Monday, December 26, 2011

John Carter Japanese Trailer (And Some Ranting)

Well I hope you survived Christmas and had a good one. Now to work-during the break a Japanese trailer for John Carter surfaced online, showing off more footage. And well...first if you haven't already watch the trailer below before you continue reading.

OK now we can talk. As you can tell by the headline, there is going to be ranting and it isn't going to be pleasant. As you can tell this trailer is attempting to fill in the backstory of John Carter before his arrival on Barsoom. And that is the part of the movie I am having the biggest problem with. No it isn't the casting of former Spy Kid Daryl Sabara as Edgar Rice Burroughs (which I still feel is a big joke). No it isn't that glowing blue device that looks like has taken the place of Burroughs' astral projection for how John arrives on Barsoom (even if it looks like a silly, cheap prop from the Asylum movie). Nope-it's the former Mrs. Carter and child. Yes apparently to flesh out John Carter's history Andrew Stanton and his co-writers have decided to have John have a family before he hits Mars...and have them killed off. Admittedly this wasn't a total secret. For months-in fact around the time of the reshoots the film underwent after Stanton screened it for his Pixar buddies-an actress named Amanda Clayton was added to the cast list in the Internet Movie Database as "Carter's Wife." Also we've heard constantly how John Carter is a "damaged" war veteran (in fact Stanton himself told an interviewer at Disney's D23 Expo he hired Taylor Kitsch because Kitsch plays "broken" characters well). But a dead child also? How exactly does this add anything to the storyline, especially since by movie's end John Carter is in love and (if that has survived) married to Dejah Thoris?

I have two problems with this addition. First it completely changes the character of John Carter. In the novels we get the impression that John Carter has never found true love until he arrives on Barsoom and finds it with Dejah Thoris. For me that was always an appealing facet of the book and the character-someone who has never felt that emotion and how far he would go to save her. Adding a former wife and child changes that because instead of someone who has never felt love, he's mourning it's loss and it makes him less interesting as a character for me. The second issue is that it's a cliched idea. Recently I watched for the first time in 10 years Ridley Scott's Gladiator. And guess what that film's opening scenes have-a war veteran returning home to find his wife and child killed, which causes him to become broken until he's forced to fight for his life against people trying to kill him. Granted the storylines go off in their own directions-Maximus isn't interested in saving Rome as much as killing the man responsible for his loss-but it's virtually the same idea. And I'm sure it's even older than that. Now some fans have argued that this isn't outside of Burroughs' concept because he establishes in A Princess of Mars that John Carter is possibly immortal-he doesn't remember much of his life and has remained eternally the same age-but Stanton himself already told Empire magazine that the immortal aspect has been removed, leaving him a normal human being, so that defense doesn't apply here.

Ultimately what this brings up for me has been my major issue with this movie-an almost seesaw effect of having one thing that sounds or looks great and something that sounds or looks terrible or is a pointless change or addition. For everything good (Willem Dafoe's Tars Tarkas, the look of Woola, the released pieces of Michael Giacchino's score) it seems something just as bad shows up (tattoos, blue-eyed Matai Shang, silly devices) and now this. I don't know if it will affect the movie Stanton is making (or has seen in his head all those years he claims to have been a fan) but was this really that necessary to telling the story? I doubt it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Art of John Carter: New Concept Art Revealed

Here's the short version: Disney has announced The Art of John Carter: A Visual Journey, a collection of conceptual artwork done for the upcoming movie. And it looks like some of that art (10 pieces in total) are now online at Comic Book Movie via You can check out the remaining artwork there and let us know what you think. (And a note, the cover shown above is not the final cover according to CBM.) So barring anything else new, have a safe and happy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Comic Review: Warlord of Mars #13

And today's entry in the Barsoom comic book battle offers up walking plants, white apes, a banth, hot red chicks in chains and John Carter in action.

This issue opens with a two page text piece, catching the reader up with Edgar Rice Burroughs, who has received a telegram to meet his late uncle John Carter in Richmond. Upon arriving he discovers his uncle alive and the same as before. And with him another manuscript telling of his adventures on the red planet...Upon his return to Barsoom John Carter doesn't land in the Atmosphere Plant but rather in a lush forest near a flowing river and with strange blue, plant-like inhabitants. But he doesn't get a chance to look around long as he rushes in to rescue a group of green men led by his friend Tars Tarkas from the vicious Plant Men and a pack of white apes. Escaping into a cave John learns that his beloved Dejah Thoris still lives and that he and Tars are in the Valley Dor, the promised paradise that all Barsoomians depart to when they believe their time is coming to an end. But as they soon discover they are alone in the cave as John finds a white blond man and a chained up red woman, the Princess of Ptarth Thuvia. When John kills the man he discovers that he was one of the Holy Therns and that contrary to rumor they are very human, a discovery that could rock the very planet itself...

As you can tell, this issue kicks off Dynamite's adaptation of The Gods of Mars and it pretty good style. Writer Arvid Nelson shows that he read the books and manages to keep faithful to the original story, which I respect even more now, especially after Marvel's abysmal A Princess of Mars series. From the opening of John's arrival to the introduction of Thuvia, it maintains Burroughs' breathless pace and tone.

For this run, the artwork is being done by another artist, this time Edgar Salazar. I admit to being a little disappointed that artist Stephen Sandowski, who drew the last three issues, wasn't brought back, but Salazar does a good job, capturing the Plant Men, the Apes and Thuvia pretty well. The backgrounds are a little nondescript though, lacking the detail necessary but hopefully that will change once we head into Issus' kingdom and the action picks up.

In closing, this gets a thumbs up. We'll see how it goes from here. Until next time then.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Comic Review: John Carter-World of Mars #3

While we wait for the next piece of movie news, we'll return to the dueling Barsoomian comic books clamoring for your money. And what does this issue deliver? Warhoons, savage calots, more kickboxing Dejah and bickering. Yes bickering.

When we last left off, Dejah Thoris had ran off into a sandstorm to escape her captor, Sab Than, when she took a fall down a hole. But instead of landing in Wonderland she finds herself again captured by Sab but shows off her Van Damme abilities and manages to escape...only to run into Warhoons who immediately throw her to the dogs. Literally as she must fight for her life against a pack of wild calots. Meanwhile Tal Hajus, Tars Tarkas and the female Thark Laos continue their quest and spend most of it arguing with each other, especially about Tal leaving everything to Tars to fight off. Eventually our group reaches the fabled Citadel of the fabled Warhoon Gothan, only to find what appears to be an empty space. But it's a mirage, hiding the Citadel where they find what they are looking for...

I have to admit, my opinions about this series has dropped a little from the excellent first issue. The second one was OK but this one is a mixed bag. First the good news-the artwork by Luke Ross is still excellent, capturing the looks of the Warhoons and the Calots (imagine an angry Woola) well while sticking to how they look in the film. He also handles the big action set pieces and manages to keep the reader's eyes glued to the page.

Where the issue falters a little is the writing. Again I don't know if it's Peter David's script or the fact that he's stuck with the ideas that Andrew Stanton has come up with for the film but I'm sorry-Dejah Thoris has become an idiot! Seriously she escapes, and gets caught. She escapes again and gets caught again. For someone who has been now rebooted into a kickboxing, sword wielding warrior woman she's turning into the least plausible one in a long time. Granted even John Carter would have problems taking down a pack of wild Calots but still her constant kicking of Sab's butt and yet being unable to get away brings laughs. The Thark section works fine and in some ways I wish the series was just about that.

In the end if you enjoyed the first two issues this one is entertaining but uneven. With one more issue to go hopefully it will pay off in a big way.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

John Carter of Mars Score Preview

How about some music for your Sunday evening? Last night the New York radio station WQXR had a hour long interview with composer Michael Giacchino and during the show three pieces of his score from John Carter was premiered. I had some problems with the station's streaming audio but if you want to give it a try you can listen to the entire broadcast at Or you can just listen to the three pieces thanks to Youtube below. Enjoy and again let us know what you think.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

John Carter News: Lynn Collins and Gods of Mars

Some news for you staying in this Saturday night that slipped by. First the site Superhero Hype has posted some brief comments from both Lynn Collins and Thomas Haden Church talking about John Carter Little new info is revealed but Church does talk about the process of becoming Tal Hajus while Collins talks about what she's seen and the approach being taken to the film.

The other news brief comes from Blogomatic, which has a press release announcing Marvel's next Barsoom comic book series, John Carter: The Gods of Mars The series is set to hit in March and as you can tell by the cover art it actually manages to be worse than Marvel's current A Princess of Mars series. Yikes!

Friday, December 16, 2011

John Carter TV Spots

I guess deciding it was time to ramp up the advertising, Disney has released two TV spots for John Carter online. Both feature more action, more Woola, more Warhoons and more of Dejah Thoris's skimpy wedding dress! Also the site Collider has posted some pics scanned from Empire Magazine, the one above showing John (Taylor Kitsch) with Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and another one showing Mark Strong as Dark Lord of the...sorry holy Thern Matai Shang (It was the robe.) You can see that pic at and check out the spots below and again tell us what you think.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

John Carter 3D IMAX Poster

Disney has just released a new poster promoting John Carter's release on the REALLY BIG SCREEN and as you can tell, they just took the already released Great Apes banner and added the words "3D" and "IMAX" to it. Talk about being lazy. Oh well have a look and tell us what you think.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Comic Review: Warlord of Mars-Fall of Barsoom #4

OK we now go from Mongo back to Barsoom for today's comic book review. Not a snappy opening I know but that's the best I can come up with.

As this issue opens, things are looking bad for the Orovars. The cities of Thark, Warhoon and Korad have fallen and the refugees are being forced to fend for themselves outside the city of Horz, causing them to descend in barbarism. Orovar general Van Tun Bor pleads with the Orovar Jeddak to bring them in but is refused. Fearing the demise of his people Van Tun Bor begins to hatch a plan to save them, unaware that the Jeddak has his own plans. Meanwhile scientist Tak Nan Lee manages to finish and get the Atmosphere Factory running but he also becomes suspicious when the Jeddak informs him he will be there in morning. Fearing that his people's time has come, Tak turns to the captured red woman Anouk to learn how to operate the Factory. And that may be what is needed as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance...(Corny cliche but here a pretty apt description.)

With one more issue to go before the finale, this issue spends most of its time setting up the characters and moving them into position for the final curtain. While short on real action, writer Robert Napton does a good job of keeping the reader interested with the court intrigue involving the Orovar Jeddak, Van Tun Bor's anguish and resolve to save his people and Tak Nan Lee's decision to trust Anouk and face what he feels is his and the Orovar's demise. It's an interesting set of stories leading to the finale we all know is coming.

Also getting an A+ is artist Roberto Castro, who manages to capture the characters and the settings very well. The opening pages, which shows a young Van Tun Bor playing with his brother and talking with his father is so natural looking you almost think you're on Earth before revealing the nasty, brutal fighting that has engulfed the Orovars. It's a subtle touch and I like Castro's handling of it.

With one more issue to go, let's hope the quality remains until the very end. Until next time...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Comic Review: Flash Gordon-Zeitgeist

OK I promised a review and here it is. Some spoilers ahead so bear that in mind while reading, otherwise FLASHHHH!!!

It's the year 1934 and the Earth is being bombarded by mysterious events and strange phenomena courtesy of the supreme ruler of Mongo, Ming the Merciless. The attacks also have another motive-to speed the conquest of Earth by a "proxy" ruler that was selected. While Ming plans his next move, polo player Flash Gordon and cartographer Dale Arden have to bail out over Geneva, Switzerland when their plane is destroyed. The two land near the house of Dr. Hans Zarkov who plans to launch a rocket into space to stop the attacks and become his unwilling co-passengers. As they head for space, another group comes to Earth, preparing their own mission to stop Ming and his chosen human ruler...

I have to admit I had mixed reaction when Dynamite announced they were going to publish their own Flash Gordon series. While I've enjoyed their Warlord of Mars and Fall of Barsoom series, I've been split on Dejah Thoris and found their Buck Rogers series underwhelming. Well thankfully-so far-this series looks to be going in the right direction. What I particularly enjoyed was the decision to keep the time period of Alex Raymond's original strips instead of bringing it into the future. Writer Eric Trautman manages to keep the basic plot of Raymond's work and add new ideas without destroying the essence of the original. The changes that have been made are also interesting-Dale Arden is now working for the US State Department and the revelation of Ming's chosen ruler (even though the cover art basically reveals the big surprise)-and he even throws in some homages to other versions of the characters that fans might get a good chuckle from.

Art wise the real driving force is Alex Ross, who provided the cover art shown above and the designs for the characters. Here he and artist Daniel Indro replicate Raymond's original looks for the three lead characters while managing to make them look vibrant and appealing. For Ming it looks like they took their cue from Max Von Sydow's Ming in the 1980 film-maybe not surprising since Ross has admitted to being a huge fan of the film-while some female slaves are definitely drawn in a matter that would have been too racy for 1934 audiences.

So in closing this first issue is a cool and fun take on a classic character and I hope the next issue is just as fun and exciting.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thor 2: And the Next Potential Director Is....

Sorry for the lack of updates this week. It might be a little erratic on here for a while but I'll try to keep it updated as much as I can. Now with that out of the way, earlier this week it was announced that director Patty Jenkins had bowed out directing Thor 2, citing the usual "creative differences." Well now according to the Hollywood Reporter, Marvel has zeroed in on two possible replacements: Alan Taylor and Daniel Minahan, both who directed episodes of HBO's epic fantasy series Game of Thrones. The article also reveals that several screenwriters have been approached to pen the sequel, including Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) and Roger Avary (who co-wrote Pulp Fiction.) You can check out the full article at

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Famous Monsters of John Carter

Sorry for the lack of updates in the last few days. (And I hope to have reviews of the latest issue of Warlord of Mars-Fall of Barsoom and the new Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist comic by this weekend or next week). With that said here's a treat for you old time monster fans: the revived Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine will be paying tribute to John Carter of Mars as they"take a look at the Fighting Man of Virginia, John Carter, as we celebrate Disney's new movie with a look back at Edgar Rice Burroughs and his literary legacy" according to the press release at You can read more info about the upcoming issue there as well.

Friday, December 2, 2011

John Carter Banners Released

I guess now the marketing is finally kicking into high gear. In this case Disney has released 3 new banners for the film. Have a look and tell us what you think.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

John Carter of Mars Trailer 2!!!

It's still a little early but for those who didn't watch Jimmy Kimmel here you go! I'll give a longer opinion later but for now it does a much better job than the previous trailer. The caps come courtesy of

Well I got a chance to watch the trailer for a second time and here's my thoughts, both good and bad....

I don't think you could get a more radically different trailer from the first one. That one had two problems: First it lacked the "epic" quality that the movie should possess. I admit that most of that was due to having little finished effects work but the dull, dusty look of Barsoom and the limited action gave little hint of what the story was or the action within and made it easy for people to dismiss it as a Prince of Persia or Cowboys and Aliens ripoff. The second problem was the humorless and rather dour tone of the trailer. Some I know defended this as being on purpose to sell the character of John Carter. But when did John Carter become a clinically depressed individual? It also shows how poor a choice "My Body Is a Cage" was as background music. A trailer should make you excited, not make you want to down Prozac.Well it seems someone must have remembered that this is a sci-fi adventure flick because all of those issues are missing. This one shows the epic scale of Barsoom and the characters off much better (well for the most part). And yes I'll take a cover of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir over Peter Gabriel's ode to mental depression anytime. Someone also must have remembered Disney's unwritten marketing rule which is (FIRST SARCASTIC REMARK ALERT!) that the film needs to appeal to 10-15 year olds with attention deficit disorder. In fact this trailer is so quickly edited that you almost have to play in slow motion just to see what is happening.

So what worked for this cranky fan? Well I'll start with two words: Taylor Kitsch. Yep he finally has convinced me he is John Carter. From handling the action sequences to interacting with the Tharks, he appears he has nailed the role. Surprisingly what sold him was just two words "Yes ma'am" in his response to Dejah Thoris. That's the Virginian gentleman we know.

Also the action sequences that were present were well staged (even though I have a problem with one-see below). The opening fight with the great ape manages to capture the viewer from the first-even though I'm sure countless Attack of the Clones comparisons are already being made-while the aerial battles for the most part looked good.

Now we move onto to the debatable elements: The CG characters. I admit I'm mixed on them. On the one hand Woola comes across as a living breathing creature and the great ape packs a ferocious punch (even if he is still too Rancor-ish for my tastes) but the Tharks are a mixed bag. Some scenes, especially the ones with Kitsch they come across well. But the shots of them cheering in the arena still look rubbery and that might be a problem. I would expect this for a film still six months to year out, not one that was recently announced as "locked" and finished. Maybe they'll still have time to tweak them but I have a feeling this might split the audience.

Also I'm sorry to say I'm still not sold on Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris. I just can't buy her as a sword wielding warrior. Now she looks better in this trailer than the first one-and I'm sure some horndogs enjoyed the flash of leg when she turned around in her white dress-but the problem is that you can have a character that can be a warrior princess but you have to believe the actress playing the part and I just can't. Maybe it will be better in the final film but she's still the biggest question mark of the cast.

Now we get to the bad stuff-the stuff that basically can't be ignored no matter how hard you try. And again that can summed up in two words: Matai Shang. As you've seen the Holy Thern doesn't have blond hair, but he does have baby blue eyes. Seriously whose bright idea was this? It ties the tattoos as the worst, most ridiculous change that Andrew Stanton and his collaborators have made. I've already seen some joke that Shang must have escaped from the planet Arrakis while I myself think someone should do a whole trailer with "Behind Blue Eyes" by the Who in the background. Also it appears that-as most of us thought-Shang has been rewritten into the major villain of the film. I know some have argued that this was a necessary change to make it work better if the planned next two films are made but basically we have a manipulative character, using others to achieve his goals (which usually means world or galaxy domination). In short Matai Shang is now less Holy Hekkador and more Dark Lord of the Sith. How is that an improvement?

The other thing that bothered me was the dialogue. To sample: "When I saw you, I believed something new could come into this world." "You're John Carter of Earth." "That don't look like a fair fight." "We did not cause this. But we will end it!" Jeez how corny can you get? Now this would seem the norm for a screenplay written by George Lucas or even James Cameron but as we keep getting reminded Stanton is an Oscar winning director who has been nominated multiple times for screenwriting (even though all of those were for original not adaptations) and that Michael Chabon is a Pulitzer prize winning novelist. Yet that's the best they could come up with? Suddenly makes Edgar Rice Burroughs himself sound like Shakespeare. Then again it's just a sample so hopefully the final film's dialogue won't be so cheesy.

In the end the feeling I get is that we're getting a visually stunning sci-fi flick but probably a poor adaptation of John Carter of Mars. Yes some of the major points have survived-from John taking out someone (I doubt Tars is really referring to the white Ape) with one punch to the wedding finale but the addition and change of Matai Shang to a Palpatine clone and the decision to change John Carter's major purpose-to save Dejah Thoris-has been replaced by the standard "we have to destroy the Death Star/Ring of Power" plot pretty much proves that. So in closing this trailer does a great job of selling the film as an epic but shows that we shouldn't get our hopes up for a faithful adaptation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Comic Review: Dejah Thoris #8

While we wait for the new trailer, here's this week's Barsoom comic review. Just be warned: There will be blood!

When we last left off, Dejah and the pirate queen Phondari and her crew were being led off to be prepared for dinner, in the Hannibal Lecter sense. As this issue opens, they watch the grisly handiwork of the cooks but are saved by Phondari's brother Joktai. But before they make it to Phondari's ship, their host Xen Brega appears, injuring two of Dejah's men and Phondari. Luckily an exploding buoyancy tank allows Dejah and company to escape. Afterwards Dejah discovers the truth behind the mysterious coin she found at the Helium pumping station-the coin is part of a fabled treasure of an ancient red warrior named Segotha-and makes a pact to find it with Phondari. But Xen Brega is not far behind...

From it's opening page, this issue moves pretty quickly, helping setup the threat of Xen Brega and the macguffin that Dejah and Phondari are setting out to find. As mentioned there is a surprising amount of bloodshed here-from the gory dinner preparations to the bloody work of Brega-that might turn off those looking for simple swashbuckling. So if you have a delicate constitution you probably should approach this issue with caution.

That said writer Arvid Nelson is capturing the pulp feel quite well now with the storyline and is equalled by artist Carlos Rafael. It may not please everyone but so far I've been enjoying this storyline more than the "Colossus of Mars" one. Dejah is still well portrayed as a resourceful heroine while her decision to join Phondari-to get funds for Helium to help with its reconstruction-shows the character that is willing to make sacrifices for her people shown in A Princess of Mars. And that's an improvement over kung fu kicking everyone.

So to wrap up it's a bloody tale, but for those who've enjoyed this story arc so far, a good one.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New John Carter Poster!

Thanks to Apple, a new poster has now arrived online and...well it's better than the previous one. You can see a full high res version at

John Carter Trailer Premieres 11/30

If you don't mind staying up late that is. Director Andrew Stanton has confirmed via that the new trailer for John Carter of Mars will be shown this Wednesday night: "Kaor! 5 days and counting, folks. Brand new 'Carter trailer coming 12/1 on-line. Carter himself will premiere it on Jimmy Kimmel Live 11/30." Jimmy Kimmel Live starts around midnight (so technically it is December 1) so set your DVRs (or whatever recording device you have). UPDATE Nov 29: It looks like Mr. Kitsch will also be hitting ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday as well So keep your eyes peeled for any footage that will show up.

Friday, November 25, 2011

John Carter of Mars: New Photos!

Sorry for the lateness but it would figure this would happen on Black Friday. The site SFX has unleashed six new photos from John Carter, including our first look at Woola and new shots of Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) and Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe). Also word has hit that the new trailer for the film will be released next week, possibly around Thursday December 1. To see the rest of the pics hit

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

John Carter: EW's First Look-Great APE!

How's this for a surprise (and it was good luck I had a scanner on my printer for this). Entertainment Weekly has a "first look" at John Carter in their December 2 issue (the cover story is Stars' Worst Movies) giving us a look at John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) and a great white ape. There is also some comments from Andrew Stanton where he mentions that "these white apes can't see...It gives him a slight chance to not be killed immediately." So what do you guys think? UPDATE Nov 23: Entertainment Weekly has now posted the pic online and I've went ahead and updated the image. They also have a longer chat with Andrew Stanton online so visit

John Carter: New Trailer Confirmed

Here it is short and sweet: Director Andrew Stanton has confirmed on his Twitter account that "New Carter trailer is complete!! Cannot wait to show it. Stay tuned..." No word when we'll see it but at least it confirms a new one is on the way. You can check out Stanton's comments at where he's also been updating on the music scoring sessions with composer Michael Giacchino.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Comic Review: John Carter-A Princess of Mars #3

Only two more issues left. Thank the maker for that.

As this issue opens...well here's the short short version: John Carter survived his fight with Zad, Sola reveals her parentage, the Tharks arrive in the city of Thark, which later turns into the city of Warhoon!?!? John is thrown into the pits after helping Dejah escape and meets Kantos Kan, gets into gladiatorial sports and ends by meeting Tal Hajus and his final opponent in the games...

At this point I'll just quote Herman's Hermits in my thoughts of the writing and artwork: Second verse, same as the first. So I'll just give a brief high points list of the lows that this issue sinks too:

-OK look at this cover. At one point did John Carter fight a giant squid in A Princess of Mars? Or in any of the books?

-First we're told were in the city of Thark but later after being thrown into the pits, John is told he's in the city of Warhoon? Did someone miss this in the copy editing stage or did they just start yanking out pages to condense the story?

-Tal Hajus has red hair. Since when did Lucy take over?

-John gets all huggy when the Princess forgives him his past transgressions. No icky kissing to turn off the boys.

-Dejah mentions that they could escape to Zodanga and be safe there. Yeah that's like escaping to the Death Star for protection.

-Our hero's first words of friendship towards Kantos Kan? "Put 'er there Kantos Kan." Suddenly he's Larry the Cable Guy of Mars.

Let's hope that if Marvel gets around to adapting the next Barsoom novels that it gets better than this.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kerry Conran's John Carter of Mars Concept Art

I'll cut to the chase: has posted several pieces of concept artwork that was done for director Kerry Conran's unmade version of John Carter of Mars online, as well as a link to a promo reel for the movie. I have to admit that most of the work looks good-in some cases better than what we've seen for Andrew Stanton's movie-so take a look at for the art and for the reel.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pixar's Brave New Trailer

Yep another trailer for your viewing pleasure-in this case the new trailer for Pixar's fantasy film. On the plus side it looks a lot better than Cars 2 so sit back and enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Comic Review: John Carter-World of Mars #2

This week's Barsoom comic review! With great white apes, sandstorms and woman trouble included.

Picking up where we left off, Dejah Thoris just offered up some kicks to her attempted kidnapper only to be distracted when she learns it's Sab Than, who immediately knocks her out. But with guards everywhere escaping proves risky and Sab's vehicle is damaged, causing them to crash land just as a massive sandstorm begins. Meanwhile Tars Tarkas and Tal Hajus head off on their quest to find the infamous Warhoon Gothan, with a tag along-Loas, a female Thark and apparently Tars' woman. However both parties find themselves at odds-the Tharks with an ape with a bad attitude and Sab Than with an angry Dejah. But the Princess might have found something else that is harder to escape...

I loved the first issue so I was looking forward to this one. But I have to admit I'm split on it. First the good stuff-the Tharks are well handled by writer Peter David and artist Luke Ross. I admit seeing Tars and Tal as friends might throw off the reader but if anything at least it builds up their relationship-one we know is doomed to failure. The fight with the great white ape is also drawn beautifully, even if the final resolution seems unlikely.

On the flip side though, the Dejah-Sab section seems to be nothing more than the standard capture/escape routine. It also brings up a major issue I've had with the movie-if she's a "warrior princess" how can she be captured so easily? She gets distracted when Sab reveals his identity, runs out into a sandstorm like an idiot and still manages to get tackled by Sab. For someone who insults Sab Than on the first page with "all you're showing me is your incompetence" Dejah seems to have just as much here. Also Loas? Is that Sola with a different name? I'm sure that's a debate for fans coming soon. I also can't say I'm sold on the great white ape. The rat/ulsio head is not a good look and in some of the art it resembles the wampa Hoth creature. Still that isn't Ross' fault but some concept artist on the movie. Still they could have done better.

So to wrap up, this issue is OK, not as good as the first one but still enjoyable. Just look past the flaws and have a good time.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Warriors of Mars: John Carter Vs. Gullivar Jones!

The second piece of news for the day (shows what happens when you're out sick) courtesy of Newsarama: Dynamite has announced Warriors of Mars, a new comic book series that will bring Captain Jack Carter and Lt. Gullivar Jones together. The series will be written by Robert Napton (whose currently writing the Fall of Barsoom series) with art by Jack Jadson and covers by Joe Jusko. The first issue is set for February 2012 and you can read more info at (Thanks to Blog in the Bowl for the post mentioning this.)

Snow White and the Huntsman Trailer

Mirror Mirror on the wall...I know this is a little off for this site but when you have Thor taking on an evil Charlize Theron and a sword wielding Snow White well it might be good for a chuckle or two. So take a look and see what you think.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Retro View: Masters of the Universe

All together now: I HAVE THE POWER!!! With that said...

As our story opens, the planet of Eternia is having problems. The forces of the evil Skeletor (Frank Langella) has captured Castle Grayskull and its keeper the Sorceress (Christina Pickles) and declaring himself ruler. Standing in his way though is the planet's leading warrior He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) and his friends Man At Arms (Jon Cypher) and Teela (Chelsea Field) who discover that a locksmith named Gwildor (Billy Barty) has created a device called a "Cosmic Key" that was able to breach the castle defenses. Using the key they enter the castle but are overwhelmed by Skeletor's men and using the key flee to another planet...called Earth. There they find help from teenagers Julie (Courteney Cox) and her boyfriend Kevin (Robert Duncan McNeil) as they attempt to return home. But Skeletor and his henchmen-including Evil-Lyn (Meg Foster)-are hot on their heals, as is a cranky cop (James Tolkan). Can He-Man save the universe and his friends from Skeletor's evil goals?

Ah Masters of the Universe. What can you say about a movie that features a pre-Friends Courteney Cox, the principal from Back to the Future (sadly never calls He-Man a slacker), Billy Barty in drag in one scene and Dolph in tiny shorts? Well I guess you could call it cheesy 1980s fun or a painful reminder of what fantasy/sci-fi films were from that period. Not to mention the precursor to Transformers and the gaggle of films based on toys and video games that have flooded cinemas in the near 25 years since it's release.

I admit to being in the middle. On the one hand the film is pure cheesy fun, especially when Langella is onscreen, chewing the scenery through his Skeletor makeup. Also fun is Foster's Evil-Lyn as she provides a good foil for Langella to play off of. The film's first 15 minutes are also well handled and seem to promise a great epic adventure film, with help of impressive production desgin (credited to artist William Stout) and good FX (by Star Wars vet Richard Edlund). Then we hit Earth and it becomes somewhat cluttered. Between the teen subplots (she lost her parents) and the sudden downscale action scenes (one battle takes place inside a record store) it loses some of the fun of those opening minutes. It also takes turns into camp comedy with Barty and and the cranky cop that almost turns the film into Flash Gordon. As for Dolph, well he looks the part and maybe wisely he doesn't have much dialogue.

I also noticed how much the film cribs from other films and stories. The opening credit sequence is a virtual copy of the opening credits from Superman, Skeletor's battle cruiser resembles Jabba the Hutt's sail barge from Return of the Jedi, Gwildor is an escaped Hobbit and Skeletor's troops are basically running around in Darth Vader costumes. And the plot is basic good vs evil, with references to both Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian accounted for. It's not a bad thing but for some you'll be able to figure out the story from the opening frame.

In the end, Masters of the Universe is a film you just have to take at face value. If anything I'll take it over Michael Bay's Transformers any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Cheese Rating: *** out of 4.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Comic Review: Warlord of Mars #12

Well that was fast as issue 11 was just released a few weeks ago. With that said, let's dive into the finale of "The Heretic of Mars!"

As Dejah Thoris and Sola bid Zat Arras good night, the pair instead make a short detour into the quarters of the late Vem Drost, only to find someone rummaging through his things. The thief escapes and Dejah finds a box containing several Zodangan gold coins, leading her to suspect Zat Arras is behind the framing of John Carter. Meanwhile at the Atmosphere Factory, Carthoris and Tars Tarkas are reading a journal left behind that reveals that the amulets to enter the factory were created by the Therns and passed down through the ages, leading Carthoris to suspect the Therns are behind the plot and the killings of the caretaker of the factory. Eventually both mother and son discover the true culprit, whose real goal seems to be to reveal the truth about the Therns...

With this third and final issue of the "Heretic" arc, Arvid Nelson wraps it up pretty nicely. With subtle hints about the Therns that were revealed when John Carter returned to the action, this issue is jam packed with enough goodies that fans of the books and non-fans I'm sure will enjoy the twists and turns. He also leaves us with a touching moment between mother and son and a setup for the story that is coming up.

The character artwork is also top notch, again by Stephen Sandowski. Dejah, Carthoris, Tars Tarkas and Sola are rendered quite well and are appealing drawn. The backgrounds aren't as well done though, being pretty bland but considering the action and character interaction I don't think that is too much of a drawback.

So I'll wrap up by just saying get this issue and you'll have a good time. And next time get ready as John Carter returns and meets The Gods of Mars!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tarzan 3D Logo Revealed

I'll skip to the news. Summit Entertainment has released a couple of promo logos at the on-going American Film Market expo and among the ones released was this one. In case some of you forgot (and I did), this was previously announced as a CGI animated film, produced by the same company behind the current Three Musketeers film and is not connected to the live action film being planned at Warner Bros. You can see the rest of Summit's promos at

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dominic West Talks John Carter

First up I hope you had a safe and fun Halloween. And now for today's news: The site SFX posted a brief chat with actor Dominic West where he talked about his role as Sab Than in John Carter. Among the topics discussed, West revealed that the air ships of Barsoom will be like "tall ships from the 18th century – there are lots of ropes, there’s lots of brass and wood and huge sails that are powered by light." He also described Sab as "a “a fairly straightforward evil villain who wants to take over Mars and get the girl. So that’s what he tries to do but inevitably the hero stops him doing that" and that the film "starts off as a Western and then it goes to Mars and becomes Star Wars. It’s a pretty extraordinary film." You can check out the interview at (and yes that is West above. He played the role of a Naboo Royal Guard in Star Wars Episode I. How's that for a bit of trivia?)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

John Carter "Fun Facts" and Character Bios

With the recent announcement that the movie is "locked," I guess we should be seeing word of a new trailer and more images from John Carter soon. In the meantime a site called Stitch Kingdom has posted character descriptions and facts released by Disney Some of the descriptions sound good (especially the Tharks), some confirm early speculation (Tardors Mors (Ciaran Hinds) is Dejah Thoris' father in this one) and I the only one tired of hearing John Carter described as "broken" and "damaged?" Oh well take a look and see what you think. (Thanks to the Unofficial John Carter movie site for the link.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Comic Review: Warlord of Mars #11

Yep, another comic book review for the week.

As this issue opens Dejah Thoris and Sola question a servant named Okat, who tells them he was arranging John Carter's possessions on the order of the palace steward Vem Drost when he found the mysterious amulet that was discovered in the last issue. But it looks like Vem Drost has disappeared. Meanwhile Carthoris and Tars Tarkas are attacked by a group of Warhoons who plan on holding the duo to their arena for deadly sport. Luckily Kantos Kan and and his scouts rescue them and allow them to go on their way. Cutting back, we find Dejah engaged in a game of Jetan with the Holy Hekkador of the Therns where she asks him about their history until Zat Arras arrives with news about finding Vem Drost, stuffed into a locker. Finally reaching the Atmosphere Factory, Carthoris and Tars find the caretaker's assistant, injured and babbling about the Therns, Plant Men and a valley and that "there is more than one. Not so special now..." With that cryptic warning, the pair find another amulet and an the hope that the truth lies in a mysterious journal...

With the second issue of "The Heretic of Mars" plot line, Arvid Nelson is doing an interesting job bridging the two first two Barsoom novels. The mention of the Valley Dor and the actual nightmare it holds is a good build up to what we know is coming, as is the attempts by Zat Arras to carry favor with Dejah Thoris. The mystery angle adds tension and helps expand what was going on during John Carter's absence. I know some fans may not like this fill in the blank approach but for those who've enjoyed the series so far it's fitting in well.

Helping move the story along is Stephen Sandowski's artwork. He captures the savage battle between Carthoris, Tars Tarkas and the Warhoons exceedingly well, as well as capturing the characters well. Granted the backgrounds are a little bland, lacking the vibrancy you would expect of Barsoom but that's the only complaint I have about the work. All in all another entertaining issue. And one more to go before John Carter's return so Carter fans hold on.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Comic Review: John Carter-A Princess of Mars #2

Sorry for the lack of updates in the last few days. But I'm back and with a look at the second issue of Marvel's take on Edgar Rice Burroughs. Unfortunately those looking for an improvement won't find it here.

After a brief recap of the first issue where John Carter overuses the word "amazing", we jump in as he meets the Princess Dejah Thoris-who promptly spits on him (yep that's a way to make her updated). Afterwards the story follows the novel with her "trial" in front of Lourquas Ptomel and John earning his chief status. We also meet Sarkoja whose hatred for both John and Dejah leads to a duel between John and the Thark Zad that...Look you read the novel you know how it goes.

Sorry for the snark but I was guess after the lackluster first issue I was hoping that maybe it was a fluke and this one would be a vast improvement. Sadly no such luck. First Roger Landridge's writing makes it clear the book is really being aimed at younger readers who apparently will relate to a braggart boasting of being "amazing" and being a "fearless hero and all." While John Carter would become boastful later on (after all he was the greatest swordsman of two worlds), here it just gives the reader-especially the first time reader-an unlikable character to root for. Also a spitting Dejah Thoris? Turning her into a blitzing warrior maybe pushing things, but her dignity went out the window with her saliva. As for Filipe Andrade's artwork? Sorry folks still not sold on it. When you can't turn out a drawing of the most beautiful woman of two worlds you know you're in trouble.

So in closing I have pretty much the same reaction as I did for the first issue-it's an empty money grab meant to appeal to undiscriminating youngsters. My suggestion if you want to introduce the world of John Carter and Dejah Thoris to young readers just give them a copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars. If anything it's better written and whatever cover art is on it is bound to be better than this.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Sherlock Holmes 2 Trailer

More explosions, Moriarty, the return of Rachel McAdams' Irene Adler and well just watch and you'll see the rest.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Comic Review: Warlord of Mars-Fall of Barsoom #3

Sorry for the late review. I needed a few days off from Barsoom but now I'm ready to go.

Last seen getting a sword to the body, Orovar General Van Dun Bor survives and finds the green men declaring victory of the city Thark. After finding a thoat, he rides on, only to find an Orovar convoy under siege, this time from rogue Orovars who have been driven from their home. Driving them off, Van Dun and the soldiers prepare a trap for the oncoming green men to slow them down. Meanwhile at the Atmosphere Factory, scientist Tak Nan Lee continues his work to get the factory running, but a rising conflict between the Orovars and the captured red woman Anouk causes problems. And unknown to anyone the plant is being watched...

Following my review of John Carter-World of Mars, I decided to take some time before jumping into this issue. As is the case with most limited series, issue 3 is more setup than payoff, showing the breakdown of the Orovars, the rise of the Tharks as a separate race from the Warhoons and the struggle to get the Atmosphere Factory ready before tragedy strikes. Writer Robert Napton does a good job of balancing the plots and keeping the reader interested. He's help by artist Roberto Castro whose work captures the falling planet and its races well.

I know this review seems brief but I honestly can't say anything bad about this issue. I did enjoy World of Mars more but as far as this series goes it's still a fun and entertaining read for Barsoom fans.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Comic Review: John Carter-World of Mars #1

OK here it is! The question is how good is it? Well read on to see...

We open with John Carter recounting his life and his arrival on Barsoom and learning about the planet's past from both the Princess Dejah Thoris and the Thark warrior Tars Tarkas who relate their separate, yet interwoven tales. As the real story opens the city states of Helium and Zodanga are at war. So are Zodanga's ruler Than Kosis and his son and successor Sab Than, who feels that his father is unfairly treating him. But after thrashing a few soldiers, Sab is banished for a week and sets upon a quest to prove his right to rule and to upstage his father. Meanwhile in the Thark territory we meet Tars and Tal Hajus-here friends under an aging Jeddak. Tal Hajus feels that the Jeddak is growing old, weak and overweight and reveals his strategy to win the throne-by going after the rumored Gothan, a vicious Warhoon who has reputedly survived for centuries by feasting on those he kills. And he wants Tars to help him in his quest. Finally we remeet Dejah, this time playing scientist when she receives an unwelcome visitor...

I have to admit I was weary when this series was first announced. Maybe it was the fact that it seemed like another cash-in by Marvel and Disney to tie-in to the upcoming John Carter movie. Or maybe it was the fact that I was growing cynical after hearing so much about the movie that wasn't encouraging. And following the lackluster first issue of John Carter-A Princess of Mars I figured this one would be another tossed off comic. Well surprise: This one actually rocks! First up the smartest thing was hiring Peter David. Having enjoyed his past work, he manages to keep the story moving while easily cutting between stories. I especially loved the section on Tars Tarkas and Tal Hajus and establishing a friendship that we know is doomed to failure. Also David throws in little touches from the novel-like John Carter referring to himself as Captain Jack Carter and the presence of Than Kosis-that I'm sure fans will get a kick out of. I admit that the change of Than Kosis and Sab Than's relationship might put off some fans, but I actually like that there is tension between them and Sab Than's attempts to prove his worth. The only negative I can think of is the last page and well let's just say blitzing. Even with that misstep David gets an A plus on the writing side.

On the art side, well this is where I'm torn. Not because of Luke Ross' work though. In fact it's pretty nice. He captures the Tharks well and thankfully makes them look alien and unique-not the "Hulks" of the Dynamite version nor the silly looking ones of the Princess comic. He also captures the likenesses of the characters well-John Carter does look like Taylor Kitsch. And the brief shots of Zodanga and Helium are cool. Where I'm torn is well what I've been snarking about for a while now-those damn tattoos. And yes they still look awful, even in comic book form. Especially the one slapped on Sab Than's face. I also have to ask-is that supposed to be a thoat we see John and Tars riding on the third page? It looks awfully bulky. Also the Heliumites most love those feather things on their air craft since this one we get a one man flier with things on it-it resembles a spider creature crossed with the speeder bikes from Return of the Jedi. Still Ross manages to make it colorful and appealing to the eye which is the important thing.

I guess to wrap up, it's best to approach this series for what it is: a prequel to a movie. I admit that I have my issues with what I've seen and heard about the movie but to my surprise that didn't stop me from enjoying this issue. I hope the remaining issues (and I guess Marvel decided to cut it short, the front mentions that this is a four issue series, not the five originally announced) prove just as fun.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thor 2 Gets A New Date And Director

For those waiting for the next solo adventure of the God of Thunder, well you have to wait a little longer. Disney has announced that Thor 2 will be moving from July 26, 2013 to November 15 of that year. Apparently Disney needs the date for their animated Phineas and Ferb movie. Coming Soon has the announcements here along with the new date for the back from the dead Lone Ranger movie. I wonder if those need to make $700 million bucks to get sequels? UPDATE: Following up the new release date, Marvel has announced the new director for the film: Patty Jenkins, best known for the drama Monster with Charlize Theron and episodes of the AMC TV series The Killing will be taking over the reins for the sequel. You can read the full story at

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Craig Brewer Talks Tarzan

Here's some news for you ape-man fans: The site I Am Rogue has an interview up with writer/director Craig Brewer (currently doing publicity for his Footloose remake) where he talks about his plans for Warner Bros' new Tarzan film. Among the information revealed, Brewer had just turned in the script and is excited to be working on the film: "I am so excited about it because I just turned my script into the studio last Friday. I’m waiting to see what they think. My producing team loves it, and some other people at the studio have read it so I’m waiting to see. I can tell you it’s the best thing that I’ve ever written. I hope they’re going to let me do it because I really think we are going to make an incredible Tarzan. So I’m hoping to do it." He also reveals that the film "definitely doesn’t take place in a modern context. I was a big fan of the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ books and it takes place in the African Congo around the turn of the century so it’s the classic legend." You can read the rest at

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

John Carter Needs $700 Million

If you want a sequel. That's according to an article on Slash Film that quotes a profile of Andrew Stanton that the New Yorker has done. The article admits there are some stumbling blocks in the way-an unproven leading man in Taylor Kitsch, a bland title that tells the audience nothing, a lack of audience buzz despite the film being 5 months away from release and mixed reactions to both the trailer and the footage shown at the D23 Expo. The article does point out though that Avatar faced similar issues and still conquered the box office, not to mention Stanton's Pixar history and the possibility of a big marketing push over the holidays so we'll see. So do you think John Carter can make that much at the box office? UPDATE: More info has come out from the New Yorker piece, this time from the site The Playlist, which reveals that the film underwent "a lengthy" 18 days of reshoots after the Pixar team watched and critiqued a three hour rough cut of the film. Among the problems was "a rather drab opening sequence in which the details of the Barsoomian wars on Mars are explained" which Stanton reworked down into an opening "battle between Zodangans and Therns" (OK anyone got an explanation for where that came from?). Also the article reveals that the film did receive a positive response at a test screening in July but voices concerns that the film might end up like this past summer's Cowboys and Aliens as another high concept box office disappointment.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

New John Carter Pic!

OK how about some late news? The site Comic Book Movie has posted a scan from the current issue of the British movie magazine Total Film, showing us a new pic of John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) looking a little bruised and with what looks like a chain behind him. Take a peak and let us know what you think. UPDATE: Total Film has now released the image officially as well as some brief comments from director Andrew Stanton Sorry for the low-res quality of the pic. Hopefully a high resolution version will surface soon.

Comic Review: Dejah Thoris #7

A little piracy for your Sunday.

When we last left off, Dejah had just been captured by Phondari, the Pirate Queen of Barsoom, and her band of cutthroats on their ship, the Jedessa's Revenge. As this issue opens their ship is attacked by a bigger craft. Facing capture, Phondari agrees to release Dejah, who quickly using her golden wings joins the fight, but are out numbered and captured. Eventually we meet the captain of the bigger ship: Xen Brega, another pirate who has a history with Phondari. After revealing he has also capture Dejah's men from the Helium Pumping Station, he sends Dejah, Phondari and her crew to be prepared for dinner...

At this point I figure the best way to approach the Dejah Thoris series is the same way I approached the 1970s Marvel John Carter: Warlord of Mars series as a mixed success. Like that series, the strongest asset is the artwork, here done by Carlos Rafael that manages to catch the eye-and not just because it has scantly clad women (even though that doesn't hurt). The attack on the Jedessa's Revenge is well handled, and the ship design for Xen Brega's ship is pretty cool, if maybe a little too Star Wars.

On the flip side is the storyline. While the story so far doesn't reach the low points of say the Wingmen section of the "Master Assassin of Mars" run from the Marvel series, it still has some storytelling issues. Again the problem could be trying to review it on an issue by issue basis without knowing how the story will end, leaving the reader with an unfinished chunk. Part of it could also be the fact that since this is story takes place prior to John Carter's arrival we know that Dejah will make it through, robbing the reader of any potential suspense as to the outcome. It can be hard to get invested when we know that our hero won't face any real perils. That said Arvid Nelson's writing is sharp and at least manages to capture the pulpy tone well.

I'll end with the same recommendation from my review of the previous issue-give it a look at the store and if you seem interested go for it.

Dejah Thoris Sideshow Statue Revealed

Some Barsoom news from San Diego Comic-Con for you guys. Sideshow Collectibles has released first images of a Dejah Thoris statue for fan...