Monday, April 29, 2013

"What's Really Wrong With John Carter"

Sorry for the lack of updates but I've been busy. That's all I got.

I haven't linked to many reviews of John Carter but while looking around I found this one that really struck me. It's by Salon's Steven Axelrod and it hits upon a point that was brought up a lot during John Carter's fall out: That the film failed due to Andrew Stanton being too "faithful" to Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels. What that showed though was a lack of knowledge of the source material since-as I've ranted along with others-Stanton's biggest failure was his decision to ignore the books in favor of his own ideas. In this case Mr. Axelrod also agrees in his piece, that the film's real failure was that it wasn't faithful. Here's a sneak peek that sums it up perfectly:

Many of the tropes Burroughs invented have been ripped off, or ‘anthologized’ by generations of filmmakers, most notably in recent years, Lucas, Spielberg and Cameron. The auteur of Avatar even admitted he was making ‘an Edgar Rice Burroughs movie’. What none of these directors have managed to duplicate or purloin is the tone of Burrough’s breathless prose. And no one has fallen so far short as Andrew Stanton. Apparently his love for the material is sincere; all the more baffling that he would betray it so artlessly. The list of blunders is endless, but you can start with that “jumbled, confusing narrative” that all the critics complained about. No one ever complained about the jumbled narrative in a Burroughs novel. And one ever called Tchaikovsky “tuneless”.
You can read the rest at and decide for yourself if he's right or not. 

1 comment:

pascalahad said...

On a surface level he is right. Many details have been changed or transformed. But I would argue that they are only details, and that the basic structure is unchanged. The Therns are still frauds. Carter caught Matai Shang in a blatant case of lie when he said that "Therns are not burdened with mortality", which probably means that all his PR speech before that moment was just all a lie. The air factory is not abandoned, it would have been used in part two or three, that was made clear in the interviews. And yes, Dejah has been changed somewhat, but she ends up being one of the strongest parts of the movie anyway.

Is the end result on par with the novels? No, by a long shot, that is true. But there's enough of the novel in the movie to keep me passionate about it nonetheless.