I’m truly scared to write what I really think about the newly released John Carter trailer. I’ve already come across a lot of ugly back and forth on message boards between fans of the classic sci-fi novels upon which it’s based (usually referred to as “the Barsoom series,” written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who’s better known for his Tarzan works) and naysayers. So before I share my opinion, why don’t you take a look at both this teaser that debuted in July, and then the full-length preview below.
Let me state upfront that I know the Barsoom books were written in the early to mid-1900s, and so it’s not possible that the story is a rip-off of, say, Avatar. But James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster was still the first thing that came to my mind when the John Carter trailer began… and then seconds later all I could think of was Jar Jar Binks and other various (and thankfully less universally despised) Star Wars creatures. Nothing was working for me in any of the preview scenes—the leads (Friday Night Lights‘ Taylor Kitsch and X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘s Lynn Collins) seem totally bland and the action sequences felt like Been There, Done That. I know my take isn’t going to please the legions of hardcore Barsoom fans out there, but I gotta keep it real. This movie must have cost a FORTUNE to make (and yes, it is going to be in 3D), and so it desperately needs fantasy and sci-fi movie-lovers like myself to be excited about it. But based on this trailer, I’m not.
What is giving me hope, however, is that it’s very, very rare that I don’t enjoy a Disney film. This one was directed by Finding Nemo and WALL-E‘s Andrew Stanton, which is of course a plus (though it’s his first time dealing with live-action). What’s more, a ton of great actors are in the JC cast yet didn’t make an appearance in the trailer at all—or if they did you could barely tell who they were or they were only shown for a few seconds. I’m talking the likes of Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Haden Church, and Mark Strong.
For those of you who actually dug the weird creatures in the preview, here are three banners for the film that feature them:
So who else shares my tepid reaction to John Carter? And who wants to beat me up right about now? And who can explain to me WHY they are calling this movie John Carter rather than something a little more exciting that might resonate better with its built-in fanbase and/or make those NOT familiar with the books at least a tad curious when March 9 rolls around?