"John Carter of Mars" Moving Ahead!

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Ptrope, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  2. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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).
     
  3. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  4. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    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 There were also a few outdated ideas (by our standards) presented.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.
     
  5. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Again, understanding the story wasn't a problem. :rolleyes: 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.

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

    That might have helped.
     
  6. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  7. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  8. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Uh, no. There is nothing particularly elevated about either.
     
  10. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    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?

    Fixed.
     
  13. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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!:lol: 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!:lol:

    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!
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
  14. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Saw it last night. No lengthy analysis from me, just a visceral "I enjoyed the hell out of it." :shrug:
     
  15. flcat

    flcat Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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. :techman:
     
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^Not just the women ran around naked.
     
  17. flcat

    flcat Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    True! :)
     
  18. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sadly, I don't think ANY amount of naked women would have made the movie work for me.

    Although... I probably would have at least forced myself to sit through the entire thing. :p
     
  19. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There is a troubling lack of full frontal nudity in mainstream films.
     
  20. Admiral James Kirk

    Admiral James Kirk Writer Admiral

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    Tell that to Dr. Manhattan. :lol: