by Bryan Young
Some of you might have been to the theater and seen a poster for a movie called John Carter. Some of you might have even seen the trailer and saw the Disney logo in front of it.
The title doesn’t really say what it’s about, and the trailer doesn’t do the story or the team behind it justice. You might just think it’s the next mindless summer blockbuster coming from Disney in the mold of the abysmal Pirates of the Caribbean movies. You’re probably expecting a whole lot of spectacle and not a lot of story.
Who could blame you? Disney’s blockbusters have been lackluster; their tentpole films are as bland as the John Carter title. But I’m here to tell you why you should be as excited for this movie as I am, despite the preposterous and odd marketing campaign.
First off: the source material. John Carter of Mars (which is what I call the film in my head) is based on the fantastic series of pulp science-fiction adventures from Edgar Rice Burroughs. They’re some of the most fun I’ve ever had reading. Written in a completely breathless style, each chapter ends on a climax or cliffhanger, raising the stakes until the ending explodes in ways you never would have guessed. Pick up the books. It’s like Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court on crack, with John Carter—a Civil War veteran—transported to the Martian surface and captured by Martians. Then he quickly has to rescue a red-skinned Barsoomian princess who might be the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.