John Carter (2012)
I must admit that I'm disappointed to read of the apparent failure of Disney's John Carter at the box office (but probably not as disappointed as the folks at Disney).  Two-hundred-fifty million in production costs, and only thirty million at the opening weekend box office?  Not good.

I've read Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom Series up through the seventh book, A Fighting Man of Mars, which I just finished a few weeks ago.  I've enjoyed all the books for what they are -- a series of imaginative, though now a bit dated, sci-fi adventures.  But I was looking forward to seeing this film adaptation (the production stills and trailer looked great) and was even thinking of going to the theatre to see it, which is not something I do a lot these days, now that I have a plasma screen in my living room that streams Netflix.

However, I did have some reservations about this film series, as a lot of these stories play out better in what Stephen King refers to as the "skull cinema" than they might do on screen.  Most John Carter books contain action that is (charitably) a bit over the top for our tastes today.  I wondered about whether Carter's ability to leap great distances (because of the lower Martian gravity) would look cool, or silly.  OK for the Hulk, but then, he was the Hulk.  I also recall a sword battle in one of the books that raged for hours in which John Carter slew dozens of warriors whose bodies stacked up like cord wood as blood ran ankle deep on the floor.  Try filming that!  

But despite my reservations, I was looking forward to this film, hopefully to be the first in a series of John Carter stories that would be released every couple of years.  Big budget, effects-driven extravaganzas are still one thing that is done much better in the movies than on the TV screen.  But, with generally negative reviews, combined with the poor box office of opening weekend, and trade talk of a write-down by the Disney accounting department, it would seem that a John Carter sequel is not going to happen any time soon.  Well, maybe it'll play better overseas and make some money.  For now, I guess I'll wait for it to be on Netflix.  Meanwhile, Swords of Mars (1936) and Synthetic Men of Mars (1940) are already waiting for me on my Kindle.  03.13.12