We had just returned from Disney’s Hollywood Studios after a sneak-peak at the new Disney movie, John Carter. This special advanced look is offered only to DVC (Disney Vacation Club) members this weekend. No electronic devices were allowed, so if you had one, you left it with security to pick up after the show. Since both I and my wife are Sci-Fi buffs, we were excited about seeing this new entry. Shown at the Premier Theater, we arrived a half hour before ShowTime, and received our “Goodie Bag” with among other items, our 3D glasses.
For those not in the know, John Carter is the protagonist in the series of Sci-Fi books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan. The books, eleven in all are called “Barsoom” which is the name the people of Mars call their planet. Although these books were written by Burroughs in the early part of the 20th century, it had major influences in future works of science fiction. The fictional character of John Carter is first introduced in the novel “A Princess of Mars” which is the first book in the series. The years covered in this first book are between 1866 and 1876. The Disney film follows closely to the storyline of this book.
Directed by Andrew Stanton in his first live action debut, this film is a cinematic Marvel. Reminiscent of the cutting edge visual effects and CG graphics of” Avatar”, the special effects and breathtaking scenery along with powerful performances by Taylor Kitsch and the rest of the supporting cast, should make this a blockbuster hit of 2012. Once settled in our seats, there was a short film clip introduction by director Andrew Stanton, and then the movie began.
I am not going to be a spoiler and reveal any the scenes in the movie. But I will say it is full of action and adventure from the beginning, and there are plenty of cliffhanging scenes that will have you biting your nails! The indigenous people of Mars, the Tharks and the humanoid red Martians, thanks to amazing CG graphics could not be more life-like. A quick synopsis of the story line is this… A young Edgar Rice Burroughs is summoned to the estate of his uncle John Carter, a former captain in the Confederate Army who died unexpectedly. At the reading of the will he is informed that his uncle left everything to him, and that only he is allowed to read the personal Journal of his uncle, John Carter. It is in this Journal that our story unfolds, and through flashbacks, we see how this epic story begins.
Disney was not the first to show interest in the books by Burroughs. In 1931 Bob Clampett the director at Looney Tunes was in contact with Burroughs with the idea of doing an animated version of a Princess of Mars. Some preliminary work was done, along with some test footage but it was decided that at the time the film was too bizarre for audiences to accept. The rights to the film and book went back and forth over the years, until Disney finally regained the rights for Andrew Stanton and writer Mark Andrews in 2007. Much of the indoor sets at the Longcross Studios in London, but the breathtaking outdoor scenery were shot in locations in Utah. These locations were used because they best represent the vision of the landscape of Barsoom.
In addition to the wonderful acting performances, the action and adventure, the 3-D effects are amazing. This film literally jumpS out in-your-face, and with a strong storyline you actually believe you are on Barsoom! The film is slated to be released on March 9, 2012. Even if you’re not a fan of the genre, the film will appeal to anyone who loves a rollicking good time at the theater. High adventure and excitement are finally returned to the big screen. This will be another success for Disney!