Archive for March, 2012
The Facebook group Take Me Back to Barsoom. I want a John Carter Sequel! now has a web site. Back to Barsoom
As someone who has been involved with the Burroughs Bibliophiles for many years, it’s really great to see how many other fans of ERB and Barsoom that Andrew Stanton and “John Carter” have brought out of the woodwork. To be sure, many of those fans are Bibliophiles.
But many have never been involved in organized fandom, yet their passion for the Master of Adventure is just as great. Even more exciting is how many there are who have never picked up a book by Burroughs, or even heard of him. And yet, something in his 100 year old story has touched them deeply. It’s wonderful.
Here’s the description on the new web site, which I encourage you to check out:
Our purpose: To help grow the Facebook Group: “Take me back to Barsoom! I want John Carter to have a sequel!” The group was started in the immediate aftermath of the release of John Carter and in less than two weeks (as this is being written) has grown to more than 6,000 members.
This companion site is maintained by members of the group so that:
We can save and display for the public our fan trailers, fan art, fan video – all forms of fan creation.
Provide links to blogs maintained by our members.
Post admin and group announcements
Provide a public blog that will allow our members to post public blog posts about John Carter and the quest for a sequel. These posts will be automatically submitted to all search engines to maxize the number of people who see them — while at the same time they will be posted automatically to our group wall on Facebook. Each post will contain an invitation and link to “Join the Take Me Back to Barsoom! I want John Carter to have a sequel” group on Facebook.
I posted the following in the new forum at The John Carter Files which has become the site to visit for news and views on ERB and what’s happened with the release of the movie. My take on some of the changes made:
I liked including the Therns. Some viewers seem to think the movie made them out to be magical or some such. I don’t see that at all. They used gadgets to float and change shape, just like the medallions were voice-activated teleporters. ERB loaded Barsoom with nifty gadgets — from the directional compass to the cloak of invisibility. My favorite: The Flying Death. Heck, the floating thing is obviously accomplished via some Thern version of an equibilimotor.
I don’t even mind having Therns snooping around Earth and presumably other planets. Once you’ve got all of Barsoom happily floating down the River Iss into your clutches, why not look for some more deluded fools to snare? I know that’s not supposed to be what’s going on … but that’s how I prefer to take it.
“We serve the Goddess,” indeed. Mark Strong delivered that line so perfectly that I could tell Matai Shang didn’t believe a word of it – and I was so looking forward to him meeting Issus in a sequel. (A scene ERB never devised … but I’d trust Stanton, and certainly Strong, with that showdown.)
They’re immortal? Therns lie. John Carter called Matai Shang on it in the movie. I shot one of you bastards back on Earth. They’re not immortal. Nice scene.
I did NOT like having them be from some place other than Barsoom. And the whole “Earth is next” bit just seemed like a lame attempt to engage the audience – which is from Earth!
I still don’t get exactly what the Therns were supposed to be after, despite the too-long “Let me tell you our plan before I kill you” scene. Plundering planets of all their natural resources? With a walking city? To what end? They have the Ninth Ray, what more do they need?
As others have said, they could have come up with a way to make the Atmosphere Plant the driving plot device of the movie, rather than turn Zodanga into a “predator city” gobbling up resources. Maybe the thousand year war between Helium and Zodanga is over dwindling resources on a dying planet. And the Therns have been manipulating that war all along as a way to “thin the herd” to help preserve Barsoom’s resources for the chosen few – Therns. When that doesn’t seem to be moving along fast enough, the Therns begin tampering with the Atmosphere Plant. Or something.
Does anyone else agree with me that John Carter recalling no childhood and always having been a man of about 30 is indeed “canon” in Stanton’s version of Barsoom? You can see and read much of ERB’s first page of John Carter’s manuscript on the screen as “ERB” begins reading the journal. Maybe folks who have actually seen the prop can say if it is word for word the opening. Looks like it on screen.
Others have mentioned my main problems with the movie. The pacing and framing is off. If ERB is reading this in John Carter’s manuscript, how do we get scenes without John Carter in them? The scene between Tardos Mors and Dejah Thoris, while very poignant, seems like it was added to help explain the story. I think I read an interview with Lynn Collins where she said that was one of the re-shoots.
Every time I watch the movie, it just seems like John Carter spends only a couple weeks on Barsoom. Maybe a month, depending on how long he and Sola and Dejah Thoris wandered around in dust storms looking for the Iss. There should have been some kind of montage stretching his time among the Tharks into months, gaining allies and cementing Tal Hajus’ hatred into something more meaningful than “he looks funny.”
It verges on ridiculous that this all happens in ONE DAY: John Carter wakes up in Zondanga, has the great scene with Kantos Kan and leaps a mile or two carrying the Heliumite on his back to have his moment with Dejah Thoris; John Carter has his walkabout with Matai Shang, then escapes to Thark to fight white apes and become jeddak; that evening he leads the entire horde on thoats to Zondanda, finds out he should have gone to Helium, and flies to Helium; he’s followed by green men who have learned to fly; then comes an epic battle that decides a war that has been going on for a thousand years in about 15 minutes; John Carter gets married as medics are tending the wounded, and later that night is zapped back to Earth.
They should have had a montage showing years pass with John Carter as Prince of Helium. The scene where Matai Shang re-appears to finally get rid of this thorn in his side could just as easily have happened several years later. In fact, it would enhance the evil of Matai Shang — who bides his time for revenge. That way I’d also be more comfortable with the non-John Carter scenes being in the movie, because such a lapse of time would have given Dejah Thoris the opportunity to relate these things to her husband.
Fans are starting to weave together great trailers as more footage becomes available, now that the movie has been released. Here’s a really cool one:
Join the facebook group Take me back to Barsoom! I want John Carter to have a sequel!
It’s clear that the movie is not the “bomb” that some in the entertainment press seem determined to make it. I don’t see how any movie that earns more than $100 million worldwide in its opening weekend can be called a flop.
I’ll continue to hold out hope that word of mouth will generate the kind of buzz this movie deserves. If we don’t get a sequel, I’ll be content with this epic and stunningly beautiful vision of the world created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It’s only taken a century to get here.
The film has enough in it to satisfy fans of Burroughs and people who have never picked up a Barsoom novel. My pulse was pounding throughout, and I marveled at the imagery on the IMAX screen where my wife and I watched it opening night. (She’s among those who have never read Burroughs, but has listened to me babble about John Carter and Tarzan and the rest for long enough that she knows most of the details. She enjoyed it as a fun popcorn movie.)
As a lifelong Burroughs fan — John Carter and Barsoom have always been my favorite — I have lots of quibbles and some things I outright disliked. Tardos Mors would never condemn the princess worshipped by all Helium to a “fate worse than death” by agreeing to her marriage to Sab Than. And yet, I can see the cinematic drama in that storyline, and Lynn Collins used it to nicely chew some scenery.
Overall, we got to see the sweeping mystery and romance, the pure other-worldliness of Barsoom. It was grand. I’ll be back several times before it leaves theaters.
My biggest surprise was how much I loved Collins as Dejah Thoris. She nailed this updated version that still managed to remain true, in my mind, to the Dejah Thoris created by Burroughs. In fact, Andrew Stanton just expanded what ERB had written. Dejah Thoris, after all, was on a scientific expedition charting Barsoomian air currents when her ship was shot down by Tharks. And she was familiar with Jasoom because she had studied it with the astronomy devices in her grandfather’s palace. She was a scientist, even if Burroughs didn’t come out and say it.
Taylor Kitsch did stellar work in the role written for him. It wasn’t the John Carter I know. But this one was entertaining and worthy of the canvass Stanton created for him. I kept thinking he was playing more of a brooding and dark Lord Greystoke.
In the end, my reaction is much like what it was to J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek. I liked that movie a lot, and did not resent someone putting a new spin on another one of my childhood favorites, as long as it was careful to pay homage to the source material. That’s what Stanton did with “John Carter.”
Call your friends, tell your neighbors. They’ll be glad you recommended “John Carter of Mars.”
In honor of the release of Disney’s John Carter, Panthan Press presents a novel in the same pulp tradition mastered by Edgar Rice Burroughs: “Apache Princess of Mars.” A portion of this story was previously published as fan-fiction, titled “A Princess of Jasoom.” But this version has been extensively re-written, set on a world known to its inhabitants as Barsan. Details available at Panthan Press on Lulu Click the images below for a larger look at the cover art by Chris Wright.
Nice “fan trailer” from the folks at The John Carter Files. It really captures why we’re ERB fans.