster so people with an aversion to the picture less written word could enjoy the tale as it was meant to be - in glorious 3D. Sadly a wealth of production issues which saw not one, but two reshoots - brought this enormous turkey to our cinema screens and forced the entire Disney corporation to declare a loss this quarter. That’s what you get for giving the best part of a quarter of a billion dollars to Andrew Stanton the animation director who brought us Wall-E for his first live action attempt. Stanton’s defence “I’m not going to get it right first time!” and he’s right, but I’d find it unbelievably to think he’ll be given a second chance.

Assuming that signing the contract was his first, Stanton's second mistake was Taylor Kitsch a more notable TV actor who played Gambit in Wolverine, in other words not someone you'd take a $250m risk on. I won’t say Kitsch was wooden as much as he was vanilla flavoured coke – you can’t judge it until you’ve tried it and now I’m worried about Battleship knowing he’s the lead because vanilla coke is something I've had to spit out. Something that may have contributed to the movie's hefty price tag was a smorgasbord of well-known supporting cast members. Dominic Centurion West and Mark Sherlock Holmes Strong served as dual villains, Willem Defoe and Samantha Morton lent their voice talents to the Thrakks with Ciaran Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Hinds and James Ironclad Purefoy rounding off the cast. The best work was done by composer Michael Giacchino who produced more "perfume for a turd" as he did so wonderfully with Land of the Lost and Speed Racer.

Another problem was that the marketing for this movie was as anemic as Lionsgate had for Conan The Barbarian. Practically non-existent exposure and attempting to convince people at every turn that John Carter wasn't a science fiction epic [to the degree that they removed "of Mars" from its title] didn't help the movie at all. Did they know they had produced something to rival Waterworld as the biggest disgrace on celluloid? It would seem so. It is now confirmed as the biggest box-office bomb in movie history.

I’d have to regard the movie as “mildly entertaining” in so far as I’ve often wondered what it would be like if you could try to meld Star Wars and Flash Gordon together. The hero rescuing a princess that as it turns out can take care of herself was straight out of Star Wars, and the Thrakk arena not only looked like Geonosis from Attack of the Clones but it pitted man against beast in much the same way and ends with one of the main antagonists getting beheaded as fairly lively as Jango Fett; we’ve seen it all before and obviously done much better. The Thrakk were basically Flash Gordon’s Hawkmen who arrive at the last minute to turn the tide of battle and... and... bloody hell this movie was shit… I don’t need to write anymore, just accept it…

Colonel Creedon Rating: *


Storagezilla said...

Your false diety Lucas lifted the arena sequence from A Princess Of Mars. It was Stanton's folly in deciding to do it again and do so poorly.

I don't disagree with your conclusion, nor how you arrived at it but I do look forward to your review of Howard The Duck style bomb 'Red Tails.'

Lieutenant General Creedon said...

That's something Lucas has made perfectly clear in his many, many interviews and books on Star Wars and film-making in general, there are other sequences esewhere in early cinema which inspired him.

When Lucas does it it's masterful however and nets him millions. Stanton has lost millions by doing the same thing.

Praise be to Lucas.