It's safe to say at this point that the marketing campaign for Disney's John Carter has been something of a mishandled affair. From the decision to cut the title "John Carter of Mars" down to the all-too-generic John Carter, to the decision to release an atmospheric first trailer as opposed to an action-packed one, the studio's mission to position their film as the first big blockbuster of 2012 has instead resulted in an attitude of lackluster interest amongst the general public.
The marketing team for John Carter apparently knows that the film still needs a big push onto the mainstream radar, because in the final weeks leading to opening day, we'seen the the campaign ramp up dramatically, with action-heavy trailers and multiple clips of footage all being released to help prove that the film is a worthwhile blockbuster for the masses. Today the marketing campaign goes even further, by releasing the first ten minutes of the movie.
For those who don't know, John Carter is based on the famous sci-fi novel series by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, who set the stage for many later sci-fi franchises, such as Star Wars. It tells the tale of a Civil War-era confederate soldier who is transported to the planet Mars, and finds himself in the middle of yet another civil war amongst alien races, with an imperiled princess in need of a champion. Because of Mars' lower gravity, John Carter finds he has superhero-level strength, making him a pivotal piece in the Martian war.
Check out the Earthbound opening of John Carter below:
This opening does a good job of establishing the character of John Carter (as played by Friday Night Lights star Taylor Kitsch) and giving us the basic setup for how he ends up on the Martian planet. To his credit, Taylor Kitsch is a solid leading man if this clip is any indication; he exhibits way more charisma and personality than what we saw in the John Carter trailers, which made the actor seem somewhat wooden and boring. The Edgar Rice Burroughs Easter egg was fun for fans of the novels - and any film that features Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston (the union officer Carter has beef with and ultimately saves) is doing something right, in our book.
Even though this opening clip doesn't feature any of the effects-heavy sci-fi tropes the film is comprised of for much of its run time, it actually does something far more effective: it provides evidence that, even when working with live-actors, director Andrew Stanton still knows how to provide the fun movie experiences he created in his Pixar animated films like Finding Nemo and WALL•E. Early reviews of the film certainly echo that impression.
John Carter will be in 2D and 3D theaters on March 9, 2012.
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