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 http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/disney/johncarter/gallery/

John Carter Trailer Premieres 11/30

If you don't mind staying up late that is. Director Andrew Stanton has confirmed via http://twitter.com/andrewstanton 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 http://www.locatetv.com/tv/good-morning-america/7364151. 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 http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=84625

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 http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/11/23/taylor-kitsch-john-carter-white-ape-first-look//

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 http://twitter.com/andrewstanton 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: http://barsoomia.org/ 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 http://barsoomia.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/motherload-conran-john-carter-art-and-reel/ for the art and http://lgfilms.com/conran/reel/johncarter.htm 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 http://www.newsarama.com/comics/warlords-mars-2012-111109.html. (Thanks to Blog in the Bowl http://thebloginthebowl.blogspot.com/ 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 http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=83888

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 http://www.sfx.co.uk/2011/11/01/space-ships-in-john-carter-will-be-like-18th-century-tall-ships-says-star/ (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?)

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...