Sticky and probably smelly.
I don’t know why.
Here’s some process.
Disney’s John Carter brought me out of heckling retirement.
Too many Tharks on the dance floor
John Carter (not a princess, not of Mars) is a convoluted mess, but to my tastes a more palatable mess than, say, Avatar. It saves the cat and passes the Bechdel test. It has funnier bits, and its story failings are less infuriating (f’rinstance, John Carter doesn’t instantly tame a superbird and earn back everybody’s trust in the third act just ‘cos he is WAY AWESOMEST!!1one!)
Although he *can* spontaneously fly things
Also Stanton didn’t put boobs on the lady Tharks, and for that I am eternally grateful.
But it is because some morsels are so tasty that the gristle of confusion sticks my craw. It’s easy to criticize a hundred-year-old story chopped into a Disney script and puréed in the editing room. And that’s why I’m doing it.
They’re having an ab contest and everyone is winning
McNulty: Pants Optional
Which brings us to…
Also Matai wants Sab Than to marry the princess so… uh… Matai can kill the princess later… to keep the smarties from having the power Sab Than already has.
I apologize for the live-action “Last Airbender” reminding I’m doing right now
Did I mention Matai is a superpowered shapeshifter telepath? Who can murder and destroy with his blue laser beams? Also he is corporeal and has no qualm about acting directly (Guardian of the Universe he ain’t.)
And what is his plan for Mars? Apparently it is to make the planet a wasteland full of meatheads. It’s hard to understand why he’s peeved with John Carter for messing up his perfect plan for… wasteland management.
My stance is there’s no need for the Therns at all. As Matai himself puts it, he has “no dog in this fight.” In general, it is probably prudent to figure out what characters don’t care about stuff and take them out.
Did I mention John Carter has a dead wife and kid? No? Funny that hasn’t come up yet. Brings us to…
But the compositing was Thark
Sidebar: to be believable, a fantasy world needs kids, trash and laundry.
Yet his previous life’s fridged wife and kid are literally shoehorned in, and I say “literally” because the only way this cut could exist was if a producer beat an editor over the head with a shoehorn. Surely somewhere in development a version of this movie existed where the wife and kid were introduced, enjoyed, and then fridged. Then John Carter would be a grieving family man (and this would not be a Disney movie). But all his choices are informed by “meathead” and not by “grieving family man,” so why bother?
Now, ostensibly his wife and child were killed by… something… because he chose sides… or something… so that’s why he refuses to choose sides on Mars. This isn’t really explored (no “with great power comes great responsibility”) and doesn’t pay off (he doesn’t change his mind because he sees the consequences of indifference; he changes his mind because he has a supercrush on Princess Dejah. Which is fine.)
It’s like if you took Gladiator, removed the family prologue but left in all the flashbacks. And then the people who killed Russell Crowe’s family had nothing to do with the rest of the movie. And then you took out the stuff with Richard Harris because it was too slow. And then Joaquin Phoenix was two characters. BLARG.
Sh. I’m having a flashback.
“By gelfling hand or else by none…”
Wasted opportunity! John Carter must be introduced to Martian food! Martian sanitation! Surely he will have wounds that must be lovingly tended, like Britta did Jeff’s on that Community episode I can’t Google ‘cos all I get is fanfic. Maybe Dejah might try to fight John Carter, to win him over by force. Even a little discussion about the aforementioned “with great power comes great responsibility” with a dash of “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Any deep thought at all for John Carter to chew on.
Sidebar: a fantasy script should not demand more than two made-up words per sentence.
So, yeah, reconstituting Edgar Rice Burroughs “A Princess of Mars” into a fully successful single sitting of movie would require ripping out major threads that would be missed, with hurt and confusion, by fans of the book. It would probably obviate the cool and fun and Thern-requiring narrative wrapper. It might require less Bryan Cranston, which is shocking to say aloud. And to me the movie that got made was not so bad as to warrant these desperate measures. But maybe future epic movies can take a leaf from this convoluted book and leave out the extra baddie who doesn’t care about things.
AH HA HA HA HA.
Didja hear 70s pop band the Rubinoos are suing Avril Lavigne over similarities between their “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” and her “Girlfriend”?
You should take a listen to their original.
Go because it’s a pleasant, dense power-pop song. Stay because Lavigne’s is so similar as to be a parody.
Now, I know with the skillion songs in the world at this point, and the narrow parameters of popular music, complaining that one song is like another is sort of like complaining how many movies have the plot of She’s All That (they got together on a dare! But then he really likes her! But then she found out it was a dare!) or the premise of Fight Club/Secret Window/Identity/Hide and Seek/American Haunting/Number 23 (person tormented by a mysterious stranger who is revealed to be… HIMSELF!)
And the popular music necessitates, nay THRIVES ON, borrowing and reinventing itself. That’s why we have jazz, Christmas albums, and the Great American Songbook.
But these two are ALIKE. A LOT.
Because “Ghostbusters” may be like “I Want a New Drug,” and “Caribbean Queen” may be like “Billie Jean,” but they’re at least different enough in lyrical content as to give it the flesh of a different song.
Enough of my opinion. Here’s the evidence. What do you think?
I WANNA BE YOUR BOYFRIEND
Hey (hey!) You (you!) I wanna be your boyfriend!
Sitting here so close, together
Late at night when I, when I can’t sleep
Hey (hey!) You (you!) I don’t like your girlfriend!
You’re so fine
[Bridge: Sounds more alike than the words indicate]
(c) I Have No Crappin’ Idea