Monday, July 30, 2012

Revenge of the Sith: Arcade Fire Style

Some interesting Youtube fun for the day. Given that we missed the one year anniversary of the first trailer for John Carter by 16 days (July 14, 2011) I had planned on doing something about it. But mostly I just remember how much I didn't like Peter Gabriel's Prozac laced cover of Arcade Fire's "My Body is a Cage." Well it looks like someone decided to use the original for a cool fan trailer for the final Star Wars film. And yeah you can debate the merits of the film the song in some ways seems to fit that galaxy better than Barsoom. After all didn't Darth Vader end up in his own cage? Take a look anyway.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Comic Review: John Carter-The Gods of Mars #5


This weekend's other comic book wrap-up. That's it, that's all I got.

In this case you know the story's ending by now so just now we get a huge siege of Omean without any interference from the Therns, a brief reunion of John and Dejah and that someone else ends up with the Princess of Helium in the Temple of the Sun.

I mentioned this before that reviewing two competing series telling the same story you begin to run out of things to talk about. For this series writer Sam Humphries at least kept a fast pace, even if he took some liberties with the story. Most of them worked, even though having Carter saying "Yee-haw" too much made me wonder if his descendants included Luke and Bo Duke. The change in the ending here is also unique, even though it leaves one question-is Marvel even going to finish up their series of adaptation? There was no ad in this issue and I've not heard any word of any future takes on Barsoom from them. I guess fans will have to wait and see or go to Dynamite's Warlord of Mars series for the conclusion.

I also have to give props to artist Ramon Perez for his bright and colorful artwork in this series. It was a nice improvement after the awful work in Marvel's A Princess of Mars miniseries and he maintained a good and constant run on it.

I'll end by giving this series a *** out of 4. It wasn't perfect but it's still a good version of Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel. OK that's it. See you next time.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Comic Review: Dejah Thoris & The White Apes #4


The first of two comic book wrap-ups this weekend finds the Princess of Helium in a final battle with those damn dirty apes. Or sort of...

In this case, communicating telepathically with her son Carthoris, who has arrived with the ship of hatchlings, they blast the apes despite Carthrois' fearing for his mother's life. But she survives and is more determined than ever to discover the secret of the "Battle of the Face of Barsoom." Once there she discovers the truth and that it leads to a terrible revelation involving someone she loves.

After three pretty good issues I was ready for the thrilling conclusion. And what I got was an interesting but not exactly thrilling end. I admit I didn't want some mano-a-mano between Dejah and the ape leader but the ending was still lacking in the action department as writer Mark Rahner spends the rest of the issue wrapping up the mystery of why Dejah and her friends were left there and the "Face" on Barsoom (and yes if you know your Martian history you can figure it out). That said the ending was a good one, giving the series a nice emotional wrap up.

I'll just repeat what I said before about the art, this time by Lui Antonio: I like it but with the apes done there wasn't much in the way of action or horror sequences. Still it maintains the viewer's eye throughout.

With that said, I'll give Dejah Thoris and the White Apes of Mars a ***1/2 out 4 for the entire series. I know some didn't like it but that sometimes happens. Besides if everyone liked everything it would be a boring world. And this series isn't boring! Tomorrow another Barsoom set series comes to a close and I'll see you then.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Man of Steel: Comic Con Trailer

Well sort of. A user on Youtube has spliced together footage from the current official trailer with footage and the original audio taken from the presentation at the San Diego Comic-Con and the results are pretty good. In fact this is fast becoming my most want to see film of 2013. Take a peek and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jon Favreau Talks John Carter of Mars


OK it's not much but it is something to think about. At a Television Critics Association event to promote the upcoming TV series Revolution, Jon Favreau talked about what he was planning when he was originally attached to direct John Carter of Mars at Paramount which is reported at http://www.craveonline.com/film/articles/192797-john-favreau-reveals-his-original-plans-for-john-carter and revealed that his plans for it were much "smaller" than Andrew Stanton's finished film:

“I probably wouldn’t have been as ambitious. I think both of us really appreciated the source material. Stanton started to weave in elements from the later books. I probably would’ve told a smaller story. As we were developing the script it was much more the experience of John Carter being found in this new world and him coming up in A Man Called Horse kind of way among the Tharks and then opening up the world slowly.”


I'm sure some will think Stanton's approach was more appropriate but if anything the "smaller" approach might have worked better. Oh well some food for thought.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Comic Review: Dejah Thoris #13


In this case its an unlucky 13 both for the people of Helium and this issue.

Waking up as from the worst hangover ever-including dreaming of making out with Zodangan leader Than Kosis!-Dejah finds herself becoming weaker and easier for the Boora Witch to take over. Meanwhile the Witch has other plans, namely possessing Tardors Mors' body and using him in an attempted assassination of Than. With him under arrest, Dejah assumes power and its up to Kantos Kan to discover the true secret back in the Toonolian Marshes.

I've admitted I'm not a big fan of combining Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom with the sword and sorcery plot of this storyline and this one really revels why. I've liked writer Robert Place Napton's work on some of the other Warlord of Mars comics-especially Fall of Barsoom-but here it just isn't firing. Part of it is just some down right bizarre concepts-including an uncomfortable scene where it appears Dejah is seducing her own grandfather!-to the revelation at the end. I also don't care for the subplot involving Than Kosis (even though I must be confused since I thought it was Sab Than in the last issue. I'll have to recheck). There is also some bloopers in this issue. The "s" is left off Tardors' last name (I don't know if it is a typo but still) and at one point Dejah proclaims herself "Jedessa" of Helium. That's Jeddara from the books. Again I know that's being nitpicky but so far most of the Dynamite books have been pretty good about getting the references right.

As usual Carlos Rafael's artwork will either appeal to you or it won't. Can't really think of much else to say about it beyond I like it but I know some don't.

In short, this issue isn't a winner as much as I hoped it would be. The blurb for the next issue indicates it will be the last of this story arc so I'm grateful for that. I just hope the next one is a vast improvement over this.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Man of Steel Teaser Trailers


I know this is a little off the beaten track here but I thought they were worth posting. Giving new meaning to the term "teaser," these two trailers for Zack Synder's Superman reboot seems to be going for a more emotional tone with little Supes action so we'll see how it turns out. Otherwise take a look and decide which voice-over you like best: Russell Crowe's Jor-El or Kevin Costner's Jonathan Kent.




Saturday, July 21, 2012

Comic Review: Lord of the Jungle #5


This weekend's comic book review finds Tarzan dealing with love and all the problems it brings. And some nasty apes don't help.

With D'Arnot being held captive by the ape creatures, he's saved by Tarzan before he becomes lunch and has a final confrontation with the leader of the tribe. Afterwards both men disappear, leaving the rest of the tribe to be wiped out by D'Arnot's men, who become convinced that they are too late when they discover a bunch of human remains. Also adding to the mystery is the disappearance of the buried treasure that the Clayton-Porter expedition was finding. Despite pleas from Jane the company eventually has to leave, leaving a note just in case. Meanwhile Tarzan nurses D'Arnot back to health, reveals he dug up the treasure and makes a fateful decision-to go to America to find Jane. As this issue ends the two find themselves short of funds but find a way to make some quick cash...and begin a new chapter in Tarzan's life.

With this issue, writer Arvid Nelson builds up not as much action as the previous issues, but some surprisingly emotional depth as he portrays both Tarzan and Jane's heart break after they are separated and Tarzan's decision to leave the jungle. Some of the plot here is condensed from the novel-notably D'Arnot's quick way of determining that Tarzan is the child of Lord and Lady Greystoke-but it still maintains most of the major beats of Burroughs' novel and offers up some little pluses along the way-like how its Esmerelda who is right that Tarzan is the Greystoke heir.

The story telling is enhanced by the artwork by Roberto Castro, who manages to capture both a muscular, bronzed Tarzan pretty much as Burroughs described him. The ape creatures (who at this point are taking over from the cannibal tribe from the original novel) look fearsome enough and most of the human characters are distinct. Admittedly the backgrounds don't pop as they should (a common problem in some cases it seems with Dynamite's Warlord of Mars comics) but the jungle still maintains a nice green look and an air of mystery. The only thing to warn is that for those who feel that Dejah Thoris is too curvy, Castro's Jane Porter manages to give her a run for the money. Just a fair warning for those who have problems with curves.

So to bring this to a close, Lord of the Jungle is definitely a good swinging time for Tarzan fans. Until next time...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kellan Lutz Briefly Talks Tarzan


More news from Comic-Con. In this case Fandango posted a video where they talked with Kellan Lutz, who was there to promote the final Twilight film and the subject of Tarzan came up. You can watch it below where he talks about working with the motion capture and his preparation for the role.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Andrew Stanton Making Finding Nemo 2


And I guess the subtitle is: Where does that leave the John Carter Sequel?

Several sites are following up on a story by Nikki Finke's Deadline that Andrew Stanton has agreed to direct a sequel to his 2003 Pixar blockbuster Finding Nemo http://www.deadline.com/2012/07/john-carter-helmer-andrew-stanton-dives-back-into-animation-with-finding-nemo-sequel/ as part of a deal that also includes another stab at live action filmmaking.

The question is where does that leave The Gods of Mars? Most are reporting that Finding Nemo 2 is being set for a release date of 2016, which seems to fit the release pattern of most of Stanton's films (there was a 5 year gap between Nemo and WALL-E and four years between that film and John Carter). Now that doesn't rule out a John Carter sequel, but there may not be much involvement from Stanton. Or-and this is just speculation-it could be part of a deal to get a sequel made if Stanton gives Disney what they want, with him possibly taking a producer credit and someone else possibly directing. Because let's be honest-John Carter and Dejah Thoris might be immortal, Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins are not.

The other option could be tied into a statement that Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc President Jim Sullos said-as reported by The John Carter Files site-that he felt a sequel would be made, possibly without Disney. With Stanton now out of the picture, so to speak, it could make taking the property elsewhere easier and allow for a restarting of the franchise.

In the end I'm sure there will be many who are disappointed with this news. I hope the sequel movement can recover from this and find a way to rebound and convince others that a new John Carter of Mars film is worth the risk.

Monday, July 16, 2012

John Carter Sequel: Can the Fans Make a Difference?

Consider this an "Opinion Time" piece.

With the past week's San Diego Comic-Con now over and all of the big movies and TV shows previewed-from Iron Man 3 to Pacific Rim-the John Carter Sequel Facebook Group, which you can visit here https://facebook.com/groups/backtobarsoom, was out to stir up support and get signatures for a petition to get Disney to make a sequel. Most of their activity was covered by the John Carter Files so you can head over there for all of the updates-including a surprise appearance by James Purefoy-at http://johncarterfiles.com.

The movement also caught the eye of Indiewire writer Kevin Jaegernauth, who wrote about it http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/sad-trombone-john-carter-fans-use-booth-at-comic-con-to-collecting-signatures-for-a-sequel-20120713#.UAClYu1WLaq. But according to him all of this activity may have been for nothing: "There is an earnest sadness about this whole effort, which will largely be futile in the end. Frankly, these are kinds of fans Disney could have used before the movie came out, not after." (It should be pointed out that Jaegernauth also wasn't a fan of the movie, giving it a "D" rating on Indiewire a few months back.) But it raises a question: Can the fans of this movie have an impact and get that sequel going?

If you ask them I'm sure the answer would be an enthusiastic and very defiant "YES!" They're determined to get that sequel made, despite Disney writing it off. The question is can they make it happen? I have to agree somewhat with Jaegernauth here-Disney had no interest in building up or listening to the fans before the movie came out, why should they start now? To them they have other franchises to pursue-Marvel and its numerous comic book characters, OZ: The Great and Powerful, The Lone Ranger, Pixar's Monster University-and they probably feel even with new chairman Alan Horn in place that a sequel is just not worth the financial risk. Or even going in with Andrew Stanton again since Stanton was the one held most responsible for the budget problems and being hard to work with, especially with the marketing department.

What many of them are clinging to is the belief that the fans can make a difference. And it has happened before. From Star Trek to Firefly, devoted fans have kept what was considered a flop alive and even brought it back from the dead. I admit my own opinion about the movement is split. I can empathize with their desire for Stanton to get to make his sequels but I just can't support Stanton. I feel he was the major reason John Carter didn't work for me as a film and I'm just not that interested in seeing him return. But I will say this: If they succeed and convince some other company to make it, then I'll be there. I will give it a chance. Because they deserve to have another film. John Carter of Mars deserves it too.

So in closing the fans can make a difference by not giving up. I may not agree with them but I can see where they are coming from. And finally: Thor: The Dark World? Anyone want to explain that title?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Solomon Kane US Theatrical Trailer


I know I've fallen behind with Comic-Con news but there are a lot of sites that can do it better than I can. (Even though I'll comment tomorrow on some news concerning John Carter). But for now here's a treat-the official US trailer for one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Enjoy!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tarzan Young Adult Novels Coming to US

More jungle book news. As some of you might remember author Andy Briggs was authorized by Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc to write a new series of young adult novels featuring new versions of Tarzan and Jane Porter. The first one, Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy, was published I believe in late 2010-early 2011 and Briggs followed up with a sequel, Tarzan: The Jungle Warrior. Both books however have not been released in the US, but Briggs himself has confirmed on his web site that publisher Open Road has acquired the rights to both and will be releasing them on October 16. You can read his post and the reason why the books have taken so long to come to America here http://www.andybriggs.co.uk/Home/Entries/2012/7/13_TARZAN_HITS_AMERICA!.html. Also the British site The Guardian has an excerpt from the second book online for your reading enjoyment at http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site/interactive/2012/jul/12/new-adventures-tarzan-andy-briggs?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Solomon Kane Finally Hits US


It's about time. Aint It Cool News has revealed that Radius-TWC, a division of the Weinstein Company has picked up the release rights for Solomon Kane in the US and it will be hitting VOD (video on demand) on August 24 and has a theatrical release set for September 28. In addition the film will also be shown this Friday the 13th at Comic-Con with director Michael J. Bassett, star James Purefoy and others in attendance. You can find out more about the showing and the upcoming release at http://www.aintitcool.com/node/56904

Monday, July 9, 2012

Robin Maxwell Talks Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan

Another video for your day. From the recent Tarzana ECOF convention is this video where author Robin Maxwell talks about her upcoming new take on Jane Porter and Tarzan and you can watch it below. The book is set to hit stores Sept. 18 so take a peek.

John Carter CGI Workflow Video

I know, another case of being late. In this case a video of the CGI animation workflow by effects artist Patrick Giusiano has been posted and you can watch the video below. It's a pretty cool breakdown so effects fans will enjoy it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Comic Review: Warlord of Mars #19


Well that was fast. It seems like only a week or so back I just reviewed the last issue. Oh well better sooner than later.

After the battle with the First Born, the forces of Helium and the Tharks are busy removing the last pockets of resistance. But there are problems-several First Born are refusing to surrender, Thern leader Matai Shang has not been captured and worst of all for John Carter his beloved Dejah Thoris is trapped in the Temple of the Sun. But all of these concerns take a back seat to a new threat-a reverse atmosphere factory constructed by the First Born that will destroy Barsoom. John, Carthoris and a female First Born named Linea band together to stop a high priest of Issus from activating it but find themselves facing perilous pits, white apes and a mad man bent on world destruction. Just another day for our heroes then...

Serving as a the first of a two issue break between adapting The Gods of Mars and The Warlord of Mars, "Worms of Mars" as this story is called is so far OK. Writer Arvid Nelson does a good job portraying John Carter's concern and feelings of loss over Dejah while having him take charge. That's the good news. The so-so news is the attempts at building up a love/hate relationship between Carthoris and Linea. Granted this is before our young prince ever glimpsed the charms of Thuvia but here its mostly the two of them hurling insults at each other which grows a little tiring after a while. Still the major thrust of the story-a First Born Doomsday Machine-is an intriguing one and Nelson does a good job of keeping the momentum moving.

For this issue, the art is being done by Stefano Martino and I'll say it now: It's good. Really good. He manages to bring a nice and clear style to the characters-even though Carthoris is a little too white than compared to the earlier issues. His backgrounds might seem a little bland but there is some really good ones too-the panel showing Carter standing outside the Temple and a panel of the insides of the First Born factory-stand out. There is nothing to distract and it's a good job, even if John Carter is suddenly wearing those pirate boots he used to wear in Marvel's John Carter, Warlord of Mars series.

I'll end by giving this issue a recommendation. I hope Martino continues on with the art and fans of Warlord of Mars will have fun with this issue.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tarzan 2013 Poster

More Tarzan news for the day. In this case courtesy of the site Holland Meets ERB comes a poster for Constantin Films' adaptation http://www.hollandmeetserb.nl/erb/movie2013Tarzan.html. The big thing here is the confirmation of the release date of next year for the film. Just FYI for you ape man fans.

Dark Horse Presents...Tarzan!

I hope you faithful readers survived the fireworks. In this case it looks like Tarzan has been swinging through another comic book series, this time with art by the great Thomas Yeates. If you haven't seen it, well you're not alone. It was published with little fanfare as part of Dark Horse Presents, an anthology series and ran through issues 8-10. So I guess consider this a late FYI. I'll try to get the issues and post a late review soon as I can. Dark Horse does have a preview up from issue 9 at http://www.darkhorse.com/Comics/Previews/18-887 showing off the issue in question so take a peek.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Opinion Time: Should John Carter Be Rebooted?


I hope you guys in the US are keeping cool. With that said here's a topic that might cause some steam.

This week sees the release of The Amazing Spider-Man, Sony's rebooting of the franchise only 5 years after the last entry in Sam Raimi's series was released. So far I'm split on whether or not to see it (I love Spidey but I am just not that interested in seeing the origin story retold again) but it has got me thinking, especially after talking a friend about it, whether or not John Carter of Mars should have one as well.

Now I know it's a little early to be considering this but I know there are quite a few fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs who were not pleased with Andrew Stanton's movie and see the idea of a reboot that sticks closer to the books that, while it will not erase the memory of Stanton's film but at least get a "proper" John Carter film on screen. Even a friend of mine who is one of the biggest ERB fans I've met and who said he liked the film said he would rather wait a few years for a reboot than get a sequel.

Now would a reboot work? Well so far it seems to for Batman Begins and Star Trek, both of which were highly successful films both critically and comercially and have led to new franchises. Granted I know some Trekkers weren't pleased with JJ Abrams' film and some Batfans haven't warmed to Christopher Nolan's take but there is no denying that both films resurrected two stalled film series. The other thing about both films-even though you can debate this and I'll understand-is a return to the basics. Nolan's film didn't have the complicated plot of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman with the Joker being revealed as the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents while Abrams returned back to Kirk, Spock and the gang instead of continuing on with The Next Generation crew or new characters. What could make a rebooted John Carter of Mars appealing-at least to some ERB fans-could be a return back to the original books instead of another round of Stanton's take on the material-no shape shifting Therns or moping John. Also another issue is that a lot of times reboots are coming in to make up for films that failed to live up to expectations. While it wasn't a huge hit, the consensus seems to be that 2008's The Incredible Hulk was a much better film than Ang Lee's 2003 film version.

But there is a flip side to this to consider. The first thing is whether or not the fans of Stanton's film will accept it. There has been ever since the film came out a growing-and often vocal-fanbase around the film, most notably the Take Me Back to Barsoom Facebook group, that's main goal is get a sequel greenlighted. Would they be open to a new take on John Carter without Stanton, Taylor Kitsch or anybody else from the first film? One of the major issues that I've seen in some early reviews of Amazing Spider-Man is that the writers admit to being loyal to Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire. That loyality could make the idea of a reboot unsuccessful since the fans of the original film won't go out of I guess you could call it spite or a feeling of betrayal.

Another issue is whether or not Disney-or another studio-would think there would be any money to be made. Most reboots have come about after an original franchise has run its course-we were four films in before Batman got rebooted and 10 films plus countless TV shows before Star Trek did. They were in essence rebooting a proven moneymaker for a new audience who missed the originals the first time around. But the stigma of John Carter's box office performance might mean that Disney won't be interested in giving a second go. Of course there is a gray area here. The first five novels in the series are in public domain, which could mean that a studio could conceviably think it's a property worth giving a new shot at. Granted Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc might not approve-if their lawsuit against Dynamite Entertainment over their Warlord of Mars comics is any indication-and Disney might not appreciate it since they've crowed about owning the exclusive film rights, but they didn't take legal action against the Asylum over their Princess of Mars film so who knows. Or if anything another studio could consider adapting one of the later books where Carter is only in a brief role-Thuvia, Maid of Mars or A Fighting Man of Mars for example. On the other hand starting over may be the only way to get a new Barsoom film on screen. Will Disney risk another round with Stanton? That may be an even bigger question than should they reboot it?

Finally is the question "will it be any good?" Sometimes rebooting a property can fail to deliver-last year's Conan the Barbarian for example. If there is a reboot of John Carter will it deliver a good movie, one that will win over audiences and critics, especially those who were dismissive of Stanton's film? Or will we get the opposite and get a film that makes Stanton's look like a masterpiece by comparison?

In the end though the question is will John Carter ever return to the big screen, either by reboot or sequel? We'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Comic Review: John Carter-The Gods of Mars #4


The second comic book review this weekend. That's all I got.

I'll spare recounting the basic premise and note the changes writer Sam Humphries has made. In this case when we last left off Zat Arras had just unleashed a hungry plantman on John Carter and Carthoris. Luckily for them Tars Tarkas and Thuvia show up to save the day-yep she isn't in the Valley Dor. Carter also faces off with Zat and there's a different fate for our Zodangan. After that John rallies the troops and heads off for the final showdown with Issus and the First Born.

Reviewing these things issue by issue I've begun to realize leads to certain problems. How many times can you give the same praise or criticism to a series? I was thinking this when reviewing this issue. It's not a bad issue-in fact this series has been a vast improvement over Marvel's previous John Carter-A Princess of Mars series-but there is still some issues with the storytelling I'm not thrilled with. Having John refer to the Plant Man as "uglier than a sack full of armpits" or calling Tars "greenskin" seems at odds with Carter's southern gentleman background. As for the rest of the issue some of the changes I could understood and do work, especially John's final face off with Zat Arras.

Also reviewing these things you run out of ways to talk about the artwork. So I'll just make it short and brief: it's nice, bright and colorful.

I know this is really short but as I mentioned before reviewing two series that are telling the same story at the same time makes it hard to come up with a way to praise or criticize one with seeming unfair to the other. Marvel's doing a good job with this one so if you enjoyed the other issues it's worth picking up. Until next time...