Last night after a feast of college football and with Oregon, in the last game thoroughly putting a whooping’ on Washington, I started channel surfing and saw that The Muppets was about to premiere on Starz, and so I told my Rena to bring Bugsy, her personal muppet, into the living room so we could all watch the Muppets. My kids had been tiny when the old Muppet Movies had played, and we had worn out various VHS cassettes watching the over and over — and a year or so ago I had stumbled across one of them on cable and thoroughly enjoyed it – so much that I wrote The Great Muppet Caper on a Slow Saturday Afternoon. Anyway (wondering what this has to do with John Carter, aren’t you?), Bugsy and I and Rena watched it to the end and there, much to our surprise and a certain amount of delight, was a John Carter featurette that Disney had evidently attached to the master announcing that John Carter will debut on Starz on November 17 at 9pm. So ….. mark down the date, it’s something for those in the “we like the movie” camp to enjoy, (and for those in the “we hate the movie” camp to ….well….I’ll leave that thought unfinished).
Anyway, I’ve searched to try to find the featurette online because it’s interesting to see how now, after all that has happened, Disney is pitching the film. Have any lessons been learned?
It begins with the narrator saying: “Science fiction’s greatest hero is here on STarz, the home of Disney movies.” This is spoken over images of the Warhoon attack–John Carter leaping, doing damage with swords, Woola attacking, then it cuts to rocks in the sand and we hear Dejah, “You are on Barsoom John Carter.”
Then it goes to Andrew Stanton talking about how he loved the books, but re-read them again with the eye of someone who has had to “tell his own stories, make his own movies” and so found himself trying to figure out how to generate the “feeling you get from reading the books” ….
Willem Dafoe is there, talking about the world created by Edgar Rice Burroughs (yay, an ERB plug)….
Then Mark Andrews is there talking about John Carter at the beginning being at the low point, or bottom of his life …..they show some scenes from the “how did he get to Mars” backstory…..
Then there is Taylor Kitsch talking about how amazing the White Ape scene is going to be, and some scenes from the White Ape Scene.
Lynn Collins talking about how detailed and cool the world is, with cutaways to design sketches, etc.
Then the closing plug, to see it on Nov 17.
Can anyone find this online? If so, please send it in. If no one can find it, I have it on DVR and I’ll make a clip from that so people can see it, even if the quality is not so good.
My sense of it, by the way, is no – Disney doesn’t really seem to have learned anything. This is pretty much a rehash. It does make clear that he’s on Mars, but it’s still obsessed with the barren desert look, it still plugs the white apes, and it contains nothing of the romance, nothing of the “grandeur” shots of Helium and Zodanga that give it richness, very little of Tars Tarkas and Tharks and the animation…….it still feels soulless overall.
Or maybe I’m just too jaded at Disney’s marketing to be able to react to it.
I did find a listing on Starz with a preview that is different from the featurette described above, and different from anything I’ve seen. Here is the link. http://www.starz.com/titles/johncarter.
This one starts out: “Before there was Star Wars, before there was Avatar, there was John Carter, the epic story that inspired it all” over images of flyers, helium from the air at night, and some nice “Barsoomian splendor” shots. At least this one is a bit different, although it’s still a bit clunky. But at least it sets a visual framework that is something other than dusty barren desert …