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Worlds Without End Blog

John Carter (of Mars) Trailer! Posted at 12:06 AM by Dave Post

Dave Post

I’m a huge fan of the Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs and when I heard they were making a movie, a serious non-SyFy movie, mind you,  I still had the same reaction I always have when one of my favorite books gets the movie treatment: "Great, I hope they don’t f*** it up."

I’ve gone from so much hope in the idea to so much bitter disappointment in the execution in previous movie adaptations that I’ve become more than a little jaded to these things. It’s a self defense mechanism. If they screw it all to hell then I’m prepared for the letdown and I don’t have so far to fall. If somehow the stars align and they get it right then I’m pleasantly surprised.  Not a bad way to exit the theater.

After seeing this trailer for John Carter I’m feeling pretty damn optimistic that the stars are favorable for Disney. John looks bad-ass but not overly muscled. I like Boris Vallejo’s John as much as the next guy but this John just looks right. Dejah Thoris looks appropriately gorgeous and capable – like someone worth fighting for. And as for Tars Tarkas, mighty Jeddak of Thark? Freakin’ amazing! This is the best rendition of a Thark that I’ve ever seen.  The look of the film is spot on for me. Oh, and nobody is running around stark naked. I’m down with that… except maybe for Dejah Thoris.

What do you guys think? Am I setting myself up for a fall?

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Rico Simpkins   |   14 Jul 2011 @ 15:14

It might be audience, not the producers, that is the main obstacle to this one. One of the charms of the JCoM series is that its audience thought there might actually be intelligent life on Mars. We mistook streaks of dust in the Martian atmosphere as canals, hence, evidence of civilization. This made speculation on Martian life very exciting. I’m not sure that today’s audiences will be able to suspend their disbelief in the same way.

Dave Post   |   14 Jul 2011 @ 15:44

@Rico Simpkins: I don’t know. I think the audience is ready to buy anything when it comes to SF so long as it’s intelligent and well crafted. The canals have been demystified, certainly, but it’s still fun to consider what might have been if they were real. It’s the "what if" that makes it fun.

Rico Simpkins   |   14 Jul 2011 @ 17:21

It would be funny if John Carter goes to some uninhabited desert and runs across a Mars rover.

Mattastrophic   |   14 Jul 2011 @ 21:25

@Rico’s first comment: I agree. Suspension of Disbelief is the problem (it’s a vocabulary term I’m having my literature students learn right now). I can enjoy Bester’s The Demolished Man even though it has a scene in a suburb of sorts on Venus, despite the fact that some years after that book was published we learned just what an uninhabitable hell world it is, but other readers/viewers (read "touch-and-go SF fans") might not be so generous with their suspension of disbelief. I REALLY need someone to help me here: what is the appeal of Princess of Mars and the whole John Carter series? I’ve never read it, it seems very very pulpy to me, more Conan-style fantasy than science fiction, and just like something whose time has passed. I watched part of the SyFy movie with Anthony Sabato Jr….which was atrocious (it explained "Mars" as in another galaxy or some such bs), although I am willing to reserve my judgement of the series as a whole, but I really need someone to explain the appeal to me here.

Dave Post   |   14 Jul 2011 @ 21:41

@Mattastrophic: I wrote a blog post about my love of Pulp SF some time back that might help you understand the appeal. It includes discussion of the Barsoom series: By the way, if you go judging a book by it’s SyFy treatment we shall have to part ways, never to speak again. I have spoken. ;)

Mattastrophic   |   14 Jul 2011 @ 22:01

Don’t worry, I think it’s good policy not to judge a book by its made-for-tv adaptation alone. I found it on Audible for about $6, so I might check it out. Actually, I found 5 adaptations of it on Audible, which is unusual…

Emil   |   15 Jul 2011 @ 01:57

Oh dear, it appears I have a serious gap in my SF education. I’m sadly unfamiliar with this series *hides head in shame* The trailer does look very appealing. As usual, I now need to yet again go scour used books shops for this series (unless there exists an omnibus?). It certainly is fantasy, so I guess we’ll have to leave the ‘science’ bias at the entrance.

Emil   |   15 Jul 2011 @ 02:27

Scratch the scouring! They are available for free download at manybooks and feedbooks. It appears the general copyright for the first five and the Australian copyright for the remainder have expired. Can’t wait to rekindle my love for Pulp by now starting the reading!

Rico Simpkins   |   15 Jul 2011 @ 04:19

You can also find them for free in the resources section of Worlds Without End:

Emil   |   15 Jul 2011 @ 06:16

Thanks @Rico. Would have thought that I should have known that :)

Glenn   |   16 Jul 2011 @ 17:57

Well, when the series was written, Lowel was the authority, so the SF reflected that. SF was also in it’s infancy in the US, so what we would cal pulp was just about all that was being written.Mattastrophic – try keeping in mind the target readership: young adult males. Action, adventure, scantily clad women. So SF is just a plot device to get the story going.Besides, Mars is so much more interesting than what mainstream science tells us. Canals, not so much, ancient civilization, yes. To bad the mainstream is so afraid of fundamental paradigm changes.

GeneralRapunzel   |   27 Jul 2011 @ 08:45

I am with you – I love love love the JCoM series, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I actually have a couple first editions. I remember asking for these books for Christmas as a ten or twelve year old, and my mum looked as if she were thinking "why can’t my daughter be more like me and look down on scifi?" My dad, however, was thrilled. And I was so excited when I heard they were doing this adaptation, but also that they were putting a lot time and money into it (for a relatively unknown scifi series of a dead author). This trailer makes me think that the wait might be worth it!

Dave Post   |   27 Jul 2011 @ 08:56

@GeneralRapunzel: Another optimist! I envy you your first editions. I’d love to have a set of these as first editions. The covert art is really great even though it’s not very accurate. I’m waiting for a second trailer to come out. I suspect there will be more special effects on display the next go ’round. I want to see more Tars Tarkas than a 1 second clip.

GeneralRapunzel   |   27 Jul 2011 @ 09:00

@Dave Post: They were the only editions my dad could find for a couple of the series at the time, so I really lucked out. One my mum found at my school fundraiser. I agree, I can’t wait for the second trailer. And if they are already doing promotions for it, when it comes out in 6 or 7 months, that’s a good sign that they have faith that the movie will do well if they get the word out, right? Or is that wishful thinking?

Dave Post   |   27 Jul 2011 @ 09:28

@GeneralRapunzel: I’ll take it as a good sign. It looks bad-ass and they know it and want to show it off – build some anticipation. You can tell they’re not done with all the effects. I’m hoping it will have a bit of a red tint to it to make it look more Mars-ish but the ships and technology look way better than what I pictured so I’m digging the look over-all. My biggest concern, as always with any adaptation, is the story. I wonder if they’re sticking to A Princess of Mars or if they’re going to dip into several books? I’d prefer they do just the one book so they have plenty of original material for sequels!

Glenn   |   27 Jul 2011 @ 15:24

@Dave Post To my understanding, the typical mars technocolor red we all know and hate is actually NASA fiddling with the signal received. There’s eye witness testimony, from the early days, of people just turning the red up on the individual TV sets. Lot better ways to do this tampering now of course. And when you start comparing things we sent up there, which we know what their color is, to how they look via NASA image processing, something strange is obvious going on. Mars has to look like an alien planet, hence the ungainly redness. It can’t look like the deserts of AZ. It seems NASA has to dissuade any possible hint of life still existing there.

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