JOHN CARTER, BRAD BIRD AND MEon March 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm
John Carter comes out next week and I've had a hard time giving a hoot. I've been reading good things, I've heard positive reviews from people who have seen advanced screenings. But I'm not feeling the love and tweeted as much a few days ago...
That's pretty snarky. And, frankly, kind of mean. But every time I see a commercial on television promoting John Carter, I'm having a hard time finding a reason to care. Watch this TV spot and tell me the movie doesn't look like a Prince of Persia rehash with about 70% more jumping...
A few days after my original tweet, director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles) tweeted the following:
For some reason (I don't know why) I felt compelled to respond:
Things were well and good until Brad Bird responded... and retweeted me.
What happened next was a crazy twit-storm of retweets and replies from people I've never heard from and it provided me with an interesting window into the fan reaction to John Carter.
(Incidentally, the story was picked up by IndieWire and I was name-checked, so that was kind of cool.)
There are a lot of people who are really excited about this movie. I think that's great. I'm glad they're excited. But there seem to be just as many people out there like me who are confused about what John Carter actually is and and struggling for a reason to care.
Perhaps Disney is seeking to prevent confusion. Writer/Director Andrew Stanton's resume is alarmingly good. But pretty much everything he's done is for Pixar. Maybe Disney didn't want people thinking it was a Pixar movie?
Maybe they thought John Carter as a property was attractive enough on it's own? Lately I've been seeing ads propping the character as "Before Star Wars... Before Avatar... THERE WAS JOHN CARTER." They then go on to explain that Carter was the character that inspired those franchises.
I guess I kind of have to take your word for it. But that still doesn't mean you've given me a reason to care.
Arguably, you could say the same thing about The Avengers - a movie I'm positively gaga for. If you don't read comics, you probably don't have a reason to care, either. I guess it's all subjective.
I don't want to be put into the position of arguing that the studios should have to spoon-feed everything to us about their upcoming films. But first impressions count for a lot. So if I'm not seeing anything in the promotion of a film that indicates to me that it might align with my tastes, I'm not going to do any additional leg work to confirm if that's true or not.
Now, if someone had told me before hand that Andrew Stanton was directing, I might have sat up and took notice. But I still feel like Disney dropped the ball on this one. To a certain degree, the die has already been cast.
Does that mean I won't see John Carter next weekend? Maybe, maybe not. Disney still has a week left to convince me. And who knows? Maybe some positive reviews will come out between now and then that tips me toward seeing it.
Then again, if Brad Bird telling you the film is awesome doesn't convince me, I guess I don't know what would. Call me crazy, but he probably knows what he's talking about. ;D