The inherent irony of certain moviegoers’ responses to early footage shown from Disney’s John Carter adaptation – wherein they dismiss the film’s thematic elements and aesthetic as variations on those featured in the Star Wars franchise (itself, a direct descendant of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter source material) – has not been lost on readers well-versed in the area of classic science-fiction literature.
Today, we have a new John Carter featurette that includes interviews with the film’s cast and production crew – including, the film’s Oscar-winning co-writer/director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) and second unit director/co-writer Mark Andrews (Star Wars: Clone Wars) – actually going into detail about the highly influential and trend-setting nature of Burrough’s original Carter books.
John Carter is based primarily on the Burrough’s novel, “A Princess of Mars”, and chronicles the adventures of its namesake (Taylor Kitsch), a Civil War vet haunted by the loss of his family, who finds himself inexplicably transported to Mars.
There, he discovers yet another world suffering from internal warfare, and joins forces with aliens such as the beautiful humanoid Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), along with the 12-foot-tall green-skinned Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe, via motion-capture performance) – in the hopes of bringing peace to the troubled Martian civilization.
Check out the “Introduction” featurette for John Carter below:
Disney has focused primarily on playing up the grand-scale action sequences and dazzling visuals offered by John Carter in its marketing campaign for the film. However, side elements relating to how the film reflects the nature of Burrough’s source material – which bears the hallmarks of classic Victorian literature, but also offers a more unrestrained and “modern” portrayal of sci-fi tropes – are (arguably) more interesting.
That aspect has received less attention during Disney’s marketing blitz so far, in part because John Carter refashions its source material so as to offer a more appealing mix of family-friendly humor with PG-13 levels of violence (and just a touch of risque material) that attempts to replicate the Pirates of the Caribbean movies’ formula for success.
Whether or not the history behind the John Carter property will help the Mouse House’s feature adaptation to fly high where other would-be franchise starters fell flat (like Prince of Persia) – that remains to be seen.
John Carter opens in U.S. theaters (2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D) on March 9th, 2012.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures