A final trailer was released this week for Disney’s imminent blockbuster John Carter, a big-budget adaptation of the first novel (A Princess of Mars) in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic Barsoom series, which tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). I wasn’t sold on the film by the previous trailers which featured Kitsch delivering bland, generic dialogue, but this new trailer has piqued my interest by showcasing some eye-popping, spectacular action and visual effects as well as promising some potentially fascinating antagonists in Mark Strong and Dominic West (two of my favourite British actors). If John Carter looks like an amalgamation of Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Conan the Barbarian and Avatar, it’s because Burroughs’ work likely influenced each of these franchises. I’m intrigued to see if director Andrew Stanton – who has been an integral part of Pixar over the years, notably as the writer/director of Finding Nemo and Wall-E – can make the transition to live-action filmmaking as successfully as Brad Bird did last year with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, especially considering the fact that an adaptation of Burroughs’ source material has eluded the likes of John McTiernan, Robert Rodriguez and Jon Favreau over the past 25 years.
Stanton and Disney recruited celebrated author Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) to revise the script, and their impressive supporting cast also includes Samantha Morton, Ciaran Hinds, James Purefoy, Daryl Sabara, Polly Walker, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Hayden Church, and Willem Dafoe, but ultimately the success of the film relies on whether or not relative newcomers Kitsch and Collins have the chemistry required to carry the story. John Carter will screen worldwide in both 3D and IMAX formats next week, although since it wasn’t shot in either (no doubt an effort by Disney to help recoup their huge US$250 million budget) I’ll be watching it in regular 2D.
John Carter will be released in New Zealand on March 7 and in the US on March 8. Watch the final trailer below (via Slashfilm).
Watch a four-minute sneak peak of John Carter below (via Twitch).
Take a look at some classic John Carter artwork by legendary sci-fi/fantasy artist Frank Frazetta below: