Friday, March 9, 2012

John Carter

Taylor Kitsch as John Carter
Story: Rogue U.S. Calvary officer John Carter mysteriously transported to Mars(also known as Barsoom to Martian inhabitants). Adapted from the first novel of the Burroughs Barsoom series, "A Princess from Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

I grew up with Science Fiction and Fantasy and combination of both(Sci-Fi Fantasy) in the duration of my lifetime. I was able to watch  the Star Wars Trilogy before the Special Edition in the movies, Dune and the 2nd version of Flash Gordon(the first one was way before I was born and it was in black & white). But there was another sci-fi fantasy that precedes them all: It was John Carter of the Burroughs' Barsoom novels. 

Edgar Rice Burroughs was known for his Tarzan novels but the Barsoom novels is another known classic he is known for during it's time. Just like Peter Pan and Sherlock Holmes stories, the Barsoom novels were published in pulp magazines in 1912. Unlike Tarzan, there was no adaptation in cinema nor television. The only visual representation of the Warlord of Mars and the rest of the Barsoom chronicles were in the covers of the book novels. The only logical reason for this that I could think of is that the motion picture and television productions could not do justice to the Barsoom stories because they don't have the technology to visualize Mars and the special effects except in drawings and animation.
1917 first edition cover

The production of John Carter for Disney started 4th of January 2010. Since then, Barsoom is brought to life. They didn't change the time period of John Carter. He is still a captain of the U.S. Calvary from Virginia.As for the story, I find it better than the previous fantasy Disney produced, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. John Carter is not only better but it was the best I've seen. You are looking to where Flash Gordon, Luke Skywalker and Paul Atreides followed suit.This also brings swashbuckling adventures back to the movie screen.

Taylor Kitsch is an ideal actor to portray the title role of John Carter. He is quite versatile. I never got to see him in the popular series, Friday Night Lights, but I heard he has fans because of the series. I got to appreciate his performance when he portrayed the X-man Gambit for the movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Recently, he made local news because of his controversial interview with Dave Letterman when he had an encounter with crooked customs officer in another Southeast Asian country which was mistaken for the Philippines because he unintentionally said yes to Letterman when he mentioned the Philippines. Our government was right to ask Kitsch to apologize but I just wondered why they didn't ask Letterman to apologize also for the country mix-up and they only ask in public but not directly to the person concerned. But this is a good opportunity for Disney to boost up the box office sales because many may be curious to watch John Carter. I can say it would be a waste not to watch John Carter since I think this will be the best movie that opens this weekend. At least Kitsch didn't made comments like Claire Danes did before about the country.

For the other casts, Lynn Collins is also perfect for the role of Dejah Thoris. I first saw her as Kayla Silverfox in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But I like her character in John Carter better. She is a very strong character. Unlike the old swashbuckling films that portray women as the subject of the hero's protective custody, the princess of Mars can battle any man headstrong. Seeing Mark Strong always has an impression that he is the villain because he does it well. His portrayal of Matai Shang may not be his best villain role, it is also something to look forward to. For Willem Dafoe, it is the first time I saw him play a computer-generated character. It was quite an adjustment since I am used to see him act well as a real life person than an animated one. But you will able to identify him with his voice.

It is important to know that Burroughs wrote this before there was space exploration took place. He has no idea about the landscape of Mars or what it look like from within the planet. There are metaphysical elements in the story that can explain how John Carter transported to Mars which is why it is a Sci-Fi/Fantasy.  There are also elements from the Ancient Aliens theory that is also applied in the story. As I said, it is the best movie to watch that opens this weekend so it would be a waste not to watch this. I am looking forward for the next Barsoom novel to be adapted next time. John Carter opens in Philippine cinemas on March 9, 2012 and is released and distributed by Disney Studios Phils.

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