Disney is placing a lot of their 2012 movie hope$ on the big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter, a film being brought to theaters (in 3D) by Andrew Stanton, the writer/director of acclaimed Pixar films like WALL•E and Finding Nemo.
The John Carter teaser trailer took an unusual approach to introducing the film, offering viewers a slow-paced, moody and atmospheric look at the world of Mars, rather than a kinetic action-heavy flurry of footage. Today's John Carter trailer, by comparison, is pretty much all rapid shots of action and/or the visual effects that are being utilized to bring the world of Mars (and her many inhabitants) to life.
Take a look at the synopsis for John Carter below, and then check out the full-length trailer:
The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of [the Martian civilization] Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.
Based on this footage and the recent John Carter images that have been posted online, it seems as though Stanton has been pretty successful in translating the fantastic otherworldly creatures of Burroughs' novels into cinematic form - albeit, in a decidedly more kid-friendly fashion than some of the books would suggest (i.e., less strange and potentially frightening). The exception, of course, would be the Martian white apes, which are larger and more intimidating onscreen than they were on the page.
For all the money Disney has invested in this film ($200 million +) and all the talent they've thrown at it, it seems as though anticipation for John Carter is tepid at best - even amongst the many fans of Burroughs' source material. Of course this IS Disney we're talking about, a marketing machine that can make magic happen when it gets its gears turning. Still, one can't help but wonder if we're looking at the studio's next TRON Legacy (i.e., a long-term, high-cost tentpole film that doesn't quite have the desired impact).
We'll find out when John Carter arrives on Mars on March 9, 2012.