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Old June 22 2012, 01:03 PM   #946
Forbin
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

FWIW, I sat down and watched "Wings" a few weeks ago. Silent, B&W, and absolutely brilliant fillmaking. A much better film than such sophisticated modern genre films as Red Tails, Fly Boys, Stealth...
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Old June 23 2012, 07:26 AM   #947
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Ugh. I gave it my best shot, but after about 40 minutes I just couldn't take it anymore.

The movie certainly looked cool and fun and exciting, and the story was perfectly easy to follow... but it just never made me care for a SECOND about what was happening.

Say what you will about Avatar, but James Cameron at least knew how to draw you into the story properly, and get you invested in the characters and what was going on from the very start. He introduced everything very gradually, and grounded us as much as possible in Jake's world before throwing all the crazy alien customs and creatures and tall blue people at us.

John Carter basically just throws us head-first into this whole other world (with people flying weird alien ships on an alternate version of Mars, characters with mysterious agendas in the 19th century, and strange deserts with 4-limbed green aliens) without grounding or explaining ANY of it properly beforehand.

The result was something about as dull and lifeless as watching a CG battle between Gungans and Battle Droids, or listening to Queen Amidala drone on about tariffs and trade disputes.

Which is too bad, because the direction and production quality here are clearly so much BETTER than the prequels (well, except for the very silly and unconvincing jumping effects). But in the end I still found it just as terminally dull.

Last edited by davejames; June 23 2012 at 07:52 AM.
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Old June 23 2012, 08:52 AM   #948
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Forbin wrote: View Post
Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
Some people are actually able to appreciate literature, poetry, art, theater, motion pictures et al from different times and places.
You don't really think a silent film could win an Oscar or some other film award in our sophisticated day and age, do you? Only some kind of bullshit Artist could think that.
How did we go from "can appreciate things from different times" to "couldn't win an oscar today" in one post!??!
Read some of Yminale's posts above mine, and the point may become clearer.
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Old June 23 2012, 04:08 PM   #949
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

davejames wrote: View Post
John Carter basically just throws us head-first into this whole other world (with people flying weird alien ships on an alternate version of Mars, characters with mysterious agendas in the 19th century, and strange deserts with 4-limbed green aliens) without grounding or explaining ANY of it properly beforehand..
I guess you missed the part with the cowboys and indians. Seriously, we got plenty of grounding in Carter's world, which thoroughly contrasted with the strangeness of the world he ended up on. The opening scene with airship fight was relatively brief, and not dissimilar to the opening of A New Hope, in that it cuts back to the relatively normal life in the desert (for both Carter and Skywalker) and then moves into the wild action, with the mysterious agenda characters gradually revealed throughout the films. Of the two, I'd say Carter paced it better than ANH, but that's me. But I have to factually disagree that they didn't do any of what you're asking for.
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Old June 23 2012, 04:41 PM   #950
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Maybe some would have liked a scrolling written exposition first.

On a planet far away...
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Old June 23 2012, 06:00 PM   #951
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

LaxScrutiny wrote: View Post
I guess you missed the part with the cowboys and indians. Seriously, we got plenty of grounding in Carter's world, which thoroughly contrasted with the strangeness of the world he ended up on. The opening scene with airship fight was relatively brief, and not dissimilar to the opening of A New Hope, in that it cuts back to the relatively normal life in the desert (for both Carter and Skywalker) and then moves into the wild action, with the mysterious agenda characters gradually revealed throughout the films. Of the two, I'd say Carter paced it better than ANH, but that's me. But I have to factually disagree that they didn't do any of what you're asking for.
Yeah but with ANH it's established from the start that this is a complete fantasy world with no connection to our own, the conflict is about as simple and easy to understand as can be, and Luke, R2 and 3PO were all so damn engaging and likeable that they drew you into the story immediately.

Carter on the other hand has this weird mishmash of real world and fantasy that is never explained, various tribes of people fighting each other over who knows what, and a bunch of grim, unlikeable characters you couldn't care less about. The only one who seemed remotely engaging was Thoris, but by the time we got to her the movie had already lost me.


It would be like if ANH started out by saying that everything you were watching took place in our solar system 100 years ago. You'd spend half the movie going "Huh? What? How?!?"
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Old June 23 2012, 06:09 PM   #952
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

davejames wrote: View Post
John Carter basically just throws us head-first into this whole other world (with people flying weird alien ships on an alternate version of Mars, characters with mysterious agendas in the 19th century, and strange deserts with 4-limbed green aliens) without grounding or explaining ANY of it properly beforehand.
John Carter is a fish-out-of-water tale. The audience learns about Barsoom and how it works as Carter works it out for himself. That's the way that Burroughs set up the story originally and that Michael Chabon hewed to in adapting it. It's a story that expects some intelligence on the part of its audience to work it out. Building Barsoom first and then dropping Carter into it wouldn't be true to Burroughs' story.
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Old June 23 2012, 06:40 PM   #953
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
John Carter is a fish-out-of-water tale. The audience learns about Barsoom and how it works as Carter works it out for himself. That's the way that Burroughs set up the story originally and that Michael Chabon hewed to in adapting it. It's a story that expects some intelligence on the part of its audience to work it out. Building Barsoom first and then dropping Carter into it wouldn't be true to Burroughs' story.
Well the book is also a first person narrative told from the perspective of John Carter, which makes it immediately more engaging than how the movie tried to do it. We spend quite a bit of time in Carter's head and get to know him pretty well before he's transported to Mars. And then we experience all the weird, crazy shit through his eyes.

That makes a WORLD of difference in getting the audience invested in a story like this (as Cameron clearly understood with his movie).

Hell, I've only just read the first couple chapters of Princess of Mars, and the book has already set everything up SO much better than the movie. It's just no comparison.
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Old June 23 2012, 06:43 PM   #954
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

^Exactly. The way I saw it it was part of the whole idea behind the story is that it is supposed to be weird and possibly even confusing (although never found myself confused once during the movie) at first, but then as it goes along we start getting comfortable with everyone and are able to follow what's going on easier.
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Old June 23 2012, 06:54 PM   #955
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

davejames wrote: View Post
Yeah but with ANH it's established from the start that this is a complete fantasy world with no connection to our own
Well if you couldn't already make that connection right off with trailers showing him fighting fantastical creatures then I don't know what to say. There was nothing at all hard about following this film.
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Old June 23 2012, 07:05 PM   #956
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Warped9 wrote: View Post
davejames wrote: View Post
Yeah but with ANH it's established from the start that this is a complete fantasy world with no connection to our own
Well if you couldn't already make that connection right off with trailers showing him fighting fantastical creatures then I don't know what to say. There was nothing at all hard about following this film.
Following it? No. But getting emotionally involved in any of it? Yes.

I need my movies to do more than just say "Here's a bunch of strange shit that's happening. Now start caring about it." That's where Lucas went wrong with TPM. It's the director's job to MAKE us care.
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Old June 23 2012, 07:31 PM   #957
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

I cared.
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Old June 23 2012, 08:00 PM   #958
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

I get it. Films like Nosferatu, Metropolis, War of the Worlds, I had an impossible time following them because they never made it clear that it was fantasy that wasn't supposed to reflect real life. Don't get me started on movies like Sky Captain and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or the Downey Sherlock Holmes. How is a viewer supposed to have a clue? I don't know what the writers were thinking.

But at least we've progressed from "They didn't ground it in the real world first" to "They didn't move from the real world to a fantasy world in a clear enough way for me to understand what was going on."

Now maybe you were in the washroom for the part where he was teleported from the cave?
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Old June 23 2012, 08:01 PM   #959
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

davejames wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
davejames wrote: View Post
Yeah but with ANH it's established from the start that this is a complete fantasy world with no connection to our own
Well if you couldn't already make that connection right off with trailers showing him fighting fantastical creatures then I don't know what to say. There was nothing at all hard about following this film.
Following it? No. But getting emotionally involved in any of it? Yes.

I need my movies to do more than just say "Here's a bunch of strange shit that's happening. Now start caring about it." That's where Lucas went wrong with TPM. It's the director's job to MAKE us care.
What would it have taken you to care about John Carter?
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Old June 23 2012, 08:49 PM   #960
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

davejames wrote: View Post
I need my movies to do more than just say "Here's a bunch of strange shit that's happening. Now start caring about it." That's where Lucas went wrong with TPM. It's the director's job to MAKE us care.
Just like it's the teacher's job to make kids give a shit about education, make them better people and fix their priorities in life, right?

If you don't care about Star Wars walking in the door, there's not much a latter-day SW film can do about it.
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