Monday, April 2, 2012

John Carter

I've known Andrew Stanton since his early days at Pixar-- he and John Lasseter, the late Joe Ranft, and Pete Docter would show up at various festivals with their award winning shorts.

Obviously, I loved his feature work for Pixar. "Wall-E" and "Finding Nemo" are both fantastic films, so I was very excited when I heard he was tackling the famous Edgar Rice Burroughs story "John Carter of Mars".

However, I kept hearing nasty rumors that the production was having problems -- re-editing, rewriting and such. I decided to go out and see it for myself the opening weekend.

Well it's a beautiful film, with fun action scenes and great visuals. My only problem was that it was too much sword and sorcery. All these magical emblems and glowing amulets and glowing erector set body appendages. I like whimsy and fantasy in my films but I didn't really see the need for all the hocus pocus. The characters and story were interesting enough without all the abracadabra.

The unfortunate issue of the film is that it cost a quarter of a billion dollars (plus another 100 million for marketing) and the reviews have not been good. It looks like the film will be a box office disaster, which is not good for Andrew. My prayer is that he'll return to Pixar and continue making terrific animated films.

I myself also had a very rough time with live action -- "J. Lyle" and "Guns on the Clackamas" were box office disasters. So I'm happily back in my comfort zone creating animated shorts and features.

My review for John Carter is a C+.

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