Monday, July 18, 2011

I Made The Mistake Of Watching The John Carter Trailer

As soon as they went with the generic title -- John Carter (2012) -- I should have taken the hint and ignored the new trailer for the upcoming Edgar Rice Burroughs adaption.

I'm guessing that Hollywood producers -- constantly on the lookout for a new franchise to kick-start -- did a sort of taste-test of audiences, found some basic recognition of the John Carter name, and went forward with this crap.

The trailer has as much to do with Edgar Rice Burroughs' vision as Tarzan, The Ape Man (1981) with Bo Derek did.

When I was about 14 to 15, I was still a voracious reader of comic books -- which is where I first stumbled upon John Carter in the Marvel-published title in 1977 or so -- but I somehow got hooked on Edgar Rice Burroughs and managed to read, in the space of two years, all of the Tarzan novels, all of the Pellucidar books, and the 11 John Carter of Mars titles.

The novels are largely disposable in some ways but there's a lot of imagination at work in the Mars books, more than in the Tarzan stuff. Burroughs created a world and a backstory every bit as rich and detailed as anything Tolkien dreamed up. Burroughs, though, was largely concerned with entertainment and not moralizing.

While I may not remember the specific plots of those 11 books, I do remember the feeling I had when reading them. And that feeling of wonder and excitement is nowhere to be found in that trailer.

I'm not asking for much, Hollywood, am I? A bit of wit and a sense of adventure, maybe? Just take those Frank Frazetta covers for two of the 11 John Carter titles and make those into films.

Of course, that will never happen.

Some things are better read and left to the imagination than halfheartedly brought to CGI life.