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Monday, April 2, 2012

John Carter of Mars


It's no secret on this blog that I am a huge nerd. I used to be embarrassed by my love of Star Wars, Star Trek, and all things geektastic, but no more. As I've gotten older, I've learned to embrace it. I love a good story, and if that story happens to feature grown men with ponytails and light swords, then so be it.

Let me introduce my latest nerdy obsession: John Carter. It's about a tortured Civil War hero who's transported Mars, gets caught up in another civil war, and falls hard for a Martian princess. Based on the first of a series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs (aka the guy who invented Tarzan), the film also features some pretty spectacular southern Utah scenery as a stand-in for the red planet. I've since learned that Burroughs spent time in Utah as a young man, and may have used it as inspiration when he was imagining Mars. And if the premise sounds cheesy, that's okay. It's supposed to. Another great thing about the film? It doesn't take itself too seriously.

I've been reading the book too. A PRINCESS OF MARS is even cheesier, with a John Carter character who has considerably less depth on the page than he does on the screen. But it's also great fun to read - keep in mind, it was first published 100 years ago - and I can't help but notice certain precursory elements to some more recent popular science fiction. Without Dejah Thoris, there would be no Princess Leia. Without John Carter, there would be no Avatar.

There's so many things I love about this movie: the steampunk-esque airships, the loyal frog-slash-dog monster Woola, John's bromance with the four-armed Martian Tars Tarkas, the abundance of cool tattoos, the idea that someone can find the place they belong a long way from where they started, and yes, the love story. So how come hardly anybody is going to see it? Poor reviews? Shoddy marketing? The massive hype surrounding a certain other movie also based on a book (which I loved, but not as much as John Carter)? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is, I want sequels!

7 comments:

Romina said...

I saw "John Carter" in 3D with my husband and enjoyed it. Of course, I only go to the movies for scifi films nowadays with 2 kids - yup, I had another little one hence the absence from visiting the blog. Things have certainly changed around here. I will try to visit more often, though.

Cassidy Wadsworth said...

Civil War? Intriguing!

William Kendall said...

"Without John Carter, there would be no Avatar"

Oh, wouldn't that have been a pity? No sign of Dances With Smurfs....

I hate, hate, double infinity plus one hate Avatar....

Maegan Langer said...

Romina! Welcome back! And congratulations :)

William, I loved Avatar too, but I'll admit there wasn't any thing original about it. In fact, now that I'm reading the John Carter book, I'm pretty sure James Cameron ripped off a few things.

Janiel Miller said...

Hi Romina! Hope your life is normalizing with the new little person in it!

I haven't seen John Carter yet. Hopefully I will soon. :)

As for Avatar--I must agree with William. "Dances with Smurfs." Kevin Costner could have written and starred in it and I wouldn't have known the difference. Except for, you know, the long lean smurfiness of it.

I love your geek-outs, Maegan.

Russo said...

E gads and lil fishes, its John carter. I loved seeing the flick with you and Janiel. What can I say, you got great taste in movies and man, John Carter is HOTT! And I love that the girl main character (forgot her name) is so kick butt.

You worded this beautifully, "someone can find the place they belong a long way from where they started."

Yeah, I want sequels too!

Maegan Langer said...

"E gad and lil fishes" is right!! We must go see it again. Maybe they'll decide to make sequels based solely on Gnomies revenue ;-)