John Carter (Formerly of Mars)

My dad read this book to us when we were kids. Maybe I was 9 or 10, I don’t remember. I will, with embarrassment, ‘fess up to not wanting to listen to this particular book and hiding it away before he could start. This mazed dad not one bit, he merely produced another copy which he proceeded to read from… and by the end of the first evening’s read I was hooked, although I wouldn’t admit it. The hardback mysteriously reappeared a few days later.

To this day, a love of pulp sci fi is one of the few things my dad and I still bond over. So to say I’ve been looking forward to this movie with a combination of tense excitement and a sense of impending doom is perhaps an understatement. (What if he loves it and I hate it? Or vice versa?)

So there’s the trailer. John C. Wright’s reaction is here. To him, I say John Carter is being pursued by cavalry because it’s not politically correct to stick to the actual story involving the Apache. This, I anticipated and have made my peace with. Sort of. I will mourn the loss of the scene at the cave if this is also cut! But other than that, I concur heartily with the rest of his comments. Even the ones about Dejah Thoris, albeit with the obligatory feminine eye roll.

Additionally…

I hate the music in the trailer. It’s awful, it isn’t adventurous at all. And there’s this weird Lord of the Rings ‘the end of the world is at hand vibe’ running through it, which just doesn’t work for multiple reasons. Not least of which is that Mars has been on planetary life support for millennia and surely they’ve gotten over the ‘the sky is falling, save us’ stage by now.

Also, and this is going to sound terrible but please hear me out, they are wearing too much clothing. Again, it just doesn’t work. That tank top thing Dejah Thoris is wearing just reminds me of her little speech about how weird it is that Earth men wear clothes and I immediately cease buying the movie. That they don’t wear earthling-style clothes is part of the ambiance of Mars. I understand this presents some difficulties, especially in action movies, but they managed twenty five years ago with Princess Leia’s bikini! Why not today?

And then, there are the Martians.

They look like rejected Star Wars muppets! I want to say that they can’t be serious, but experience (largely from the Star Wars prequels) tells me they are. How is it possible to come so close, and yet be so very, horrifically wrong?

I’m still planning to see the movie (which is more than I can say for the Hobbit movie), but I am no longer hopeful it will be even halfway decent.

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