Trailer Trash – John Carter From Mars
Edgar Rice Burrough’s Princess of Mars series has almost had as many failed potential adaptations as Alan Moore’s Watchmen but it now looks set to finally hit the big screen, knocking off another supposedly impossible adaptation. The man who’s approach finally found the green light is Andrew Stanton, PIXAR alum and director of Wall-E. The series tells the story of John Carter, a veteran of the American Civil war who awakes one day to find himself on Mars, where two warring races whose conflicts are set to annihilate all life remaining on the planet.
The resulting film looks set to be a very interesting feature one way or another; Burrough’s book is very, very pulpy and based around a metaphor that is both blatant and semi-out-dated, both traits which one wouldn’t expect to see from a Stanton film based on his previous efforts at PIXAR. So I imagine that this will be a heavily adapted take on the source material, though probably not as heavily adapted as the amazing opening act of Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen : Volume Two which is set on Barsoom and shows the war between the Martians being interrupted by H.G. Well’s Tripods (Though I would love to see that sequel made).
It will also be interesting to see how this compares to Ghost Protocol in terms of direction (as that film was also directed by an ex-PIXAR director), though one would assume that Stanton has something of an advantage given that half of this film will still be animated (though from the sound of it he has taken a practical approach to production, having Willem Dafoe shoot all his scenes atop stilts whilst wearing green pyjamas). I also wonder if this exodus of talent doesn’t have something to do with PIXAR’s current loss of gloss; though whether it was the cause or the causee I do not know. But that’s enough pre-amble, give the thing a watch:
I have to say that the trailer was rather disappointing, evoking as it does a lot more of the schlocky pulp side of the story than it does the exploration of an alien world and thus misses a lot of the potential for stunning Sci-Fi visuals. To be honest you could almost mistake this for a Conan trailer or some such simple sword and sandals cheese and I have no interest in that kind of film. Hopefully by the time we get a full trailer they will have had enough time to finalize some more effects and to figure out a story thread deeper than ‘Only you can save our world’ because … that hasn’t been a draw card since the eighties.
I really love high-concept Sci-fi and feel that the experience of exploring an alien world is something that film, as a medium, is uniquely qualified to deliver; and so I hate to say it but for me the base spy action of Ghost Protocol has won the ex-PIXAR trailer battle with ease.