Much has been written about Andrew Stanton’s John Carter, and far too much of that has been negative. Critical writing is one thing, but mean-spirited is another. It is not my intention to discuss the marketing and box-office failure of the film, or even the fact Stanton has been unfairly thrown under the bus by Disney Studios for his film. Those topics have been discussed to death and while it is a true shame, my intent is to celebrate a film that I have fallen entirely in love with.
As I mentioned in my review, seeing Stanton’s John Carter was a dream come true. Having become a huge fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series in the summer of 2011, I waited intently for Stanton’s adaptation and first foray into live-action. It was a strange experience seeing the film, as I finally understood what it felt like to be a fan of a series like Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings.
After first seeing the film, the credits rolled and I could not be happier. I decided to walk home from the theatre that night as I did not want to do anything but think about the film. It was not everything I hoped for, it was more. Stanton was not entirely faithful to the books, instead he changed what he needed to and it was a far better film because of that. He added emotion and weight to the characters and streamlined the plot into what could have become a classic fantasy trilogy.
I saw the film at a preview screening, and saw the film a second time on the Friday of its release. I’ve now seen the film four times, and it gets better with each viewing. Stanton has made a fantasy classic, and while it may not be seen as one now, in years to come I am confident people will change their mind.
Seeing what had previously only been in my imagination, realized so full of heart and passion on screen was a fantastic experience. The crowd cheered every time Carter’s side-kick Woola saved the day. A breathless audience came to tears as we saw Carter’s reasons for being a broken man. Stanton has crafted a beautiful fantasy epic that has more in common with the epics of yesteryear, taking cues from Hollywood Westerns and Lawrence of Arabia. Maybe this is one of its faults, it is old-fashioned. It is grand and romantic in ways that we so rarely seen in film nowadays.
After my first viewing, I could think only about the future of this series. Seeing Carter return to his new found home of Mars, and fight alongside Tars Tarkas again. Be reunited with the Princess and Woola. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that this will never happen.
We will never see Woola’s tragic expression as his master finally returns to him. He will be waiting on Barsoom for him to return, just as we will wait. We will wait for the negative consensus of this film to turn, and for audiences to finally realize just how great a film Andrew Stanton’s John Carter (of Mars) really is.
While I am sure that day will come, by that time it will be too late. We will never see Barsoom on screen again. Some have criticized Andrew Stanton for being defensive in response to the negative reaction to his film, but how can you blame him? He spent years of his life, imagining this incredible world and made a fantastic film.
The Disney Studios promotional wizards failed to get out the audience the film so badly deserved and needed. The marketing failed him, the press rejoiced at the box-office failure and critics became far too critical.
I wrote this blog to celebrate film, and I rarely actually do that. From all the fans of John Carter, as cheesy as it sounds, I want to thank Andrew Stanton for bringing this world to the big-screen with such passion and heart.