Welcome to Biting-Edge, a blog shared by authors and vampire experts, Mario Acevedo and Jeanne Stein. We’ll cover urban fantasy, vampires, pop culture, and all things Joss Whedon. Unlike other fantasy blogs, we don’t insist on body cavity searches (unless you ask politely). Snarkiness is most welcome...though we won't promise not to bite back!

Sunday, March 18, 2012
  The Tale of the Red Planet
Mario here:

Some pimpage before we continue with the programming:

This Thursday, March 22, 7:30PM, at the Tattered Cover LoDo, writer pal and fellow Lighthouse instructor, Nick Arvin, signs his newest book, The Reconstructionist, already an Amazon Best Books picks. Arvin's previous novel, the acclaimed Articles of War, was, among other awards, chosen as One of the Best Books of the Year by Esquire magazine and was the 2007 One Book, One Denver selection. Check out this review in the Denver Post.

Then there's me. Monday, March 26, 6:30-8:30PM, I'll be teaching a free introductory class, Speculative Writing: the Good, the Bad, and the Weird, at the Caste Rock Public Library. The next classes in the series will be Wednesday nights at the Douglas County Library. For info and to enroll, check out The Writing School.

And now...
Put the movie John Carter on your must-see list. I went to the theater with a good amount of trepidation as it's based on a story I'm familiar with. I started reading the John Carter of Mars books when I was in junior high and back then thought, these would make awesome movies. So my expectations were high and the film did not disappoint. The screenplay was an amalgam of the plots of the first three books in the series by Edgar Rice Burroughs (A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, The Warlord of Mars--there were ten in all) and smoothed a lot of the rougher edges. One plot device in the books that required a rather huge suspension of disbelief was how John Carter made it to Mars (or as the Martians call their home planet--Barsoom) in the first place. The movie solved that with a neat trick that was easier to accept (involving of course super-magical science).

Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Mars, was played by the veteran actor Lynn Carter, whose résumé includes Portia in the 2004 movie, The Merchant of Venice, and occasional appearances in True Blood. Dejah Thoris was supposed to be most beautiful woman who ever lived, on Earth or Barsoom, and I'm thinking, yeah right. Well, in this movie, she was...smokin' hot. Brainy. Athletic. Heroic. Plus great legs and cleavage.

Reluctantly, I saw the movie in 3D, a format I don't like. The previous two movies I've seen in 3D, Avatar and one of the Transformers monstrosities, were awful and the dizzying special effects only made the experience worse. This time, the 3D effects were thankfully tame and the movie was good enough not to need them.

There were some aspects in the movie that differed from what I had imagined, specifically the thoats (Barsoomian eight-legged mounts, which were always depicted in art as more horse-like) and the airships (I loved the ship controls, so very Steampunk). But the sets were magnificent with a beautiful Art Nouveau aesthetic and I'm sure the art directors each busted a nut over the research and concepts.

The story line had plenty of twists and a compelling plot. The driver of the story was Dejah Thoris, who has to convince John Carter to help her stop the evil god-like Matai Shang and his minions. John Carter finally agrees, but not to save Barsoom, but because he's in love with Dejah Thoris. (John Carter may be an interplanetary hero but he's also a man.) And John Carter in turn, has to convince the green Tharks to ally themselves with Dejah's cause. And when the story seems all wrapped up, the screenwriters throw in another great twist. And then, another.

If you have any idea of the challenges of acting, even in this age of CGI, check out this behind-the-scenes video of Lynn Carter interacting with Willem Dafoe (Tars Tarkas). Imagine trying to get into the spirit of saving your people from annihilation when walking on dry wall stilts! An interesting detail was that Dafoe's movie rival was played by Thomas Haden Church (of Sideways fame), who also wore stilts. Plus there's a cameo by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad).

The main shortcoming of the movie was that we've been here before--a space opera with an intrepid hero on a foreign planet with bizarre creatures and fantastic technology--which is not a fault of the story, which is a hundred years old. In fact, Edgar Rice Burroughs' series was the inspiration for generations of writers and it's just that those other stories (Star Wars, Avatar, etc.,) made it to the screen first. Walt Disney wanted to make A Princess of Mars his first movie but he relented (that distinction went to Snow White) because he felt the movie technology of the time wouldn't do the story justice. Since then, there have been a few attempts, including this forgettable dreck starting Traci Lords (well, she tried).

Labels: , ,

Aaron loved this movie too. I guess I really missed out not reading the novels when I was a kid. I'll have to check it out.

Oh, I hate 3D as well, like, H8 it, but I recently saw Hugo in 3D and just loved it. Can't imagine seeing it any other way.
I tried to do the John Carter trick many times as a child -- just stare at Mars hard enough and you'll just *poof* arrive there. My disappointment was bitter. So I went to the movie with a lot of misgivings and a smuggled bottle of rum just in case it was hideous. (Can anyone say: Wild Wild West?) Rum: Still unopened. The movie was great.

I liked the movie version of Dejah Thoris. She was gorgeous and brave and intelligent, but in the movie she was also a brilliant scientist. She needed to be more than eye candy, and she was.

Plus the comedy within the action was just wonderful. Every since Die Hard I've been waiting for a movie where you're roaring with laughter at the same time your palms are sweating. John Carter did it! I'm so glad they made a great movie. Unfortunately since it has been a designated "flop" there probably won't be any more. But we'll always have this one, and that's enough for me.
Chris: Definitely check it out.
Bonnie: Ack! You stared at Mars too! There is a lot of discussion how Disney flubbed the marketing. I would've emphasized the Dejah Thoris-John Carter romance angle since that is what sets this movie apart from other fantasy flicks. Plus Tars Tarkas dope-slapping John Carter was priceless.
Ok, you talked me into it. Now I have to see the movie & FIND the books. thanks:)
Post a Comment

<< Home

Biting Edge - Blogged

Marta Acosta
Zombie Defense Tactics
L.A. Banks
Robin Brande
Douglas Clegg
Mary Janice Davidson
Midnight Moon Cafe
P.N. Elrod
Christine Feehan
Andrew Fox
Jasper Fforde
Neil Gaiman
Laurell K. Hamilton
Charlaine Harris
Charlie Huston
Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Midnight Hour
First Offenders
Christopher Moore
Susan Squires
Storytellers Unplugged
Carrie Vaughn
Lynn Viehl
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Agent Query
AOL Bookmaven
Bookseller Chick
Bronze Word
Guide to Literary Agents
Grumpy Old Bookman
Marcela Landres
Miss Snark
The Neglected Books Page
Preditors and Editors
Pub Rants
Publishers Lunch
Latino Stories

Alt Vampires
Love Vampires Reviews
Bite Me Magazine
Borderlands Bookstore
Dark Carnival Bookstore
Dark Hunter
Horror Writers Assoc.
Kaleighbug Books
Locus Magazine
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore
Paranormal Fiction
Paranormality Universe
Realm of the Vampires
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Net
Undead Update
Vampire Genre
Vampire HQ
The Vampire Library
Vampires Vault
Vampyres Online

March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / February 2010 / March 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / June 2010 / July 2010 / August 2010 / September 2010 / October 2010 / November 2010 / December 2010 / January 2011 / February 2011 / March 2011 / April 2011 / May 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 / August 2011 / September 2011 / October 2011 / November 2011 / December 2011 / January 2012 / February 2012 / March 2012 / April 2012 / May 2012 / June 2012 / July 2012 / August 2012 / September 2012 / October 2012 / November 2012 / December 2012 / January 2013 / February 2013 / March 2013 / April 2013 / May 2013 / June 2013 / July 2013 /

Powered by Blogger