Sunday, July 20, 2014
Episode 5: John Carter (of Mars)
Yes, Virginia, there is a Dotar Sojat. Ellie and Tim choose to fight for Helium by taking a look at John Carter, the 2012 adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom novels. Warning: Contains explicit language, spoilers (both film and book), and much wistful grumbling about lost sequels.
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This makes me want to break out the DVD AGAIN!! I don't think of John Carter as a great film, but it is a very good movie and gets better with every viewing. I had no interest in the film because Hollywood gets the pulp stuff so WRONG that it's painful to watch. The first teaser was intriguing but the following ones were dreadful. I especially agree with your assessment that the changes worked and worked well. Movies are just not books. Even writers adapting their works to film make major changes to a lot of what WAS going on in the book because the film is a different animal. The fact is these writers did a great job of bringing this great but dated tale to a modern audience. I feel bad for the purists and even sympathize with them, BUT had this been more loyal to the book- and it's the most loyal pulp adaptation from the source I've ever seen filmed- but the thousand or so of us who would have loved it would have ruined the chance of a franchise with the millions who never read the books and would laugh at the notion of war loving eternal soldier (with no explanation of how or why he is) who actually grins when he fights, but also can't talk to women.ReplyDelete
As a side note: if you really like Mark Strong check out his role as a skeevy, volatile ass of a drug smuggler in a fun but smart movie "The Guard" (also featuring an odd team up of stars Brendan Gleesan as a hard to figure out Irish copper and Don Cheadle as a savvy but arrogant DEA officer from the USA).
I totally agree when it comes to adapting something into a different medium, particularly in this case since the original book was written to be serialized. Burroughs wrote each section as a somewhat standalone entity to be consumed on a weekly or monthly basis, which can come across as too episodic if you try to translate that directly into a shorter form, such as a movie, that's designed to be enjoyed in one go. I think Stanton and company did a good job of presenting exciting set pieces while making sure they fit into the overall story.Delete
I totally forgot to mention The Guard, but then Strong has so many great roles. I really dug that one, especially since Gleeson has become one of my favorite actors. I just saw a trailer for The Calvary, his new movie from the same director and it looks to have the same grimly fun tone.