Thank You Andrew Stanton

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.

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6 Responses to Thank You Andrew Stanton

  1. Shari Armstrong says:

    I’ve waited nearly 30 years to see the Barsoom stories in film. I was not disappointed. I just hope someone will have the vision to help Mr. Stanton, the cast, and crew help us to all return to Barsoom.

  2. Duncan Wright says:

    Thank you, this is a truly elegant and poignant assessment of the film, and its undeserved treatment. Not to mention far more insightful than the critiques from mean-spirited reviewers who wanted the film to fail (a hope shared by Disney executives, apparently). My first thought following my initial viewing of ‘John Carter’ was; “Where was the heartfelt reunion for John and Woola?”. I need to believe that unprecedented DVD and Blu-ray sales will save the prospects for a sequel, for this scene alone.

  3. This was a lovely post. As a fan of the film myself, I feel the same that you do. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. Annette says:

    Beautifully said!! It’s tragic to think we will not visit Barsoom again!! 😦 I will still hold hope it will happen… I just hate to think otherwise! 😦

  5. Waldgeist says:

    Well said. Well said. If a movie can pull a 30 million opening after even SUCH a bad marketing campaign it has something going for it. The international money is also quite impressive, considering they had to use the same weirdly unfitting marketing material, that was shown and used by Disney in the US.

    I don’t see this film as a box-office flop, but as a marketing flop. The film is really great.

  6. dave says:

    Just saw the movie today. Thought it was great even with a few rough edges. It definitely had shades of things we’ve seen of films before, but it had it’s own flair in presenting those things. And the source material obviously predates all of the comparisons. The battle scene that was inter-cut with the scenes of his tragic past were stunning and intense and very emotional. That particular piece of this film was extremely unique and powerful. It demonstrated some of the best qualities of Stanton’s film making expertise. In my opinion, the weakest thing in the film was the costume design, which left a lot to be desired, but apart from that it was a complete blast and I’ll see it again and again. It really is a shame how this movie is being unfairly received, both for Stanton, who is a master film maker, and for Science Fiction and high fantasy as a genre. Everyone I know who actually saw the movie really enjoyed it. Most who say it’s not any good haven’t seen it. They are saying it’s no good because they “heard” it’s no good. Why? Because it’s losing money.

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