Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by KL700, Mar 6, 2012.
Yes, but knocking JOHN CARTER for being true to its source material is not good criticism.
Until someone else does it at least half as well - yes.
Don't hold your breath.
The final shot explains it all.
I've seen the movie, including the final shot (and title card). I still think it would have been better to market the movie as "John Carter of Mars".
There's no other choice, it should have been Warlord of Mars. Ditch "John Carter" entirely, it's a boring, vanilla name and nobody knows the guy. The only resonance it has is that it sounds like the character on a soap or maybe a dimly-remembered doctor show....John Carter, MD, was that it...?
But a movie about a "warlord" on "Mars" is evocative and intriguing, and it summarizes the appeal of the movie - fighting, power and exotic locale. It can't be mistaken for anything else. The other important element is Dejah Thoris of course, but she can be prominently displayed in the ads, so there you got the whole package: "fighting for power and busty babe on exotic world."
Then in the next movie, once everyone know who the fuck John Carter is, they can have his name in the title. That's assuming they ever get a next movie.
^ John Carter was Noah Wyle's character on ER.
Warlord of Mars would have been much more striking and commanding as a title.
Disney wasn't going anywhere near Mars after Mars Needs Moms, sorry.
The title was never going to sell or kill this one. I mean, Cameron made more money than anyone in history with a film whose title basically meant "funny little picture you use on the Internet" to most people.
Sure the title could be jazzier, and the film marketed better, but I was quite happy and entertained for two hours. Lynn Collins and Taylor Kitsch were fine as Dejah Thoris and John Carter.
But as against that, it was the first movie from JAMES CAMERON in a decade, his first movie since Titanic, the most successful movie of all time and it was well-known that it was going to raise the SFX bar the way that had last been done by JAMES CAMERON with Terminator 2. Hell, it could have been called Sam Does Pandora and it would still have been a hit!
Hmm...and Titanic was the historical costume drama that Cameron made which became the most successful movie in history (until Avatar), when historicals and costume dramas usually struggle to turn profits on the kinds of budgets that Merchant Ivory and the Weinsteins can provide.
^ Oh yeah, I'm not slagging him off, I think the man's a huge talent. Practically everyone expected Titanic to flop; I certainly don't think anyone expected it to be the most successful movie ever. He seems to be able to confound expectations - which is why Avatar could have been called anything it wants and still been a hit. Andrew Stanton just doesn't have that sort of name recognition.
So are we going to create a real review/poll thread and finally let this thread DIE?
This thread is poory named.
Hah, I knew there was some guy with that name on a doctor show! (I never watched ER). I even looked up Anthony Edwards on imdb to see if it was him.
James Cameron can get away with whatever title he liked. (I wouldn't lay odds that most people even knew any of the definitions of "avatar" - it was probably just some weird sci-fi-y word to a lot of people.)
Doesn't everyone remember the immense pre-release hooplah about that movie? It was Titanic all over again...it's costing too much money, oh no, he's really gone and blown it this time...or has he? Are the effects really as groundbreaking as they say? Just the curiosity factor would get butts in seats.
No way John Carter has that kind of high profile. It's just another silly, disposable sci fi movie, and it's about to bomb.
Roger Ebert gave it two and a half stars, which is not too shabby...considering.
Since we spent so much time talking about the negative reviews, here's another positive review from a more genre-friendly critic: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/54133
A two and a half stars rating is considered a slight thumbs down from Ebert. He gave the same movie a rotten score on rottentomatoes.
The review in the Canadian Sun Media papers was written by a fan of the books who compares the film to David Lynch's Dune (and not in a good way) and says its problem is it gets bogged down in the politics and everything. Plus he wants to know what marketing genius decided to drop the "of Mars" from the title:
One interesting comparison is he points out how Lucas gave us a simple accessible story when the Star Wars movies began, and he saved all the political stuff and scientific explanation for the Force until later. Apparently John Carter goes overboard with the detail right away and apparently tosses in a Jar-Jar Binks for good measure, the reviewer says.
The big difference for me between John Carter and Avatar is that we knew Avatar was coming ever since Titanic was still in the theatres and Cameron's people never let us forget it. I didn't even know there was an adaptation of the Burroughs novel until about two months ago when reprints of the original books and comics began showing up for no apparent reason.
No, that's not the big difference.
The big difference was that Cameron's movie was enormously appealing to most people who saw it, all over the world, who then recommended to lots of other people that they see it. That includes most reviewers, of course. Christ, the thing was popular enough in China to annoy the government.
A lot of skiffy fans are underwhelmed by Avatar or resentful of it in one fashion or another but that does not, as someone around here likes to say, entitle them to their own facts. Neither "Cameron's people" nor anyone else is able to market or otherwise game anything beyond the box office receipts for the first day or two, and quite often not even that.
For example Disney's people, who know a couple of things about marketing and have managed to produce more than a couple of films that lots of people have enjoyed, seem not to be able to accomplish much on John Carter's behalf.
What, you think with a 250 million dollar investment on the line they just, I dunno, lost a post-it note they wrote to themselves reminding them to promote the thing? Here's a thought: maybe based on all their research, experience, showing parts of the movie to people etc. they could not find any approach to presenting the actual product that clicked with potential filmgoers who weren't already in love with the material.
The responses of reviewers and the movie fans online at places like, oh, Rotten Tomatoes certainly point in one direction: that the reactions of people watching the movie range from excited to tepid to confused to bored without a sufficient preponderance at the "excited" end of the scale to avoid apparent disaster for the studio here. It's down to 47 percent at RT - falling bit by bit as people see the movie and report back on it - and this Chicago Tribune review suggests just what might be one of the real reasons people aren't thrilled:
If people who paid to watch Avatar had felt the same way after seeing it that people watching John Carter appear to, that movie would have tanked hard too. "Marketing," my ass.
I'll see John Carter this weekend and expect from what I've seen that I'll like it a lot, but hell I liked Green Lantern so I don't need to kid myself that what entertains me is a guide to what other people will like. The couple of people I know who are going to see JC because significant others insist on it are already uninterested and resentful in advance. Fans seem to like useless anecdotal "facts" of that kind, so I'll play too.
The two mainstream reviews I've seen today, in the Independent and the Guardian, both slated it big time. They do tend to slate sci-fi and blockbuster movies by and large, but IIRC they were broadly positive about the likes of X-Men First Class or Captain America last year.
It's just not looking good for Mr Carter.
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