Sunday, March 17, 2013

John Carter FROM MARS dammit

I picked up the Kindle version of the book "John Carter and the Gods Of Hollywood" because the reviews were effusive and I like your basic exploration of why bad things happen to good movies as much as the next guy.  JC and the Gods is a scary thorough examination of the machine that produced and then attempted to promote the recent John Carter movie.  The gist of the author's thesis is that the movie both fell through the cracks during a regime change at Disney and/or was intentionally or unintentionally sabotaged on the publicity side by folks who just didn't get it. Per the author, movies like The Avengers were drawing up enormous media oxygen while John Carter simply wasn't getting the same level of attention.  According to the writer, it was basically the endless missteps in the promotional campaign for Carter that led to a less than stellar opening and big box-office trouble.

I should mention that I hadn't actually seen the movie itself before I started reading the book.  After learning about all the missteps on the Disney side, I finally got around to a sit down with the movie itself.  And guess what?  It's just not very good.  Obviously everyone involved tried to make a great, epic, sprawling fantasy out of a classic piece of Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure -- but in the end the magic just wasn't there. And sometimes that just happens. 

On a much smaller scale, I've become gunshy these days when folks tell me that one of my TV scripts is bound to be "the best of the season," because it seems like those are inevitably the episodes  where another shoe drops and they become the problem child.  It's not that anyone sets out to do a lousy job -- and I really don't like the snarky piling-on that occurs when a John Carter comes along -- it's just that sometimes things just don't work out.  It's not great for Disney stockholders or fans hoping for the further adventures of John Carter, but not a diabolical crime either...


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