Geeks of Doom is one of the “influencer media” sites who play a key role in generating buzz and providing feedback for films throughout their production and promotional periods. It was one of the outlets that followed John Carter from the early days of pre-production through the release and aftermath. Here is Brett Nachman’s review of John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood.
Review: John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood
by Brett Nachman
“When I saw I you, I believed it was a sign, that something new can come into this world,” says Tars Tarkas, the giant green Thark, as voiced by soulful Willem Dafoe in the teaser trailer forJohn Carter. Sadly, when the feature film entered our world, or at least in our cinemas, its reputation had already been tarnished by a soaring budget, backstage turbulence, and muddled marketing. Not until the release ofMichael D. Sellers’ winning book, John Carter and The Gods of Hollywood, have we truly appreciated all of what truly unfolded behind the scenes, of what John Carter could have been.
Before I dive into the book, let me share with you my experience with the film. I followedJohn Carter’s production process extensively years prior to its March 2012 opening, as I was just as excited as any other Andrew Stantonfan of this Academy Award-winner directing an adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. Though I was not terribly familiar with the material, I felt enchanted by the riveting content. I was more than thrilled to be one of only thousands of individuals to see early scenes of John Carter at the Disney D23 Expo in August 2011. Some felt apathetic over the clips. Me, I was engaged every second. My fascination with this project led me to write many John Carter articles for Fused Film, the site I previously wrote for, and I have continued to throw in references to Carter in many of my Geeks of Doom pieces. I was on cloud nine when I saw that a book about this topic entered the market.
For those unaware of John Carter’s existence, or for those who never saw the movie, the obvious question may be, ‘why would I care to read 350 pages about the problems behind some Disney film?’ My retort is that John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood encapsulates everything readers enjoy in a compelling story. There’s the underdog, or in this case author/director Michael D. Sellers, who fights for a cause and exposes some major problems during his mission.
Sellers organizes his work into a logical sequence of events, always easy to follow and absorbing. I found “The First 95 Years,” the chapter that divulges author Burroughs’ personal, financial and cinematic challenges, as extremely interesting and essential in giving some context to the main theme of John Carter. After exploring this project’s long development process – it literally took decades for this story to come to life on the screen – Sellers investigates Carter’s filming, marketing and expected failure for much of the book.