On March 8, Disney is releasing a movie that has been a long time coming. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote, in addition to the Tarzan novels, one of the most amazing science fiction adventures ever. It’s an epic upon which most RPG games are based, either that or their based on the things that were based on ERB’s John Carter of Mars saga.
This series spans worlds, eras, wars, races, and features a hero unlike any other. John Carter dies, time and again, and every time he does, he ends up traversing time and space. By his own admission, he cannot remember his past, or even if that is his real name, he does not even know how long he has been alive.
Yet somehow, this has never been produced (we won’t count that piece of shit “A Princess of Mars”. That was an unforgivable atrocity that shall not be named. I swear, watching Traci Lords languish in a cage made from dollar store bamboo, from which she could clearly have escaped, made me see through a red haze) One of the great questions on the IMDB forum for us Carter-lovers has always been, who’d play him? How do you stage the 15 foot tall four armed Tharks? How do you build a world as rich and complicated as Barsoom?
Well, I’m not going to count my chickens, but having seen the preview, I’m pretty sure Disney finally got it right, or at least, got it as close as they could. Just from the few snippets, I can see elements of the books, and that is all a fan could ask for. Well, that and a John Carter with a stronger chin, but never look a gift horse in the mouth. Taylor Kitsch has big boots to fill. Here’s hoping he can capture the jump-into-all-fights-swinging, always-in-for-the-underdog, give-a-country-to-all-your-friends John Carter of Virginia. I’m also hoping he manages to play the older Carter too, or should I say, the Carter that sits on earth with his nephew and tells him the tale, the same Carter who asks for a tomb that can be opened from inside. We’ll see.
Reading the cast list is interesting, and I am anxious to see what comes of it. The special effects look stunning. John Carter leaps in chains, the Tharks roam the field all four arms swinging, and the costumery is taken directly from the famous cover art by both Frank E. Schoonover and Frank Frazetta in both the original and 1960’s editions of the books. That makes me squee with glee. I’m a bit sad that they had to cover all the nakedness with veils and whatnot, but hey, it’s Disney. We all remember watching Terminator and seeing that dangling baby’s arm holding an apple in the Governator’s first naked walk on. And to be honest, what soldier goes into battle with his underbellys exposed? (Ehem…spartans) Shut up! 300 was awesome!
I am pleasantly surprised, encouraged, not disgusted, and frankly stunned. I was back handed with this. I’ve been hounding IMBD for years bitching about this getting made, well, this and “A Star is my Destination” by Bestor (if anyone important reads this, that movie better get made damnit) I mean really, we’ve watched for years as studios hunt around for any idea that will sell (Ehem ehem chaTWILIGHT ehem), add onto films that were already complete (If I have to sit through another Halloween, I’ll kill some teenagers), remake films that were already classics (you know who you are Footloose), turn borrowed material into epics using special effects alone expecting that we wouldn’t know the real sources (Avatar), and butcher things that could have been amazing (Smurfs, oh wait, and that critical error that ruined my soul Last Airbender [if I ever meet Shyamalan, I’ll punch him in the nutsack]). How long does it take you assholes to look to the classics and make them the way the creators envisioned? Why has this taken so long? Especially given the successes of Tolkien’s hobbits and Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous detective.
Twilight is based on Dracula, on Interview with a Vampire. Harry Potter (great) borrowed extensively (if you doubt this, see the movie TROLL made in 1982 featuring a boy named Harry Potter Jr. who must overcome invading trolls by learning magic from a neighbor). Playing Skyrim, you see lizard and cat people. I shouldn’t have to say see The Time Machine or Psychoshop, should I? This is proof that classic horror and science fiction aren’t outdated. There may be elements that are; sciences that have been disproven, events that did not come to pass, but there is no reason the movies cannot be made and made correctly.
If you make the borrowers, and not the originators into films, you build culture on sand. Go back to bedrock.
Fans want this. You just have to do it right, and you’ll have loyalty like you’ve never seen. We geeks never forget. Don’t betray us (Shyamalan you prick).