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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » John Carter... and the advancement of DVD to blu ray

   
Author Topic: John Carter... and the advancement of DVD to blu ray
Crystal Stevens
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Just saw the movie yesterday and have to admit that it was better than I thought it'd be. Amazing how much of the story came back to me from when I read the series in the late '60s. There were some major plot changes that I had to adjust to, but in the end, I think it enhanced the story instead of hurt it.

The other thing about this particular movie is it was my first time to see one in 3D. Pretty cool actually, but I think I could've enjoyed it just as well in 2D. I don't feel that the 3D effect really made that much of a difference when it came to enjoying the show.

John Carter is put out by Disney, and I noticed the only movie previewed as being in the stores was quoted as, "Now available in Blu Ray and combo pacs". Nothing was said about DVD. I realize the combo pacs include Blu Ray and a DVD, but Disney is no longer selling DVDs separately. I have nothing against Blu Ray, but it ticks me off that you have to pay twice as much for the combo pac if you want the DVD or start buying Blu Ray and get a Blu Ray player. And in the meantime, Disney is laughing all the way to the bank. I know eventually everything will be Blu Ray. That's a givin', but how Disney is doing it just plain sucks.

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Foste
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I saw it yesterday. I think that the humorous parts were seriously overplayed. They felt too darn cheesy-like one of the Tharks swatting Carter's head.

But, all in all?

A fun romp. I thought it'd end up a whole lot worse.

And Crystal, I have an unflattering euphemism for what Disney is doing. Unfortunately the euphemism is so boorish and vile in its nature, that, if I were to post it here, I'd get banned and the whole internet would implode, Daleks would conquer the earth and chipotle would suddenly become unhealthy. I am sure that you understand that I don't want to be held accountable for that.

Anyway, that's what I think about Disney's way of doing business.

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Robert Nowall
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I was considering going to see John Carter...but don't think I have the time, and it may be gone before I do. Was not enamored of the plot changes...am pruiently curious how they handled Burroughs's mindboggling amount of nudity, though.

It's been said they changed the name from John Carter of Mars, 'cause all the "Mars" movies of recent years bombed real bad (except Total Recall). I think it divorces the movie from its potential audience---namely, sci-fi geeks and sundry. John Carter could be anything.

Probably the movies a century overdue...

*****

Hadn't noticed that about Disney's Blu-Ray / DVD combo packs, but thought they were still selling the DVDs separate, unless they're old issues...

...but, offhand, I like Blu-Rays. I've found the quality and clarity of the pictures well worth any extra pay, and the ability to cram extras onto the disks is also a plus. I've had a number of happy experiences with classic movies and such. (Some of the "additional-scene" Lord of the Rings FXs didn't look good at all, though.)

I've bought some of the combo packs...and I've given some as gifts to those I give gifts to, but who haven't upgraded yet. (My brother has a HDTV screen big as a movie theater screen...but, as of last Christmas, hasn't upgraded to Blu-Ray.)

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wise
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I really enjoyed many elements of John Carter. The part where he's captured by the calvary and he keeps escaping so they secure him even more was tight and well done. I'm a sucker for Westerns, so loved that part and the part with Burroughs. The production values were fantastic and the story held up well (along with the costumes! Ha!). It was a hundred times better than Thor, which I was afraid it would emulate. That whole series with Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America was very weak in story, characterization, and keeping my interest. Big snoozeville. But I was caught up in John Carter from the first.

As to Disney, I was boycotting it back in the 90s just on principals, but it's getting hard to avoid Disney products anymore, so I grit my teeth and bear it. I never took my son to DisneyWorld and you'd think from the other moms that I was the worst parent ever!

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MartinV
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Most likely I will not watch this movie.
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pdblake
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I don't go to the cinema, I prefer the peace of my own living room and a handy beer within easy reach. Normally I would have bought this on DVD, it looks quite good, but I don't have a blue ray player, so why the hell should I be forced to buy a disc I won't use?
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LDWriter2
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I want to see it but not in 3D.

It's doing lousy but as I said I want to see it... in a movie theater.

Even though parts might be cheesy I believe I would enjoy it.

I could say that too bad Disney did it or the Princess could be nude as she was in the book but I won't say anything that cheesy. [Smile]

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Foste
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@pdblake

handy beers within easy reach are awesome!

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axeminister
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Foste,
The Daleks take over the earth every few years. No big. I say let out your frustrations! Bring them on.

Crystal,
JC was converted to 3d from 2d, so right there you have a fail. Movies designed for 3d are so much more interesting to watch because the 3d is part of the filming, not a special effect. Avatar, Hugo, Harold and Kumar, to name uh, 3.

I'm sure this is a decent movie. That's the thing I'm finding in reading all the negative news about the money loss. I mean, sci-fi epic on Mars. What could go wrong? (Ok, it just shouldn't have cost $250m to make...)

Louis,
Sci-Fi nudity in books is interesting, and can enhance the futuristic world of a story. OSC has nudity in Ender's Game. I never gave a 2nd thought when a kid would "skin" in front of another, but when the time comes to film them, forget about it.

I've always appreciated the shower scene in Starship Troopers. Not sure if that was part of the book or not, but it really made a statement for the equality of the sexes in future military. It was "no big deal".

Axe

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Robert Nowall
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I think I'll wait for the Blu-Ray, after all. I heard this morning it was playing at IMAX theaters in 3D, but there are none nearby.

(Last time I saw a move at an IMAX theater was in Atlanta on one vacation---saw a NASCAR film with my mother.)

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Foste
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@axeminister

EXTERMINATE!

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LDWriter2
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I must say that shower scene caught my attention also but not for the same reason. I can't see babes and studs taking showers together without something going on, of course in the movie plenty was going on.

Which is all I will say about that here. But I did notice they were babes.

About Blu-Ray. I don't care if it's better. I'm not going to spend the extra money for the player and the discs. Someday I may be forced to do it but not now.

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MattLeo
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The book is worth reading because it takes an unusual approach to solving the classic fantasy novel problem of the cognitive load launching the story places on readers. ERB opens the story with 300 words of portentous gothic fluff from the mouth of an aged John Carter, which are followed by 2300 words of nicely done but utterly conventional and un-demanding western adventure.

Once he's built up the narrative momentum, ERB performs this amazing magic trick. He transfers the story to Mars. Carter falls into a hypnagogic state in which he experiences something like night terrors, and 323 words later he's on Mars. He even *knows* he's on Mars, although how is not explained. He implies that he's died and and resurrected on Mars, but that's not an explanation. That's like saying the world rides on the back of a turtle; it doesn't explain what the turtle is standing on.

Not explaining is part of the magic. The plot's got momentum now, and ERB doesn't squander it on exposition, he keeps moving. Carter exits the cave, and instead of Red Indians, he's confronted Red (well, *green* actually) Martians, and the story gallops on. It's symmetrical, and that's no accident. Suddenly your mind is connecting the before and after of the miracle and the details of miracle itself fade into the background.

What ERB has done here is *exactly* like stage magic. You have the set-up, the mis-direction, the bogus explanation, followed by more mis-direction. Then the magician moves on before you can examine his apparatus to critically.

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LDWriter2
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Isn't there more than one book?


And I noticed that B&N had four different copies on sale a few weeks ago.

They or someone has been advertising "Princess of Mars" which they say is the first one.

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Foste
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Here you go, sir.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barsoom

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Crystal Stevens
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"Princess of Mars" is the first book in the John Carter series. And the last one is called "John Carter of Mars". It's been way too long since I've read them to remember, but I think there's either 4 or 6 books in the series.

Just thought I'd add that Disney released the latest Muppet movie so you can buy it on DVD without the combo pac. Why they aren't doing that with some of their other movies, I have no idea. Now I'm confused,.

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LDWriter2
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I've heard of John Carter of Mars must of my life. Reading life anyway, but I don't recall there being more than one.

Well, there might be a tiny bell ringing but it would be from a whole lot of years ago, must of the time when someone mentions the series they speak of only "John Carter of Mars".

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Robert Nowall
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There are eleven official Edgar Rice Burroughs "Mars" books...there's some doubt about whether he or his son wrote the last ones or collaborated on them...and Volume Eleven, which is actually titled John Carter of Mars, contains two collected leftovers.

Of course a lot of other SF works derive from these books, sometimes to the point where they're unofficial sequels or off-canon fanfic.

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History
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I read all of Burroughs Barsoom (Mars) books as a young adolescent, saving my allowance and mowing lawns to buy the SF Book Club versions with covers by Frazetta and later the Ballantine PBs and then even later the original hardcovers with illustrations by Frank Schoonover.

It seems to be a truism that the first books in a series are better than the later ones (perhaps the freshness of them or the author's greater inspiration). I found this true of Burrough's works. The first three books (A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and The Warlord of Mars) I found were the best. The later novels were of lesser quality, less epic perhaps or too formulaic, and the last were not as good (but a true collector must collect them, the monkey on our backs insist, damn his brass b...).

I've been anticipating the off and on again Disney movie for many years. A low budget direct to DVD film lampreyed on the property with little notice [Asylum Film's Princess of Mars (2009)], and a slew of comic book titles have been available for a few years. But the Disney film was the anticipated major event.

It drew negative press even before its release because of its immense production budget of $250 million. "How could Disney ever earn that back?" the critics opined. And it seemed to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even before the film's mainstream release, the critics panned it. Seuss' Lorax proved a mightier warrior at the box office than the fabled Warlord of Mars and his warrior princess. Oh wait, you (Q Public) did not know this was the subject of the movie named John Carter? The title rhymes with Silas Marner and boy did you hate reading that book in middle school. The unfortunate choice for the movie title reminded me of another favorite film of mine with the ephemeral title of Serenity that only fans of the half-season excellent but canceled Fox television series Firefly would know. Similarly, the title "John Carter" is one directed to fans, not Q Public.

I was inspired by the film's trailer, but the mountain of negative press kept me away until I read the posts above and my mood was a little darkened by reality today and I needed an escapist story to lift me up. I passing a theater this afternoon and on impulse just pulled in, even as the previews were finishing.

I'm glad I did. The movie is a delight.
In some ways an improvement in regard to the development of JC's character from tragedy and depression to triumph and love. There are epic special effects to match an epic adventure, action, humor, intrigue, and surprises I did not anticipate and found very satisfying. Yes,story pacing could be better (compared to the expert pacing in Serenity, for example), but for Burrough's and just us simple science fantasy lovers who need a good uplifting romp, this satisfies. And see it on the big screen (2D is fine).

Admittedly, I'm a humble critic of most sf/fantasy films and books. If I'm transported to wonder and if you can make me smile, laugh, cry, or make my heart race, then I feel my time and money are well spent.

Having a hero of good character triumph over himself and his foes to gain a new lease on life and love while battling Tharks, Zadongans, an entire army of Warhoon, monstrous white apes, and mysterious conniving Therns...well,it makes one's own comparative little reality problems seem easily surmountable.

"Hark! Is that the sound of an angry thoat!"

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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LDWriter2
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I still don't recall ever hearing there was eleven of them, even though the "Princess of Mars" sounds very familiar.


Hmm, I could read them now. And if I recall correctly I can get them very cheep on B&N E-books site.

Oh, I still want to see the movie but probably will have to wait 'till it's out on DVD

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Robert Nowall
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Here's the list, with dates, cribbed from Wikipedia. (I've got 'em all in Ballantine Books reprints from the late 1970s, but that part of my collection is relatively inaccessible these days.)

A Princess of Mars (1912)
The Gods of Mars (1914)
The Warlord of Mars (1918)
Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1920)
The Chessmen of Mars (1922)
The Master Mind of Mars (1928)
A Fighting Man of Mars (1931)
Swords of Mars (1936)
Synthetic Men of Mars (1940)
Llana of Gathol (1948)
John Carter of Mars (1964)

I think the claim is that the first of them are in public domain (along with the early Tarzan books), but I'm not sure. Currently it's life-of-the-writer-plus-seventy-years, and Burroughs died in 1950...however, the cheap editions abound, and their publishers may know something I don't...

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History
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The first five are in the public domain in the US, but in the UK and rest of the world (who have different copyright laws) they are still protected.

But, back to John Carter the movie...
I surmise there may be something wrong with me in that I found it a better film than the much admired, immensely successful The Hunger Games.

I guess I prefer true romance over faked (and performed merely to survive). Similarly, seeing teens and even children as young as 12 seek to kill each other--and some relish the kill, is disturbing. I'm not sure teaching such lessons in the permissive societal moral vacuum today is desirable. Anyway, Lord of the Flies did this first and better.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Foste
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Ditto, my dear Doctor.

But as a quick aside:

Comparing something to Lord if the Flies is like pitting a guppy against Fedor Emelienko. [Wink]

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