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What Happened to John Carter of Mars?

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Butch007 posted Mar 19 2012, 11:17 PM:
So why haven't you gone to see it or why have you gone to see it? Why do you think it hasn't become a huge block buster that everyone's going to see? I haven't seen the film, but I plan to and I have some ideas on why it hasn't done well. I haven't seen it

1.) Avatar - Even though JCM is an older and beloved story by some on film it's a different animal and very much like Avatar, but released after Avatar making it a copycat of sorts. As bad as it sounds no one knows who JCM is which made the film seem like even more of a copy of Avatar.

2.) Poor Marketing - Avatar (yeah I'm back on that) started promoting the film heavily for months before the release. I mean I remember when the first teaser trailer was shown on the largest Jumbotron in the world at the then newly minted Dallas Cowboys stadium.

3.) Unknown Cast - JCM had an unknown actor in the protagonist role and wasn't marketed at all until about a month before the release, unless you call ads with a black and red logo in limited visibility publications marketing. Even among hardcore ERB admirers John Carter was unknown...the most commonly accepted look for the character is as a guy with short hair: (picture below)

Artician Image
The short hair is pretty important at the beginning because Carter is supposed to seem out of place. He's not sure whether what he's experiencing is real or a dream, but he's definitely not originally from that world where a hair cut is pretty hard to come by.

The film actor basically looks like a slightly bigger version of the long-haired hippy kid of the pastor in "7th Heaven."

4.) The Color Palette Isn't Good - Mars is Red, everyone knows this. In the JCM film the planet is very desert like, which makes sense, but it's yellow/biege so I doubt very many people draw a favorable connection between what they know Mars is and the environments that are seen in the previews of JCM. Even among Sci-fi and/or Sci-fi art enthusiasts it's more likely the environments will draw a comparison to something like DUNE and Tatooine in Star Wars before Mars. The Martians are stereotypical color "Green Aliens" but they still don't look like the aliens most people are accustomed to seeing that are creepy, edgy and don't talk. Again, because the art direction took the characters in to the tall, lean and lanky direction there's going to be a natural inclination towards comparing them to everyone's favorite cool blue aliens and well JCM movie Martians just come out looking puke green. Frazetta's depiction of the Martians in JCM probably wouldn't translate well straight to film they were quite beefy, so that was probably a bad choice.

So that's my take. What's yours?
Post 1
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nemo69 posted Mar 25 2012, 09:46 PM:
John Carter of Mars was re-issued in the early 1980's, I read the books in 7th Grade, along with Elric. John Carter was simply fantastic, even though from the 11 books, I think only 3 or 4 are actually about Carter, the rest simply take place on Mars. The stories were incredible and for years I had thought what a great film it would make. To do it right, you had to find someone that had read the books and loved them.

When I finally saw a trailer for the film, I thought, My God, what have they done? The entire film is miscast, Carter and Dejah Thoris the two biggest mistakes. Both are attractive people, but completely wrong for their parts. Carter should have been more of your basic man, that was his strength, a man who went through Hell on earth, then was transported to Mars. The gravity difference made him have incredible speed and strength. Yes, where is the RED of Mars? Also, forgive me, because it has been 25 years, but I thought Dejah and the other Martians were Red. I might be wrong, but I thought they were. I always pictured Dejah as 5 feet tall and full figured, not the slim girl in the film.

I can't bring myself to see it at the movies, I'll wait for the DVD and hope for extras. Why not a bigger following? Don't know. Carter was big in the 80's, but I guess the others just beat him out. D and D was gaining in popularity and Gamma World never had to big of a following. With Elric, Thieves Sanctuary, Dragon magazine and all the fantasy shows and films, maybe Carter got buried under the growth of fantasy and never re-emerged. I saw the same thing happen with "Gor", a truly dreadful film on all accounts and the Dungeons and Dragons films were just stupid. Maybe Hollywood needs to actually hire people who read and loved these stories and understand why they have tremendous appeal.

Just a thought.
Post 2
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LakeofGlass posted Apr 8 2012, 05:18 PM:
While the subject may have been interesting, nothing that I saw really pulled me in. I've never seen anything about John Carter so I never knew what it was. I've heard from a lot of John Carter fans that it wasn't worth seeing, and if a true fan hates it, I know I would.

Dragon Lance has gotten the same problems also. I mean, all we got was a stupid cartoon that left the authors angry. It was poorly drawn and had poor special effects. Only one of the D&D movies were decent, but still not good enough. They weren't as bad as the DL cartoon that's for sure. So much potential in both but no one seems to be willing to make it as epic as LOTR or even Harry Potter (effects wise). It's a potential gold mine, lol. I admit, I'd probably be worried to see who they would cast as Raistlin.

Who knows, maybe some things are better left untouched.
Post 3
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Butch007 posted Apr 17 2012, 10:25 AM:
I may be going to see it today probably the last showings before it gets booted...wish me luck.
Post 4
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LakeofGlass posted Apr 27 2012, 06:51 AM:
I might wait for Netflix, or Redbox. tongue.gif
Post 5
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Butch007 posted Apr 27 2012, 03:04 PM:
I ended up not seeing it, so Netflix it is.
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