Tuesday, August 30, 2011

World of Mars #2: Thoats and Apes!

I'll cut to the chase-Marvel has released the cover for the second issue of their movie prequel series John Carter: World of Mars and as you can tell it gives us a first view of what the white apes and the Thoats of Barsoom will possibly look like in the movie. So what do you guys think?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

John Carter: Empire's "Heroes of 2012" article

As some might remember a month or so back Empire Magazine announced they would have an article on John Carter of Mars for their September issue as part of their "Heroes of 2012." Well the article hasn't shown up online but I did get a copy today of the magazine. First there was no new pics included, just the concept art and some images from the film's trailer. As for the article here's the high points (and there are some spoilers):

Director Andrew Stanton talks about the name change to just John Carter, which sounds more like PR concerns were the key: "I had no problem at all focusing on who this character is and letting the 'Mars' part be earned during the story and any subsequent films. You can call something anything once people like it."

Stanton on casting Taylor Kitsch as John Carter: "The thing about Taylor is he does damaged goods really well. He's really good with broken characters. And he did an amazing job of making you think there were other CG characters actually there. He's really athletic, so he's got great muscle memory and can act with something that's no there."

The article confirms that Stanton and co-writers Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon has rewritten John's back story and have eliminated the "immortal" aspects of the character. Stanton also mentions that he has toned down (as the writer of the piece puts it) "the crazier plot elements" of Edgar Rice Burroughs's novel to work better as a three act structure. Also Matai Shang (Mark Strong) is described as the "sinister" advisor to Sab Than (Dominic West) and the Zodangans.

Stanton on shooting in Utah: "You can drive about an hour in any different direction and it's completely different geography, the options were endless."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist Covers

A week after it was first announced, Dynamite has released four more covers by Alex Ross, Paul Renaud, Wagner Reis and Francisco Francavilla for their upcoming Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist series via Bleeding Cool http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/08/25/flash-gordon-vs-ming-and-hitler-all-for-a-dollar/. The first issue will also be sold for a dollar and based on two of the covers it looks like Flash will be be squaring off against both Ming...and Hitler!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

John Carter Sequel and Reshoot News

Still more news from D23. First up MTV has posted their own chat with Taylor Kitsch and director Andrew Stanton at http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2011/08/24/john-carter-sequel-taylor-kitsch/ where they talk about the film and plans for upcoming sequels, even though both comment they are taking a wait and see approach: "I don't know," Stanton said with sincerity. "We'll just hope there is one right now." "One at a time," Kitsch said with a smile. Also the site About.com has posted up an interview with Lynn Collins where she also talks about the sequels http://movies.about.com/od/johncarterofmars/l/bl-lynn-collins-john-carter.htm: "Hopefully you'll see her (Dejah Thoris) in two more." UPDATE: More news. This time from Collider who interviewed Ms. Collins about the film http://collider.com/lynn-collins-john-carter-reshoots-interview/111293/. In this case she mentions the recent reshoots and that Stanton has decided to pull back on the "warrior princess" version of the character with Collins admitting that they did "take out some of the punches. There were a lot of punches.” Now can they get rid of the tattoos?

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Look at "Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist"

I'll just cut to the important stuff. The site Bleeding Cool has released a cover and some information on Dynamite Comics' upcoming take on Alex Raymond's space hero http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/08/19/alex-ross-on-flash-gordon-kirby-genesis-silver-star-and-a-whole-book-of-covers/. The series, written by Eric Trautmann with art by Daniel Lindro, will hit stores on November 23 (according to Comiclist http://www.comiclist.com/index.php/lists/dynamite-entertainment-extended-forecast-for-08-24-2011) with cover art by Alex Ross and a 1 in 10 cover by Francesco Francavilla (shown above). As for the plot:

"The year is 1934, a time of two-fisted swashbuckling, of fearsome threats and wild adventure-and of ever-growing threats on the horizon.
Three valiant humans — Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov — are plucked from the Earth, traveling to the distant planet Mongo. Their exploits are legendary, battling the machinations and terror schemes of the dreaded emperor Ming, the All-Seeing Ruler of Mongo. But they did not fight alone…"

Thanks to El Blog en el Cuenco http://thebloginthebowl.blogspot.com/ for catching this.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

John Carter of D23: The Day After

Yep more articles on the presentation, in this case from Quint at Aint It Cool News http://www.aintitcool.com/node/50906 and Entertainment Weekly http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/08/21/disney-d23-john-carter-taylor-kitsch/. In this case both writers reveal that 4 scenes were shown (some sites like Ramascreen only said three). Their consensus: Neither writer seemed sold on Lynn Collins, with EW stating they thought her and Taylor Kitsch had no chemistry in the scene shown (even though they were willing to give it a benefit of the doubt) and that Woola will probably win over the audience. EW gave thumbs up to Dafoe as Tars Tarkas even with the unfinished CGI while Quint mentioned he's concerned about the "realistic" approach Andrew Stanton is taking with the film and fears it might be sacrificing the fun pulp feel of the novels. The EW writer also compared an arena action scene with a great white ape to the arena sequence in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. I just want to know how Lynn got away wearing that dress at Disneyland.

UPDATE 1: Another review of the footage shown, this time from Bad Ass Digest http://www.badassdigest.com/2011/08/20/d23-expo-report-john-carter-of-blahs. As you can tell the guy wasn't impressed, in particular with Kitsch. I'll try to keep the reviews coming as the day goes on.

UPDATE 2: Two more opposing viewpoints. First up is the Hollywood Reporter's Heatvision blog http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/avengers-john-carter-brave-5-225658 which gave the clips an enthusiastic notice, commenting "The clips showcased elements of drama, romance, action and cute humor, positioning the movie as a modern-day Star Wars, if it works. (Which would be ironic, since John Carter books were a Star Wars inspiration.)" On the flip side the Playlist found the footage "lukewarm," in particular the scene between John Carter and Dejah Thoris and the arena sequence http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/d23_john_carter_timothy_green_receive_lukewarm_response_oz_and_frankenweeni/.

UPDATE 3: The last of the reviews I'll be posting here. The first comes from Collider http://collider.com/d23-recap-the-muppets-john-carter-oz-the-avengers/110675/. Most of it is a general rundown of the footage shown but like other reviewers comment on the film's tone: "On the one hand – everybody in the film seems to be playing to that somber melancholy beat, on the other – it’s still just a guy fighting and jumping over giant CGI monsters." The second is another review from AICN, this time from "Mr. Beaks" http://www.aintitcool.com/node/50924 and like Quint expresses concern over the look, tone and casting: "From the drab color palette to the familiar looking set pieces, JOHN CARTER looks completely joyless...Plop two flavorless leads in the middle of this dull, dusty universe, and you've got one seriously torpid tentpole." He does add that he hopes the film plays better as a whole than the chunks shown.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

John Carter: D23 Is On!

Yep right about this time the Walt Disney Studios presentation is going on at their D23 Expo. I have no idea in which order John Carter of Mars will be shown (they're also previewing The Avengers, the new Muppets movie and Pixar's Brave) so we'll have to wait and see. Just don't hold you breath for any photos or videos as according to the Twitter feed on the Unofficial John Carter Movie website (http://www.jcofmars.com/) cameras, cell phones and recording devices are forbidden. I'll update as soon as the first articles and any pics show up. UPDATE: Well our first pic courtesy of Walt Disney World Daily News http://wdwdailynews.com/d23/photo-of-taylor-kitsch-at-d23-expo/ showing off Taylor Kitsch minus some hair.

UPDATE 2: Courtesy of http://twitter.com/JohnCarter is a rather blurry pic of director Andrew Stanton onstage along with two pieces of art showing off John Carter and Dejah Thoris.

UPDATE 3: Some brief comments again courtesy of Twitter:
-Taylor Kitsch on Woola: "If you can picture a lizard dog with 10 legs and rows of teeth … you won’t meet a more loyal friend."
-Willem Dafoe on playing Tars Tarkas: "In order to get the correct size, I had to perform on three foot tall stilts, which was pretty tricky on the desert terrain."
-Lynn Collins on John Carter: "When she sees Carter and his superhuman abilities, she views him as a potential savior for the entire planet."

UPDATE 4: Well here's the last update from D23. A couple of sites have posted run downs on the footage screened and you can get two differing accounts here http://m.io9.com/5832921/new-john-carter-footage-shows-off-martian-super+leaping-and-gigantic-lovable-lizard+dogs and here http://www.ramascreen.com/john-carters-3-clips-shown-at-d23-expo-2011-werent-impressive. Three scenes, including a look at Woola were shown, along with the trailer. Coming Soon also snapped a pic of the cast and Andrew Stanton. I guess they forgot to get any snaps from the footage or the no recording rule was in effect.

UPDATE 5: Well I guess I wasn't done. A site called ORTC has posted some red carpet interview clips with the cast and Stanton. You can watch the Kitsch/Stanton clip below and watch Dafoe's at http://www.ontheredcarpet.com/video?id=8318001 (There is an interview with Collins but for some reason I keep getting an error message. I'll check back later to see if it starts working.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Conan The Barbarian Arrives!

Yep the return of the Cimmerian on the big screen happens this weekend. I'll try to see it and get a review up soon. To tide you over the site Yell Magazine has posted a list celebrating the Top 10 Barbarian movies http://www.yellmagazine.com/top-10-barbarian-movies/18140/ that'll take you back to the era of swords, sorcery and scantly clad women. Also a video treat that shows off another heroic Conan... UPDATE: Sadly Conan only slayed his enemies on the big screen. Several sites are reporting a disappointing gross of $10 million for the weekend, meaning it came in fourth at the box office. I don't guess we'll be getting a sequel anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Warlord of Mars #14 Preview

I'll bet you won't be seeing anyone dressed like this in the movie. MTV has posted up a sneak preview of issue 14 of Dynamite's Warlord of Mars series http://geek-news.mtv.com/2011/08/16/dynamite-first-look-warlord-of-mars-14/, so I'm guessing it will be going on past the originally announced 12 issue run and begin adapting The Gods of Mars, based on the plot description: "John Carter learns the shocking truth about the therns, the mysterious sect of priests who control the worship of Issus, the goddess of all Mars. He and Tars Tarkas, the greatest warrior of the green Martians, will have to battle their way through the hellish labyrinth of the therns' temples before they can tell anyone about their discovery. Fortunately for them, they'll have the help of Thuvia, Princess of Ptarth. But even if they free themselves from the temples, they'll have another, even more deadly threat to contend with: an ancient terror from Mars's larger moon..."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

John Carter Footage Shown

A little Sunday morning news then. First up from England, visitors of the "Empire Presents... Big Screen" movie festival were shown two scenes from John Carter of Mars and Empire's web site has a run down of what was shown http://www.empireonline.com/news/feed.asp?NID=31774. The footage according to the article was the same footage shown over a month ago at the "Edit Bay" presentation. I wonder if this footage will be shown at next weekend's D23 Expo as well? I guess we'll find out.

Also it looks like John Carter might have shot a masked man in the back with a silver bullet. As has been widely reported Disney has pulled the plug on their big screen version of The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp as Tonto due to budget concerns. Deadline Hollywood first reported this, claiming the budgets of both John Carter and Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great and Powerful were responsible for the cancellation. Interestingly (and several sites are still reporting this) the article suggested that John Carter's budget alone had reached a whopping $300 million thanks to "extensive reshoots." The current version posted http://www.deadline.com/2011/08/shocker-disney-scraps-johnny-depps-lone-ranger/ now lists $250 million. Those tattoos must have cost a lot!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

John Carter "Style B" Poster

The site Movie Poster Shop has up for sale a new poster for John Carter of Mars and as you can tell...it's the same poster, except for it being darker and a new tagline "Find Your Destination." Either it's a movie poster or an ad for a travel agency. You can check out the poster and various foreign variations at http://www.moviepostershop.com/john-carter-movie-poster-2012/ (Credit to http://barsoomia.org/ for discovering this.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

John Carter D23 Expo News

Where to go after Mars? How about Disneyland! A day after the IMAX announcement, Disney has confirmed that John Carter of Mars will be previewed at their upcoming D23 Expo in Anaheim on August 20 according to the press release on Coming Soon http://www.comingsoon.net/news/d23exponews.php?id=80879. Stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe are slated to appear, along with director Andrew Stanton and co-writer Mark Andrews (even though the release only lists both of them as part of a 25th anniversary Pixar panel) and composer Michael Giacchino. The entire shindig runs from August 19-21 so we'll see if anything new leaks out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

John Carter of Mars Goes IMAX

This probably falls into the "no surprise" catergory. Disney and IMAX has announced that John Carter of Mars will be released on those big IMAX 3D screens the same day the film will be hitting regular screens on March 9, 2012. Here's the full press release courtesy of Coming Soon http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=80838:

"IMAX Corporation and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures today announced that the action-adventure film John Carter, from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton, will be released to IMAX theatres simultaneously with the film's worldwide release on March 9, 2012. John Carter is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs and stars Taylor Kitsch, Willem Dafoe and Lynn Collins.

John Carter, set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars), tells the story of war-weary former military captain John Carter. He is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions among the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas, and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris. In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.

"Audiences will immediately feel transported in the epic adventure of 'John Carter,'" said Dave Hollis, Executive Vice President, Theatrical Exhibition Sales and Distribution, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. "Andrew Stanton has envisioned this vast landscape in a way that's not been seen before, and we're thrilled to be able to offer our viewers this film in the immersive IMAX 3D format."

"'John Carter' is a great addition to our 2012 film slate and is sure to resonate with our key demographic," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President, IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "We are pleased to work, once again, with the talented teams at Disney to bring audiences worldwide this groundbreaking film in IMAX 3D."

The IMAX release of John Carter will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience with proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Comic Review: Dejah Thoris #5

Let's just skip to the review, shall we?

With the forces of Greater and Lesser Helium making a last ditch effort to stop the Jeddak of Yorn and the Colossus, Dejah and Valian Dor sneak in and prepare their assault. But a traitor in their midst causes Valian to be attacked and wounded and the fleet ambushed. But that doesn't stop our princess as she takes to the air and thanks to Valian's device that causes a disturbance in the Colossus Dejah moves in for the kill but not without great loss...

For this final issue in "The Colossus of Mars" storyline we get air battles and sword fights aplenty. In other words what fans have wanted from the get go. The issue also sets up some possible future story lines, brings in a future nemesis for Helium (let's just say if you know the books you'll get the reference) and has a touching ending. In all this might be the best issue so far of this series. Let's also not forget the artwork from Carlos Rafael that portrays the action and all of the set pieces with a sure hand.

I know this is a real brief review but compared to the previous issues I don't have that much to complain about-except for more blitzing Dejah but I guess I'll have to live with it since this now has become the norm (even though at least a comic book version is easier to buy than Lynn Collins. Sorry folks.) As for the entire story arc well I'll give it a **** rating for the art and a **1/2 for the storyline. Hopefully the next announced arc "Pirate Queen of Mars" will be better.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Comic Retro View: Creatures on the Loose! #16

With pretty much all of the previous John Carter comics reviewed, on occasion I'll turn the spotlight on other similar comics. So get ready for "Gullivar Jones...Warrior of Mars!"

As our story opens former military man Gullivar Jones is leaving the Officers' Club when suddenly a man appears before him floating in the air. The man-named Lu Pov-has come to Earth to "summon" Gullivar to the planet Mars. But when Lu Pov collapses he gives Gullivar an amulet which immediately sends our hero on his quest. Once on Mars, instead of a barren world, he finds a great city and a beautiful princess Heru. Unfortunately she's just been given as a tribute to a race of lizard like creatures who serve Ar-Hap but Gullivar saves her. He also discovers new strength and agility while fighting them off-always handy on a distant planet. After rescuing her, the two get to know each other but just as things take a turn for the romantic, wingmen serving Ar-Hap kidnap Heru. Can our hero save her? I guess we'll find out in the next issue...

Previously started under the title Tower of Shadows, Creatures on the Loose! was an anthology book published by Marvel Comics, mostly filled with reprints of older monster stories. With this issue the company decided to add an original feature and-looking for something along the lines of their hit Conan the Barbarian comics-decided to give Edwin Arnold's Lt. Gullivar Jones a try. Written by Roy Thomas, the 10 issue story is a very loose adaptation which adds more swashbuckling and creatures to the mix to spice up the action. Gone is Arnold's humor-even though some in jokey references to Flash Gordon might get a chuckle. Thomas instead adds action-which was the hallmark of his Conan work-and it carries the reader through to the cliffhanger ending.

Probably the most interesting change made is how much Gullivar ends up resembling another Martian adventurer-John Carter. While many Edgar Rice Burroughs fans and scholars have debated the influence of Arnold's novel on Burroughs' work, Thomas here takes some ideas from Burroughs-especially giving Gullivar both super strength and the ability to jump higher. The wingmen are also Burroughs-inspired, in this case the Klobargen from the Carson of Venus series. Also interesting to note is that this issue carries a March 1972 publication date, meaning it hit the racks a good month before DC's first Tarzan comic (issue 207) which featured their first John Carter story. How's that for a coincidence?

But the real reason to seek out this issue if nothing else is the artwork. Drawn by the legendary Gil Kane, the comic is a four color spectacle-from the bright red lizard men to the beautiful-even if she is green-Heru, to capturing the action Kane gives the story the visual kick it needs. Kane later worked on Marvel's John Carter, Warlord of Mars series and this serves as a good warm-up for that series as he shows the same style and approach to both series.

In closing I'll give this first chapter a thumbs up. I wish someone would collect the entire "Warrior of Mars" arc though in a trade paperback (and while they're at it collect Michael Kaluta's Carson of Venus series from DC as well). Maybe in the future someone will.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

John Carter of Mars Trailer Pics

While we wait for Disney to release "official" pictures from the movie, both ERBZine and the site The Film Stage has posted galleries of images pulled from the trailer and posted them at http://www.cartermovie.com/photos/atrail01.html, http://www.cartermovie.com/photos/atrail02.html and http://thefilmstage.com/2011/07/14/50-high-resolution-images-from-john-carter/. Take a peek and start your own "Is Dejah white?" debate!

In addition the Mouse House has been using the Huffington Post to help promote John Carter of Mars with various posts on the site. The most recent one? "14 Incredible Worlds You Would Want to Visit!" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/01/14-incredible-fictional-worlds_n_909229.html#s315894&title=Barsoom?cmp=wdsmp_johncarter_4D_huffingtonpost Sadly Olivia Wilde World didn't make the cut. Still have a good chuckle at the other choices and have a good day.

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...