Have you seen the new trailer for Disney’s forthcoming John Carter of Mars movie? Doesn’t it look great? Rousing and spectacular and beautiful. I can’t wait to see it.
Unfortunately, the trailer also makes John Carter look suspiciously like a cross between Star Wars and Avatar, and I suspect a lot of people are going to be complaining that it’s just a rip-off. If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’re probably sufficiently clued-up to know why nothing could be further from the truth.
John Carter is, of course adapted from the book A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The book was serialised in 1912 and published in its complete novel form in 1917. It doesn’t just predate the films of George Lucas and James Cameron, it predates pretty much the entire film industry and most of the literature we now lump under the headings of science fiction and fantasy.
So when you’re sat in the cinema next year, with your popcorn carton in your hand and your 3D glasses perched on your nose, watching Hollywood latest muscular hero exploring alien desertscapes, fighting huge monsters in vast amphitheatres, allying himself with exotic multi-limbed humanoids and befriending beautiful princesses in metal bikinis, just remember this: John Carter came first.
4 thoughts on “John Carter came first”
Great post, and I am so glad you mentioned Edgar Rice Burroughs – a fantastic and visionary writer! I loved his books as a child!
Thanks. Maybe this state-of-the-art realisation of ERB’s Barsoom will remind people what a pioneer he was. Hope the movie lives up to the trailer.
I’m becoming increasingly suspicious of CGI-heavy trailers for upcoming fantasy films. I thought PRINCE OF PERSIA was going to be great – then I saw the movie. And don’t talk to me about GREEN LANTERN…
Yes, JOHN CARTER looks very pretty – although that colourful imagery is going to be horribly desaturated through 3D specs. I’m also disappointed that it’s not titled JOHN CARTER OF MARS – just calling it JOHN CARTER makes it sound like a big-screen spin-off of Noah Wyle’s character from ER.
Still looking forward to it, though…
I agree with your title change. And, yes, Prince of Persia was rubbish. Didn’t see Green Lantern, and it seems like that was a wise move. It’s the heritage of the John Carter story that gives me a buzz, over and above the pretty visuals. It’s pulp, yes, but it’s true, original pulp. Can’t wait.