John Carter (of Mars)

Discussion in 'Other Media (TV/Film, Comics & Games)' started by JunkMonkey, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. SilentDan

    SilentDan Registered User

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    As far as adaptations go... I liked it enough that I didn't feel ripped off, however it wasn't great. It hasn't been a good year for movies.
     
  2. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    Well I finally got round to it and was really disappointed. I know the books aren't great literature and haven't dated very well. After 100 years most of Edgar Rice Burrough's creative imaginings are sad, old, worked to death clichés, but even so I really think they should have stuck to the book a lot more than they did. For one thing the film took an age to get going. After a prologue set on Mars that left me going 'Duh what? I don't remember this from the book. Where did these guys come from?' a few times, we moved into a double flashback that took far too long to get the central character established. (During the film brief, tertiary flashbacks also occurred. It's an irrational dislike but three layers of flashback annoys the tits off me.) It's a full 20+ or so minutes before we're anywhere near the start of the story as it appeared in the book. By the final act I just thought it was an unholy mess and I just wanted it to finish as soon as possible. Somehow they managed to loose the very thing that made the book so captivating for me as a kid. The aged, decayed, and dwindling world sunk to barbarism and faded glories, lost cities, the whole planet dying - there's a few nods to this in the film but it's a sad state of affairs when the Asylum knock-buster version with Tracy Lords in a Princess Leia slave costume starts to look good by comparison - at least thematically (and that was **** film).
     
  3. Michael B

    Michael B Doomfarer

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    One idea that was good and Burroughs did not think of was a group (Zodanga) deliberately tracking down resources in order to maintain their civilisation. Then again he was more interested in chivalry, romance and slaying the bad guys and gals.

    Only seen the artwork, but agree with the sentiments expressed.
     
  4. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    I have seen both, and the Disney version is greatly superior. After seeing a number of negative reviews of John Carter, it strikes me that the treatment was too clever for the material. For example, I couldn't understand why they didn't reveal what had happened to Carter's family, but when they did finally do so, it was perfectly timed. And the double ending, the first downbeat and the second upbeat, was a genius move. There were some longeurs, and a tendency to exposition in places, but the only film better than John Carter that I've seen this year is Dredd.
     
  5. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    If I was Philip Reeve's lawyers I would be taking a long hard look at that aspect. That's the essential idea behind his Mortal Engines books. Not that anything was done with the idea of a moving city, apart from a derivative, physics ignoring, Nu Star Wars type chase between the city's moving legs.
     
  6. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    You can't copyright ideas.
     
  7. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    You're right. You can't copyright ideas but you can copyright what you do with them - like use them as the basis for a work of fiction. If someone then comes along and copies an element of that work of fiction it is called 'plagiarism'*. I don't suppose for a second that Reeve's lawyers think they would stand an earthly but I'll bet you 53 quatludes that someone in the office thought about it.

    One unfortunate moment I forgot to mention that helped my general headshaking despair about John Carter was the straight to camera, breaking the fourth wall moment when we first see Dejah Thoris. My mind jumped (as it would to any connoisseur of overblown, over-expensive, SF film failures) to the last time I saw an SF princess doing the straight to camera, breaking the fourth wall thing. "The beginning is a very delicate time. Know then that it is the year 10191. The Known Universe is ruled by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, my father. In this time, the most..." suddenly I was in David Lynch's Dune. Took me a bit of time to get out, especially as beginnings are very delicate times and this film's was a right dog's dinner.



    * or 'homage' - depends how literate/generous you think your audience is going to be.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  8. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    Dune is a greatly under-rated film. If you watch the "television version", there are hints of what Lynch was trying to achieve and had he succeeded the result would have been a masterpiece.
     
  9. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    I have watched both those versions of Lynch's Dune and you're right (once you get past the incredibly awful opening of the Smithee TV version.) Both are fragmented messes. Whether the sum of the parts would have been 'great' I don't know. I suspect they would. I'd love to see a 'restored', 'original cut', or whatever.
     
  10. saintjon

    saintjon Illustrious Gambler

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    Just saw it and I liked it. I mean there were some slow parts but most movies that are great have some slow parts so wtf. I'm starting to realize I hate talking about movies here.
     
  11. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    This was the long version or the regular version of Dune, SJ?

    The super-long version of Dune is one of those 'holy grails' for many film buffs: rather like Blade Runner used to be. From what I remember, most of the extra footage was destroyed so the chances of seeing an Ultimate version of Dune is very remote.

    Would love to be proved wrong, though!
     
  12. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    There are at least three "special edition" DVDs of Dune. The UK one boasts "lynch's director's cut" and is 137 minutes long. The US edition includes both the original theatrical cut and the "extended version (directed by Alan Smithee, screenplay by Judas Booth)". The theatrical cut is also 137 minutes long, but lengths differ between NTSC and PAL/SECAM so it's unlikely the UK director's cut is the same as the theatrical release. I also have a German 3-disc "Paradise Edition" - it includes a plaster sandworm - containing (I think) a restored version of the theatrical release and a 180-minute "die TV-Fassung", which I take to be the television version. Legend has it, though, that Lynch filmed over 5½ hours of footage, but little of it was saved after the studio cut the movie for release. I have the original script for the film somewhere, but I've never gone through it to see what's missing from the finished product.
     
  13. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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  14. txshusker

    txshusker A mere player

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    I actually didn't mind John Carter as much the second time i watched it as i did the first time. Don't know why.

    I prefer the Dune mini-series vs the truncated Lynch over dubbed version. There are some good parts within the Lynch version, but I'm not a fan of the overall film.
     
  15. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    I watched John Carter again last night, and it impressed me just as much as it did the first time I saw it. It's not perfect - that prologue is completely unnecessary, and the bit where Mark Strong explains the plot is somewhat inelegant. But the battle with the Warhoon, intercut with Carter burying is wife, is a classic piece of cinema and beautifully done.

    I didn't like the miniseries of Dune - it seemed to be the director wanted it to be Shakespeare... but it's a long way from being that. The sequel, Children of Dune, I thought much better. Some of the acting in both series was terrible, though - especially the bloke who played Gurney Halleck.
     
  16. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    I think we are going to have to disagree on this (and it we be a dull old world if we all liked the same things) but that sequence was really one of the low points of the show for me. I thought the edits were crass and obvious - apart from anything they involved the tertiary layer of flashback which I've mentioned are a real pet hate of mine - and the CGI was less than convincing. Kurosawa did great battle sequences; this was like watching an animated Savage Sword of Conan cover.
     
  17. txshusker

    txshusker A mere player

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    It could be the shear amount of extra time the mini-series gives vs the Lynch single movie allowed for the love triangle to be further fleshed out. I also wasn't as creeped out by Alia in the mini-series like I was in the movie... freaky-teaky.
     
  18. saintjon

    saintjon Illustrious Gambler

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    I was referring to John Carter. I saw a version of Lynch's Dune when I was a kid but I can't remember enough about it to tell if it was the extended version or not. I watched some clips on Youtube and it seemed better than I remember. The guild navigator is appropriately horrifying I gotta say. I feel for David Lynch, if the industry then was more like it is now he probably could have made something everyone would have been happier with but who knows?
     
  19. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    It's unlikely. Hollywood movies' success are judged solely on opening weekend box office takes, and John Carter did very poorly there. It went on to make a profit in the rest of the world, but that doesn't count. Disney has officially classed the film a "flop". It's a stupid and parochial way to do business, but that's no real surprise - you'd be hard-pressed to find an industry more narcissistic than Hollywood :)

    Annoyingly, a sequel to Prometheus, which was rubbish, has already been greenlit...
     
  20. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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