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Old June 23 2012, 08:56 PM   #961
DWF
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

I've never read any of the books and I had no problem following the movie or caring about the characters and I think it was the actors that really made me care about the characters not the direction or the writing.
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Old June 23 2012, 09:13 PM   #962
Temis the Vorta
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Set Harth wrote: View Post
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.
Who says he didn't care about Star Wars walking in the door? Why would anyone bother to go to a Star Wars movie if they didn't care to begin with? I cared to begin with, and loathed the prequels precisely because I did care, and did understand that they should have been a lot better, and how they fell far short.

And to extend your analogy, some teachers are a lot better than others at making kids give a shit about education, just as some writers/directors are better at making readers/an audience care about their stories. In both cases, the skill of the teacher/writer/director is the most important element in creating a good outcome, whether its education or entertainment.

There's a definite correlation between teachers who simply don't give a shit and kids who never learn a thing. I'm personally blessed to have had great teachers, but that's because I went to well-heeled suburban schools. There are plenty of schools where the teachers are shockingly inept and are protected by their unions from getting fired (but that's a whole other rant).
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Old June 23 2012, 09:33 PM   #963
DWF
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Set Harth wrote: View Post
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.
Who says he didn't care about Star Wars walking in the door? Why would anyone bother to go to a Star Wars movie if they didn't care to begin with?
Marketing which normally gets the blame when a movie fails, just as it did this time and with movies like Serenity. But then the Star Wars prequels weren't failures at the box office.
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Old June 23 2012, 09:41 PM   #964
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

DWF wrote: View Post
I've never read any of the books and I had no problem following the movie or caring about the characters and I think it was the actors that really made me care about the characters not the direction or the writing.
I read only the first book about a month or so before the film was released. I found the writing in the book rather dated and often simplistic, but I also saw a wealth of imagination in many of the ideas presented. There were also a few outdated ideas (by our standards) presented.

Still I could see the potential and leaving me to think that a decent updated film of this could be done. And so it wasn't just the actors for me. It was the whole situation and setting. Certainly with today's filmmaking resources I saw no real challenge to bringing the fantastical elements of the book to life onscreen.

I thought Deja Thoris was better served in the film. She is more fleshed out and far more interesting a character than in the book. In the book she's just a (naked) damsel in distress. In the film she is an active participant in the adventure. I thought John Carter was fairly portrayed. I thought the Tharks were well done although candidly the characters of Tars Tarkas, Sola and Sojika didn't feel quite as prominent as in the books. But in truth there are a lot of characters in the story and beyond Carter and Deja it wasn't likely the rest would have been as well fleshed out. To do so the film would probably have had to be perhaps an extra half to one hour longer.

The red men of the book would have looked silly as literally red coloured humans and so the tweaking of them sporting extensive red tattooing was a fair compromise.

One thing I quite liked in the film was how they rationalized how Carter was transported to Mars. In the book he's just there without any explanation. In the film it's clear it's some form of teleportation of a duplicate of him.

Overall, as blasphemous as it might sound to some, I enjoyed the film much more than the book.
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Old June 23 2012, 09:42 PM   #965
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

LaxScrutiny wrote: View Post
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?
Again, understanding the story wasn't a problem. But the movie still didn't get me to care about the characters or believe in the world he was a part of-- a very basic thing that those other scifi classics had no trouble with.

Constructing a world is one thing (deadly dull movies like Chronicles of Riddick or Last Airbender did THAT well enough). But you still have to make the audience give a shit about it.

Gojira wrote: View Post
What would it have taken you to care about John Carter?
Who knows. Maybe some first-person narration like in the book? An actor with some charisma and screen presence?

That might have helped.
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Old June 23 2012, 09:54 PM   #966
Warped9
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

davejames wrote: View Post
Gojira wrote: View Post
What would it have taken you to care about John Carter?
Who knows. Maybe some first-person narration like in the book? An actor with some charisma and screen presence?

That might have helped.
In fairness although the John Carter books may have inspired many things that followed in its wake it's a pity that this film is coming along after all the things it might have inspired were brought to screen. As such JC could feel quite familiar and rehashed even if it served as the original source materiel in printed form.

And what works for some doesn't always work for others. I did get interested in what was happening in John Carter while I couldn't have cared less about what happened in Avatar. And Avatar could boast of more recognizable performers, a renowned director/producer and impressive visuals. That said I didn't care at all for the depiction of the Navi while I really liked the depiction of the Tharks. The "mighty whitey" element and anti-corporate message in John Carter is a lot more subtle than it is in Avatar. Indeed I found a lot in Avatar to be as subtle as a falling anvil.
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Old June 23 2012, 10:05 PM   #967
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Personally, paying for the ticket predisposes me to like the movie, just so the dough's not wasted. After I've invested, the movie makers have to actively fight off my interest and "caring." Unfortunately, some have risen to the challenge.

Many people go to movies to see an actor they feel has charisma (they would like to be or have sex with.) This is a matter of personal taste. There just isn't anything to discuss, merely to announce.

Taylor Kitsch I didn't know but after the tiresome horseplay with Bryan Cranston was finally over, he wasn't a standard he-man hunk. By the end of the movie I was pleased at how he outwitted the Therns and won back to his lady love. The reverse Superman motif was kind of engaging. Dejah Thoris was worth leaving the Earth behind. The difficulty in suspending disbelief in Barsoom (We know Mars is not like that, we've seen the pictures!) paid off for me. Having three openings was rough. But at least the appeals to the hackneyed Confederate vet trope were at least beautifully scored by Giacchino.

I liked it better than any of the Dune movies. Avatar was better, but then, Avatar's "hero" won by confessing man's iniquity to enlist the help of A Science Fiction God That Really Works. So, despite superficial appearances, John Carter is not the same kind of movie as Avatar. It's much more of a planetary romance than a more science fictional effort than Avatar or even Dune. Star Wars was better too. But really, Avatar and Star Wars are pretty high bars.
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Old June 23 2012, 10:12 PM   #968
LaxScrutiny
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

davejames wrote: View Post
LaxScrutiny wrote: View Post
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?
Again, understanding the story wasn't a problem. But the movie still didn't get me to care about the characters or believe in the world he was a part of-- a very basic thing that those other scifi classics had no trouble with..
OK, now we have progressed from "they didn't ground it in the real world" to "They didn't move from the real world to a fantasy world in a way I could understand" to "I understood the grounding in a real world, and I understood the teleportation to a fanstasy world, but they did nothing to make me care about the characters." Why you didn't say that in the first place...

The "real life" experience of John Carter in the old West made him a sympathetic character for me, and Deja Thoris' own conflict and the demands put upon her to give up her life's work and marry the tyrant threatening her kingdom made her sympathic as well. If it didn't work for you, I can't argue that, but the elements of the story existed.

I think the next step is for you to say that the story was fine, it was the presentation that didn't do it for you.
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Old June 23 2012, 10:27 PM   #969
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

stj wrote: View Post
But really, Avatar and Star Wars are pretty high bars.
Uh, no. There is nothing particularly elevated about either.
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Old June 23 2012, 11:26 PM   #970
DWF
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Warped9 wrote: View Post
davejames wrote: View Post
Gojira wrote: View Post
What would it have taken you to care about John Carter?
Who knows. Maybe some first-person narration like in the book? An actor with some charisma and screen presence?

That might have helped.
In fairness although the John Carter books may have inspired many things that followed in its wake it's a pity that this film is coming along after all the things it might have inspired were brought to screen. As such JC could feel quite familiar and rehashed even if it served as the original source materiel in printed form.
I can agree with this but I doubt if the movie could've have been as well made too many years back. Maybe if Ray Harryhasusen has done the visual effects it might've worked, but really this movie was well serviced by the advances in CGI.
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Old June 23 2012, 11:44 PM   #971
Warped9
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

DWF wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
davejames wrote: View Post

Who knows. Maybe some first-person narration like in the book? An actor with some charisma and screen presence?

That might have helped.
In fairness although the John Carter books may have inspired many things that followed in its wake it's a pity that this film is coming along after all the things it might have inspired were brought to screen. As such JC could feel quite familiar and rehashed even if it served as the original source materiel in printed form.
I can agree with this but I doubt if the movie could've have been as well made too many years back. Maybe if Ray Harryhasusen has done the visual effects it might've worked, but really this movie was well serviced by the advances in CGI.
Agreed. Thats true of a great many films. Spider-Man and many others really needed cgi to be realized properly. Films like Lord Of The Rings would also have been very challenged without cgi.

I come back to blaming the incredibly poor and inept marketing for a lot of the negative buzz towards John Carter. Sure not everyone will like it, but many who have seen have indeed liked it. And Disney seems committed to all but burying the film with a very lacklustre BluRay/DVD release.
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Old June 24 2012, 12:14 AM   #972
Set Harth
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Set Harth wrote: View Post
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.
Who says he didn't care about Star Wars walking in the door?
He did. The director had to MAKE him care about what was happening in the film, just like teachers have to MAKE students care about education and do the job their druggie parents failed to do. The common thread being that you can't make someone care, and it wouldn't be anyone's job to do so even if you could.

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
In both cases, the skill of the teacher/writer/director is the most important element in creating a good outcome, whether its education or entertainment.
Wrong. In the old days when we had a concept of accountability not solely restricted to scapegoating teachers, it was understood that student effort was the determinant of success. The crappiest teacher in the world won't hold back a student who does the work. Isn't it interesting that in every other area of life, showing up with a terrible attitude and doing as little work is possible is expected to produce a negative outcome, with education as a conspicuous exception?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
There's a definite correlation between parents and kids who simply don't give a shit and kids who never learn a thing.
Fixed.
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Old June 24 2012, 01:50 AM   #973
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Two side notes: First, Star Wars, meaning Star Wars now redubbed A New Hope, was incredibly innovative, visually, and even musically (reviving orchestral scores.) Similarly, whatever your problems with Avatar, it was a milestone in world visualization and the first artistically successful use of 3D. Whether you dislike the childishness of the force in Star Wars or can't accept the God That Really Works in Avatar will certainly keep them from being as entertaining for you. Being entertaining however is not the same thing as being good, even if entertaining stuff usually does something well. Creativity counts most of all when you try to assess a work's literary or dramatic quality. That's why John Carter was even remembered in the first place. Burroughs was skilled at writing action scenes but the rest? Blech. It was his originality that mattered most.

Second, the phrase "teacher who cares" is too vague to constitute a point. Is the teacher who grades to high standards (i.e., "fails" students) the one who cares? Or is it the one who is concerned with students' self-esteem, instead of crushing it beneath meaningless paperwork standards? Teachers should just be fair? But what's fair, treating everyone the same? Or taking their differences into account? Saying "good teachers" isn't saying anything.

Businessmen tend to dominate discussions of education. As should be expected, their collective ignorance, arrogance and shameless determination to serve their own interests above all else make their opinions ridiculous. Businessmen can't even ask the question of who the "customer" is supposed to be! They can't decide whether the teacher is supposed to be a salesman, luring customers to buy the product ("learn") or low level managers breaking in an unruly labor force, sort of like a manager at McDonald's. One thing even a businessman should figure out, they can't be both!

Bircher trash and other conservatives have been influencing businessmen since the Red Scare and business propaganda for "free enterprise" flooded the schools. Business influence in the construction of school buildings is hugely important, as is business influence on curriculum. That's far more important than teacher unions. We can tell because the states without teacher union contracts are pretty much the same as those with.

PS Businessmen who unhesitatingly affirm the teacher is like a low level manager still somehow forget to notice that the teacher has less authority than a manager at MacDonald's!
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Last edited by stj; June 24 2012 at 06:19 PM.
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Old June 24 2012, 03:48 PM   #974
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Saw it last night. No lengthy analysis from me, just a visceral "I enjoyed the hell out of it."
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Old June 25 2012, 04:22 PM   #975
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Re: "John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

stj wrote: View Post
But, if it had been called John Carter of Motherflipin' Mars, Samuel L. Jackson could have done promos. The movie would have been a monster hit!

Despite the imperfections in the script, they were nothing to the imperfections in the Barsoom novels. These guys did an amazing job to make something as musty as that into a rather entertaining movie that didn't just grossly pander to
overgrown thirteen year boys. You wish people would appreciate what an achievement the script was, so much more impressive than others. But all that really got reviewed is the budget, the marketing and the box office.
PoM was a straight ahead action book and was never intended to be anything more. It works well as an adventure story. And, if you talk with most writers, I think you'll find they are more interested in writing something that sells and puts food on the table, and not so worried about producing "art for the ages."

About the movie, if the women in the film ran around naked like they did in the original books, I think that would have put a LOT MORE thirteen year old butts in the seats than ANY amount of massaging the film's title possibly could.
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