Top Navigation

March 19, 2012

John Carter: A Retrospective Rant On Originality by Mike D

Damn, damn, damn!!! Why? Why?? Why??? How come people couldn't just bite the bullet and go out to see John Carter last week? Where is the blind faith that propels shit movies to record breaking numbers at the box office and makes Avatar the highest ranked box office film of all time? How can a company that is as seasoned and well respected as Disney not generate the build up necessary to get Carter going in the right direction? Especially since the movie is pretty fucking good.... why? If any of these things would have happened, I wouldn't be sitting here about to bitch and moan about one of my favorite fictional properties of all time. But since Carter only made 30 mil this week at the box office, it looks like it's rant time... so here goes nothing!!!

Click after the jump to see the rest of the article:

John Carter & Deja Thoris  by Franz  Frazetta
Here is the thing: I never hid the fact that I was excited for this movie.  I have read 7 of the 11 Martian Chronicle books from Edgar Rice Burroughs and they are some of the best written stories that I have ever read. But to me the thing that always blows my mind is that Burroughs did this way back in the day... like 100 years ago! When you take this into consideration, it is absolutely mind blowing. Burroughs wrote a sci fi tale about space travel that involved space ships, time travel, and all other types of advanced technology long before cars and television were even common in anybodies home!!! Given the technology we posses today, it is easier for a sci fi author to "take it to the next level" when they are writing their stories. But to make this stuff up out of thin air with relatively no real life things to base them on... now that is impressive!!!  In my eyes this makes the Carter stories that much cooler.

This brings us to the next point: John Carter rips off sci fi movies like Aliens, Avatar, Star Trek, Total Recall, and Star Wars. This is so fucked up. How can something that is OVER 100 YEARS OLD be stealing from movies written in the past 30 years? Yet this is the general opinion that is being pushed in movie reviews across the 'Net and in mainstream media publications. That is a travesty that a bit of fact checking and a quick trip to Wikipedia could have prevented. In actuality, John Carter is the property that was stolen from... repeatedly!!! Need some proof? Ok, here are a few general examples:

  1.  Green Men from Mars in 100s of Sci Fi movies like Mars Attacks & many more
  2. Avatar has an Earthling who goes to a planet and has encounters with a colorful alien species that is much taller and physically dominating than him. The other animals on the planet in Avatar seem strikingly similar to the animals animals in the Martian Chronicles.
  3. Beneath the Planet of the Apes takes the mutated human enemies from the Martian Chronicles (The Therns) and makes exact replicas of them in a lazy sequel.
  4. In Enemy Mine Dennis Quaid has an uneasy friendship with an alien who originally want to kill him ... hmmmm, that sounds a bit like Tars Tarkas & Carter's relationship to me, just 80 years prior!!!
  5. The death cults and human slavery/sacrifice of the later John Carter tales wre easy picking for the guys who wrote Indian Jones & The Temple of Doom, a series that borrowed heavily from the pulp serials of the 1920's & 1930's.
  6. The Scorpion King was an ancient Egyptian/Greek mythological creature, but was also a central character in a Carter story long before The Rock brought him to the big screen.
  7. How about all the sword fighting in Star Wars despite the fact that technology is extremely advanced in the films? You got aall these space ships, Death Stars, droids, clones, etc.... yet you are telling me the best way to fight someone is with a laser sword that has a range of two feet, tops? Sword fighting played a huge part in ALL of the Carter stories. His superior swordsmanship is the only thing that made him a viable fighter on the foreign planet. And don't even get me started on the desert planet of Tattooine being an exact replica of Barsoom, and some of the creatures of the Star Wars univers being EXACT replicas of creatures from Carter's Mars (The Taun Tauns/Thoats & the White Apes/Wampa comes to mind) 
  8. What about Superman? Supes has been around for quite a while, but not nearly as long as Carter. He is the exact replica of Carter. Carter is a regular human who gains super like powers due to the different atmosphere on Mars. Supes is an Alien whose powers become immense due to the power of Earth's atmosphere. It's exactly the same.... just flipping the planet of origin of the hero. 
  9. Teleporting has always been the most recognizable part of Star Trek, with the "Beam Me Up Scotty" catchphrase burnt into the mind of everyone in the world. Yet Carter gets to Mars and travels back & forth from Mars to Earth in future books using this very same method of travel. Must just be another coincidence, right?
  10. In George R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice & Fire' series the Stark children all posses a Dire Wolf puppy that grows into a fierce beast that is their companion. The pets that are protective over their owners are one thing, but the fact that they are traditional vicious and untameable animals that become completely subservient to their masters is exactly like Woola the Calot in the Mars Chronicles. Way to much of a coincidence for me....  
Now that was just 10 examples of blatant rip offs..... and there are tons more. To hear that Disney's Carter is ripping of these established films just hurts me to my heart. And now that the film is not performing well, people are just piling on and hating randomly, not even thinking about what they are saying. I'm not sitting here saying that everyone HAS to like John Carter.... shit, hate the film if you want! But don't say that you hate it or it's no good because it is rehashing ideas of other films. This is the BLUEPRINT for all the sci fi you have ever seen!!!

This sets up an interesting situation. Disney has to decide if they want to go forward with a Carter sequel. The second book, The Warlord of Mars, is an insane book that may very well be the best in the series. It is wild story and could make for a great movie. I see it as a chance at a film that could be a successful in it's storytelling as Empire Strikes Back. But will they even take the shot considering how expensive this film was and d the amount of money it hasn't made. It's sad. I hope it does well enough here in the US and internationally to justify a sequel, and maybe it will break through with round 2. I thought the film was great. Go see it. Or tell me you hate it.... but don't try to call it a carbon copy. Andrew Stanton has done quite well on this one.  What is your opinion? Tell us in the comment section below...


  1. Disney skipped comicon with this movie. How could they do that? What were they thinking? That could of built a little hype around it. I am not saying that studios have to do comicon, but it makes promoting a movie fairly easy. The previews for John Carter looked like about 4 other movies that have previews currently running, so the previews themselves were not going to draw people in. I think that was the only promotion that they did.

  2. Disney killed it when they removed the word "Mars" from the title. And mismarketed it. And about a thousand other things they did wrong. Which is a damn shame as the movie itself is really, really good. Epic! And shame we'll never get to see another one.

  3. Budd & Alex, both of you guys are exactly correct!!! Why change the name of a title for no reason, and if you are going to do that at least make it a bit interesting... not a bland generic name like John Carter. Plus, like it or not Comic Con releases of footage & panels do work. It's a fact... it builds momentum. This is the perfect film for a Con.... they would have ate this shit up!!! Finally, I think they should have brought back the old Marvel comics series to make it even more appealing to geeks. After all, Disney owns Marvel. Why not just get it done? Fumbles all across the marketing board!!!

    1. Removing the "mars" from he title was a big mistake.

      Well said with this rant, Mike. I liked the movie, all in all.