Okay, this is scary. Folks are predicting an epic fail for John Carter. Why? Well, you can read about that in this article that first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter: Disney Scrambles to Save its $250 Million Gamble.
My first thought is to blame the promoters. Why haven't they emphasized the fact that this is John Carter OF MARS by EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS. And why did they change the title form its original A Princess of Mars? Well, I guess its Disney's tradition of princesses, and they didn't want the unkowning public to think this was one of their "princess" films, which could alienate (snicker) the male audience. Then why not call it something pulpy like John Carter and the Princess of Mars? You emphasize the hero (say, like Indiana Jones) and you pay homage to the source material. Why not promote the creator and all he's done for science fiction and fantasy? Who knows?
And then I have to wonder if the source material is too old. Yes, it has inspired more material than I can possible list, let's just throw Star Wars out as an example, but is John Carter too heroic for today's audiences. Burroughs's characters were, without a doubt, heroic and good. The women were beautiful, needed to be rescued, and madly in love with the hero (even though she played hard to get). I've already noticed they're turning Dejah into a warrior woman. I can live with that, but I beg them not to turn JC into the brooding, insecure whiner which fills books and films today, let's throw Anikin from Star Wars out there as an example. What's wrong with a hero being , well, heroic. For some reason, that concept is dated and laughable to a lot of young folk today.
So, I guess I really blame those pour souls raised on recent films (say, like anything by Michael Bay) which is nothing more than a series of action sequences and lots of computer animation. John Carter is definitely going to have its share of CGI (which always makes me nervous), but a lot of the discussion I've seen online has JC being called a rip off of AVATAR! What!? This, just to let you know, ticks me off greatly. It's bad enough that these folks only acknowledge movies made within the last year or two as the only ones being worthy of watching, but it's worse that they have no conception of anything existing before the soulless tripe they love to watch so much. I would love to look those folks in the eyes and ask how a film based on a book written about a hundred years ago could rip off something made a few years ago. But then I stop, take a deep breath, and remember who I imagine I'm talking to. Yes, the viewing public who would make the movie has already judged John Carter and found it wanting. So is there any hope despite what the promoters will do? I don't know. I hope so.
I'd love to see the first three Barsoom books on film anyway - and Disney had planned on more than one film - but now, it looks grim. John Carter may have saved Barsoom, but sadly, I don't know if he'll be able to save this film.