The animated film ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ continues to hold on to the number one spot in the box office with $39 million dollars. The story of the adorable orange chubby creature keeps on doing far better than the rest.
Surprisingly the sci-fi adventure ‘John Carter’, only accumulated $30.6 million dollars. It could be because of the fact that it didn’t get good reviews because many believe that the money invested in it ($250 million dollars) didn’t deliver what it should have.
The craziest party of the year, ‘Project X’ fell to third place collecting $11.5 million dollars, which gives the top leading films a good mix in the box office. The horror film that premiered this weekend, ‘Silent House’ with $7 million, follows it.
When I first saw previews for ‘John Carter’, I thought it was going to be a confusing mess with mediocre CGI, but boy was I wrong. There is definitely a lot going on in the film and if you get up to use the restroom it might be hard to catch up, otherwise the story unfolds slowly enough for you to not get lost. It is advertised, as it being the predecessor of ‘Starwars’ and ‘Avatar’ and it isn’t a false statement, seeing how this character has been around in comic books for 100 years. This mix of human, aliens, and other weird beings set in the planet Mars gives us an adventure that is sure to become a franchise and it will gain many followers.
The movie beings by giving us a background of the planet Mars and the situation there, then it jumps to New York where John Carter’s nephew comes to his rich uncle’s house and learns about the biggest adventure of his uncle’s life. John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) served as captain in the civil war, we are given very little background information on him, he seems to have shut himself out from the world, to not have many friends, doesn’t want to take part on anyone’s war and only wants to get rich.
By chance he is transported to Mars, where he meets aliens and human like beings and he goes back and forth between being a hero and a traitor to all. His main motivation unexpectedly comes from a princess, Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) who inspires him to fight for a cause against: Sab Than (Dominic West) and a stronger force they barely know exists, the Threns,Matai Shang (Mark Strong) in particular. With the help of the Thark, especially Sola (Samantha Morton) and Tars Tarkas (Williem Dafoe), John Carter gets involved in a story he could have never imagined.
There’s no great acting in this film, in fact the dialogue besides the different dialects and weird names of things is very plain and just enough to carry us from scene to scene. What makes the movie is the action and the images, most scenes are full of action and even when there’s not much happening the background and the surroundings are enough to keep you entertained. The 3D certainly enhances the film but I think it would fare probably just as well in a regular screen.
My favorite things: The Thark, Woola-Carter’s pet in Mars so adorably ugly, the strength in both sexes throughout the movie, although they do play the damsel in distress angle at times. Lastly, technology mixed in with archaic backgrounds of temples and desert. The love story was one of the things I disliked, simply because it was too predictable, at times it even felt pushed and it wasn’t convincing. Carter is almost cave man like, his strength overpowers logic; he acts before thinking in almost every scene and I don’t know if I can consider that ‘hero’ like qualities.
I dare to say that this is as of now one of the best movies 2012 has offered because of all the elements it combines. It has the ability to combine such different scenarios, eras, times, zones, beings, etc.; into one movie without being overly complicated and that is what a good entertaining action film is about. It does start to feel a little long towards the end, but it is able to end the chapter in a very decent and clean way without being overly dramatic. Most importantly it leaves us wondering what will come next.
Six months before it’s release, Disney has put together an impressive private event to tout its new big 2012 movie ‘John Carter’ which they are banking all the marbles on. I was one of the select few that was invited yesterday to see early footage from the film, as well as props from the actual set and other elements from the production like concept art and life size monster models.
As soon as you walked in, there was a hallway full of set props from the film that were very detailed and accurate from the tales of the Edgar Rice Burroughs 11 series books. There was everything from monster mannequins of Tharks – a tribe of fictional Green Martian warriors on the fictional planet of Barsoom – aircraft sketches and models, clothing, weapons and books from Carter’s home and martian culture.
After the hallway glancing, you entered the screening room where director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall*E) and his 3 main stars: Taylor Kitsch (The Bang Bang Club, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) who plays John Carter himself, Lynn Collins (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) who will play Princess Dejah Thoris and Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, Antichrist, Melancholia) who will be the alien Tars Tarkas, were chatting and socializing amongst themselves. About a dozen Disney publicists and execs were everywhere, including an in-house production unit behind me covering the action.
About 10 minutes later, producer Jim Morris took the mic to talk about the difficulties of making ‘John Carter’ in Hollywood and how the many failed attempts at bringing it to the screen where mainly due to a lack of technology. According to Morris, Tom Cruise was at one point attached to star in the mid 80’s, but it fell through. He then introduced Andrew Stanton to an applause from the guests. Stanton began by presenting an educational, historical keynote introduction of John Carter from the early novels to the Marvel comic books to the CGI integration to the selection process of the cast. He then proceeded to unveil the first 5 clips of the movie that the even the cast had not seen until then. Regrettably, we’re not allowed to give a formal written narration of the scenes I saw, but hopefully near release.
After the clips were shown, we were invited to stay for a Q&A with the Stanton and cast, and afterwards we were allowed to mingle with them and ask them questions one on one. I interviewed Stanton and will have that posted some time this week.
Here then are 13 exclusive behind-the-scene pics of the props and items from the private screening that were on display for viewing:
‘John Carter’ will be released March 9th, 2012 which happens to be Andrew Stanton’s first live-action film. The pressure is on for him to deliver on what is Disney’s hopeful future franchise.
For those unaware of the plot, ‘John Carter’ is set in the devastated planet Mars where John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a soldier in the Civil War, is thrust into a mysterious new war with a strange army of Martians , among which are Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). The film is based on the Martian series of American author Edgar Rice Burroughs.