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#241 Thom Wade

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 06:47 PM

For what it's worth, I agree with you that discussions about any particular film should not be constrained. I don't think we shouldn't discuss it; I'm just concerned about the "how" of that discussion. I'm not asking that we treat anything with "kid gloves"... but how about, oh, I don't know... "saint gloves"? :)


I think this point was were I thought Peter had a real point. And I understand your point. And certainly, as a creative person who still aspires to film, television and comics... I would certainly be saddened to come here and see myself being attacked. But I think it is possible to express critical thought about films and the industry with generosity towards the people in it. And not just the Christians... Even the Brett Ratners (for myself) or the Zak Snyders... I mean, if I was hard at work on something and with little info, people were writing it off as "meh" or demanding to know why it was getting made (sentiments I have heard from practically everyone including me)... It would feel a bit like...well...a kick to the crotch. So, I think Peter's initial idea of not being able to discuss the industry for fear of not hurting feelings is too limiting. But I get the core idea Jeff is suggesting of doing so gracefully.

I appreciate that this could be resolved generously on all sides. I may be an agnostic...but I appreciate reading the insights here. I like the folks here. I think Peter and Jeff make valuable contributions to the discussions on this board, and would prefer not to see either gone...by personal choice or force.

Finally, regarding your connectivity issues... ever thought about becoming a Mac? :)


I agree with this sentiment as well.

#242 Attica

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 08:35 PM


For what it's worth, I agree with you that discussions about any particular film should not be constrained. I don't think we shouldn't discuss it; I'm just concerned about the "how" of that discussion. I'm not asking that we treat anything with "kid gloves"... but how about, oh, I don't know... "saint gloves"? :)


I think this point was were I thought Peter had a real point. And I understand your point. And certainly, as a creative person who still aspires to film, television and comics... I would certainly be saddened to come here and see myself being attacked. But I think it is possible to express critical thought about films and the industry with generosity towards the people in it. And not just the Christians... Even the Brett Ratners (for myself) or the Zak Snyders... I mean, if I was hard at work on something and with little info, people were writing it off as "meh" or demanding to know why it was getting made (sentiments I have heard from practically everyone including me)... It would feel a bit like...well...a kick to the crotch. So, I think Peter's initial idea of not being able to discuss the industry for fear of not hurting feelings is too limiting. But I get the core idea Jeff is suggesting of doing so gracefully.




Agreed. I was impacted by Jeff's point about having different lurkers visiting the site and a community that they would be exited to engage in, connected to how we choose to conduct our conversation. I also agree with the main gist of Peter's idea of being able to talk about the industry. Perhaps if this community held to wise, gracious, yet honest discussion pertaining to such things as trying to understand the film industry and how it functions, it wouldn't actually be all that offputting or hurtful to, say , people like Stanton (at least for the point of this discussion) who happen to be lurking on the boards. I mean, I'm sure were all , to varying degrees, trying to understand and learn about some of this stuff.

Edited by Attica, 18 March 2012 - 08:38 PM.


#243 Christian

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 12:01 PM

A friend sent me a link to this WSJ excerpt from Junot Diaz's introduction to "A Princess of Mars," which will be reissued April 12.

Edited by Christian, 21 March 2012 - 12:02 PM.


#244 Overstreet

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 09:36 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzPVYy7LHIo

If only Disney, with all of their resources, could have found this guy. Might have saved themselves several million dollars.

Ya see what happens? Ya see what happens when you @#$% a MOVIE'S MARKETING?

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Edited by Overstreet, 28 March 2012 - 10:27 AM.


#245 Tyler

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 09:47 AM

I wouldn't mind seeing that movie. When does it come out?

#246 David Smedberg

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 08:34 AM

--spoilers throughout--

Thinking back on this movie now, after I've had time to let my thoughts about it percolate, the scene I keep coming back to is when Carter is facing the horde of attacking Tharks, sends away Dejah Thoris and the dog (Woolah? can't remember now), and then fights like hell as he flashes back to his family's death.

To save my life I cannot decide if I love or hate this scene (in the context of the whole movie). It kicked me in the gut, I really felt it. I suppose to be precise, instead of calling the scene manipulative, I should call it calcitrative :P. But that's not my problem with it, since it was a scene that I felt the story had "earned", since Carter has been moving between heroism and cynicism the whole time. The sadness of the scene added richness and melodramatic heft to this somewhat silly other-worldly SF opera.

The problem is that once the movie was over, the scene felt even more out-of-place, more like an outlier, than it had when it occurred. That was basically the last time we see Carter's grief come through, right? As the movie gets bigger, I feel like it loses track of Carter's personal story, and if it had really followed through with it then it could have touched greatness.

Don't get me wrong, I'm one of the yeah-sayers as a whole, anyway.

Edited by David Smedberg, 03 April 2012 - 08:35 AM.


#247 Anders

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:33 PM

--spoilers throughout--

Thinking back on this movie now, after I've had time to let my thoughts about it percolate, the scene I keep coming back to is when Carter is facing the horde of attacking Tharks, sends away Dejah Thoris and the dog (Woolah? can't remember now), and then fights like hell as he flashes back to his family's death.

To save my life I cannot decide if I love or hate this scene (in the context of the whole movie). It kicked me in the gut, I really felt it. I suppose to be precise, instead of calling the scene manipulative, I should call it calcitrative :P. But that's not my problem with it, since it was a scene that I felt the story had "earned", since Carter has been moving between heroism and cynicism the whole time. The sadness of the scene added richness and melodramatic heft to this somewhat silly other-worldly SF opera.

The problem is that once the movie was over, the scene felt even more out-of-place, more like an outlier, than it had when it occurred. That was basically the last time we see Carter's grief come through, right? As the movie gets bigger, I feel like it loses track of Carter's personal story, and if it had really followed through with it then it could have touched greatness.

Don't get me wrong, I'm one of the yeah-sayers as a whole, anyway.


I'm one of the year-sayers as a whole as well, and that was a scene that stands out to me as a misstep in the film. I didn't like the cross-cutting between his family tragedy (which had been given short shrift to this point. As in, I didn't know exactly *what* his tragedy was apart from that he had some vague, mysterious past) and the fighting. It broke up the flow of the battle as well, limiting our ability to really see John in action. I guess I would say it is the opposite of the kind of action scenes that I really enjoyed in fellow Pixar alum Brad Bird's M:I-GP, which emphasized continuity of motion and cause-effect. One might say that Bird's film was in the mode of the classical Hollywood cinema for the most part (emphasizing continuity and spatial coherence, despite the action and speed), while Stanton was going for the whole Michael Bay fast-cutting, intensified continuity *combined* with character development and it fell flat. I get that the desired effect was emotional manipulation (broadly speaking) but it didn't play well for me.

#248 David Smedberg

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:45 PM

Y'know, Anders, it's interesting... I really didn't think of that scene in terms of the action that way, nor of comparing John Carter as a whole with an action movie like MI:4. If I had I would have been disappointed, I think, since you're absolutely right that the action isn't as well-choreographed or as clear as it could be.

In my mind John Carter's intended to be an epic, something which certainly includes some action scenes but on the whole is more about the romance and the drama. The scene I mentioned, in particular, doesn't even have action music after battle is actually joined, it transitions into something more heart-rending (if I recall correctly).

Edited by David Smedberg, 03 April 2012 - 04:45 PM.


#249 Anders

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:57 PM

In my mind John Carter's intended to be an epic, something which certainly includes some action scenes but on the whole is more about the romance and the drama. The scene I mentioned, in particular, doesn't even have action music after battle is actually joined, it transitions into something more heart-rending (if I recall correctly).


I agree, I thought it aimed for an epic feel in the sense of something like STAR WARS (which drew such influence from Burrough's work). Still, imagine cutting back and forth between the Death Star trench run and the twin sunset or the discovery of Beru and Lars bodies? It dilutes the effect of both.

#250 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:42 PM

Yet another John Carter / Golden Compass parallel? The studio chiefs behind the latter film were given the boot by Warner Brothers soon after that film underperformed at the box office, and now, just a month or so after Disney said it expected to lose $200 million on this film, Disney chief Rich Ross has "resigned". (FWIW, John Carter has earned $68.8 million domestic + $200.6 million overseas = $269.4 million worldwide, whereas The Golden Compass earned $70.1 + $302.1 = $373.2 million. Prince of Persia, which has also been compared to John Carter, earned $90.8 + $244.4 = $335.2 million.)

If there IS a parallel here, I would argue it's a somewhat unfair one, since the film had already been greenlit before Rich Ross was put in charge of selling it. The Golden Compass affair was very different, since the studio chiefs who tried to sell that film were the same ones who had greenlit it in the first place.

Finally, regarding your connectivity issues... ever thought about becoming a Mac? Posted Image


I agree with this sentiment as well.

Bah! Never! (I feel I've sullied myself enough just by letting the government buy my son an iPad for autism-treatment purposes. Although it DOES seem to run very smoothly... hmmm...)

#251 Attica

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:48 PM

Bah! Never! (I feel I've sullied myself enough just by letting the government buy my son an iPad for autism-treatment purposes. Although it DOES seem to run very smoothly... hmmm...)


Your on your way to your conversion. Don't kick against the goads. Posted Image

#252 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 06:49 PM

Jim Hill reports that the reason Rich Ross lost his job at Disney is not because John Carter was a commercial disappointment, per se, but because members of Ross's staff vented to the press about Andrew Stanton's involvement in the film's marketing -- and specifically because members of Ross's staff vented to that Vulture reporter whose story was linked to earlier in this thread. Hill concludes:

Because -- when you get right down to it -- this isn't really a story about Rich Ross' exit. But -- rather -- one about making sure that Andrew Stanton stays right where he is right now. Working for Disney and Pixar.


Which is interesting, given how that very same Vulture story also quoted this bit from Stanton's interview with Badass Digest:

They’re too afraid of me - they want me happy at Pixar.


And so the reign of terror continues!!!

(Read with appropriate tongue-in-cheek tone, of course. But seriously, you have to wonder if Stanton was really doing himself any favours with some of the things he said prior to this film's release; see also that New Yorker story in which he said "Is it just me, or do we actually know how to do this better than live-action crews do?", etc.)

#253 Christian

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 08:07 AM

Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda, who has taught Princess of Mars to students, sees John Carter and has a great time:

I went to see “John Carter” two weeks ago and found it a terrifically entertaining movie, packed with suspense, humor, wit, an admirable heroine and a convincing hero, great battle scenes, and gorgeous cinematography. Frankly, I couldn’t understand why the film was dismissed so readily, both by the critics and by its backers. When I talked to other people who had seen it, nearly all of them said they loved it. ...

I have a particular interest in Burroughs because I’ve taught “A Princess of Mars” in an adventure novel course and even written a longish piece about the first three of the Mars novels, which form a kind of John Carter trilogy. I know that the film took some liberties with Burroughs original, but they were relatively trivial, and, all in all, it struck me as an excellent transposition of book to film.

So why is the movie a bomb? Am I wrong to like it? Have I lost my critical judgment or taste? All these are possible, especially since I’m no film critic and only an occasional movie-goer. But I think I can tell a dud when I see it.

At all events, the “John Carter” debacle somehow offends me. The film isn’t “The Seventh Seal” but it is as enjoyable an entertainment as, say, “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.” I feel bad for all those who helped make the movie and are now seeing it widely trashed—unfairly, in my view.


252 comments follow Dirda's post.

Edited by Christian, 02 June 2012 - 08:08 AM.


#254 morgan1098

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 12:11 PM

I think people underestimate "the Star Wars factor" in why this movie bombed. Most audience members don't care about Edgar Rice Burroughs or the fact that Star Wars and tons of other movies were influenced by him, and not the other way around. All they know is that they have already seen heroes battling big monsters in a sandy arena filled with bug-like aliens... and that was in Attack of the Clones in 2002. And yet the trailers for John Carter repeatedly played up those scenes as if they were the movie's biggest selling point. The first time I watched a John Carter trailer I thought I'd accidentally clicked on an old AOTC clip, at least for the first few seconds.

#255 Anders

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 12:56 PM

I think people underestimate "the Star Wars factor" in why this movie bombed. Most audience members don't care about Edgar Rice Burroughs or the fact that Star Wars and tons of other movies were influenced by him, and not the other way around. All they know is that they have already seen heroes battling big monsters in a sandy arena filled with bug-like aliens... and that was in Attack of the Clones in 2002. And yet the trailers for John Carter repeatedly played up those scenes as if they were the movie's biggest selling point. The first time I watched a John Carter trailer I thought I'd accidentally clicked on an old AOTC clip, at least for the first few seconds.


I think you're totally right. When people ask me if I liked JOHN CARTER and whether they should see it I ask them what their mileage with the Star Wars prequels has been. I think there should be some correlation between people who liked the Star Wars prequels and those who like JOHN CARTER.

#256 NBooth

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 02:59 PM

I think people underestimate "the Star Wars factor" in why this movie bombed. Most audience members don't care about Edgar Rice Burroughs or the fact that Star Wars and tons of other movies were influenced by him, and not the other way around. All they know is that they have already seen heroes battling big monsters in a sandy arena filled with bug-like aliens... and that was in Attack of the Clones in 2002. And yet the trailers for John Carter repeatedly played up those scenes as if they were the movie's biggest selling point. The first time I watched a John Carter trailer I thought I'd accidentally clicked on an old AOTC clip, at least for the first few seconds.


I'm inclined to agree. Of course, the blame for that goes around: audiences should seriously be aware of what went in to getting John Carter made, but it's kind of the job of the marketing department to do some of that for them. In the month before the movie was released, there were a couple of clips where the director and crew talked about how very old Burroughs' stuff is, but it was too little too late. This was a movie that really needed a massive marketing push, and the fact that it didn't get one is a crying shame (not to say a mind-boggling waste of money in the long run).

Edited by NBooth, 04 June 2012 - 03:01 PM.


#257 Timothy Zila

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 03:19 AM

Saw this again at the dollar theater.

I'm really impressed with how it held up the second time-around.

The romance is about as moving and compelling as such things are in these kinds of movies.

The world is immersive and beautiful.

Stanton knows how to infuse dramatic tension into his space opera (and how to take time with character without halting the action) . . . unlike, of course, George Lucas (as far as the prequel trilogy goes).

Still peeved this wasn't a success . . . in a better world, this (and notThe Avengers) would be getting a sequel. Of that I have no doubt whatsoever.

Edit: And thank God for filmmakers who insist on bringing CGI characters and landscapes and integrating them with actual locations and sets.

Regardless of the end results, that's what Stanton did with John Carter and what Ridley Scott did with Prometheus, and I bet we can all agree that, whether you liked the films or not, there's a lot to be said for not throwing real sets and locations out in favor of a studio of blue-screens.

Edited by Timothy Zila, 01 July 2012 - 03:28 AM.


#258 Overstreet

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 11:40 AM

Andrew Stanton on John Carter and schadenfreude:

Other filmmakers have had to recover from a disaster or disappointment. After "Ishtar" tanked in 1987, it was nine years before director Elaine May took another screenwriter credit. After his 1989 passion project, "The Abyss," saw only middling box office returns, James Cameron said he did some soul searching. "It lost its opening weekend to 'Uncle Buck,'" Cameron said. "To me, that's a failure. You start to rationalize, what did we do wrong?"

After "The Abyss," Cameron returned to the film that had launched him, "The Terminator," and made "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." Similarly, Stanton's next directing project will be a sequel to "Finding Nemo."

"What was immediately on the list was writing a second 'Carter' movie," he said. When that went away, everything slid up. I know I'll be accused by more sarcastic people that it's a reaction to 'Carter' not doing well, but only in its timing, but not in its conceit."


Edited by Overstreet, 08 September 2012 - 11:40 AM.


#259 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:50 PM

The Playlist:

The AV Club recently chatted with Dominic West, who played the villain in the movie, as part of their Random Roles feature, and he reveals that the original marketing plan he saw was leagues ahead of what was eventually used. "It was terrible! And it was completely changed!" he exclaimed. "I saw it two years ago, after we shot it, and they had the marketing campaign already out and it was amazing. But for some reason they got rid of all that, and they failed to mention that this was the granddaddy of science-fiction adventure stories, so everyone was going, 'Why haven’t they got people who sound like the ones in Star Wars?' When, in fact, the whole point was that 'John Carter' inspired 'Star Wars.' So I think they did mess that up a bit."

Indeed, it's been reported that director Andrew Stanton spearheaded and controlled the marketing of the film, and rejected many of the ideas Disney's own team came up with, which seem to be the materials West had seen earlier. . . .


I'm not sure what to make of this, myself. Whose decision was it to remove "of Mars" from the movie's title? Might have been Disney's, but then, given Pixar's propensity for making titles as short as possible, might have been Stanton's, too.

#260 Nick Alexander

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:50 AM

Quick FYI: Amazon is offering the book "John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood", an indepth account of the arduous one-hundred-year process to bring John Carter to the screen, only to become one of the great great flops--they are offering this today for free to all Kindle owners.