Monday, March 12, 2012

John Carter of meh

My wife and I saw the movie last week, and surprisingly my wife liked it better than I did.  My issues? Every shot of Mars had me thinking Arizona or Utah, the Colosseum scene was reminiscent of Galaxy Quest, the Red martians were just tan, the long, sacred boat sequence to get to the magic holy tree tower or whatever...and then just a 5 second return to the shore when chased by green martians? WTF?  They made it look like some holy hidden maze to find the goofy thing...and then bam the enemies are right there taking shots at their boat?  Oh and they run all the way along right back to the boats just in time to catch up with John Carter? WEAK.  C'mon that boat is paddling at maybe 8 miles an hour at best...and there are hundreds of rifle armed aliens--ask the British on the march back from Lexington and Concord how that plays out...WEAK!

I saw a lot of great acting the background--and the lead, just had no charisma, I really didn't care about Mr. Carter and his accent was about as Virginian as mine.  You can't make a story good by adding just feels like they were covering up for a rather poor adaptation of the story...or at least one that could have been 60 minutes shorter.  No worries, I don't think there will be a sequel.

From the news today...
 In what is certain to go down as one of the biggest box office flops of the year, the $250-million-plus "John Carter" debuted with a disappointing $30.6 million this weekend.
Instead, last weekend's No. 1 film, "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," claimed the top spot yet again. The Universal Pictures film, an animated 3-D environmental tale for families, collected an additional $39.1 million. The movie has now grossed a robust $122 million in just 10 days of release.
Meanwhile, fanboys failed to gravitate toward Walt Disney Studios' "John Carter," a 3-D fantasy epic that has been eclipsed by bad buzz for months. But the movie starring Taylor Kitsch wasn't the only bomb at the box office this weekend. "Silent House," a thriller featuring Elizabeth Olsen, did not have an impressive debut, grossing $7 million -- but at least the movie was made for under $1 million. "A Thousand Words," an Eddie Murphy comedy that has been sitting on the shelf since 2008 and cost far more to make, brought in only a measly $6.4 million.
"John Carter," about a Civil War veteran who is transported to Mars, will likely force Disney to take a write-down, according to media analysts. Heading into the weekend, one Wall Street analyst, Evercore's Alan Gould, said the film could lose as much as $165 million.

Based on a century-old character created by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, "John Carter" was meant to appeal to young males. But a surprisingly older crowd turned up to see the movie this weekend, as 59% of the audience was over age 25. Those who saw the film -- a 64% male contingent -- assigned it an average grade of B+, according to market research firm CinemaScore.
Dave Hollis, Disney's executive vice president of distribution, offered little insight on why the film did not resonate with moviegoers.

“Every studio ultimately has their turn with a film like this -- despite how good it might be,” Hollis said. “I wish there was a simple silver bullet answer of why people didn’t come out in the kind of quantity we would have liked.”

"John Carter" was directed by Pixar Animation Studios veteran Andrew Stanton, best known for his work on films like "Wall-E" and "Finding Nemo." Unlike the movie's director, its leading man is still lesser known to most film-goers. While many television viewers are familiar with the 30-year-old Kitsch due to his role on the long-running television series "Friday Night Lights," "John Carter" marked the actor's first major film role.

Overseas, the movie fared better, grossing $70.6 million from 55 foreign countries, including Mexico, Brazil and South Korea. The picture performed best in Russia, where it was the No. 1 opening of the year and had the biggest opening day in the country's history.


Jack Badelaire said...

Wow, you were kind. I tore this movie apart today over at Tankards & Broadswords. What a steaming pile of crap...

noisms said...

I haven't seen the film, but you know what? I hope this teaches Disney and other film makers the lesson that you can't create films by committee and focus group. You need artistic vision, not desperate pandering to certain demographics (they changed the name from "John Carter of Mars" to "John Carter" on the basis of focus groups and test screenings - which says it all, really).

Fenway5 said...

@JB-I waited the weekend to write it so I could think about it a bit more before writing, and it probably caused my more tepid reaction....but I can't say I disagree with your review.

@noisms-I agree, and would go one step further in saying that anything done by committee ends up achieving only the lowest common denominator. In order to get census, many people must give up on certain visions and what washes out is a pale version of the original. I wonder if the director had a $100m budget if it would not have made it better by forcing more thought on story and much less on effects. I think often times less is indeed more.