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Jul142011

Pixar's 'John Carter' trailer looks amazing, and a lot like Prince of Persia

Who knew Mars looked so much like Persia. Disney-Pixar’s adaptation of John Carter of Mars is already looking quite amazing. This will be Pixar’s first foray into live-action film, with Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life) directing and Pixar trying its hand at realistic CGI for the first time. So far, the result looks amazing. At the same time, Film School Rejects are astute to point out that there really isn’t a lot of mars going on here. We haven’t yet seen any aliens or many unfamiliar locations. So far, it looks to be the Prince of Persia that Jerry Bruckheimer failed to produce last year, and then some.

Description: Written in 1914 by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan), the story follows Civil War vet John Carter who is “transplanted to Mars, where he discovers a lush, wildly diverse planet whose main inhabitants are 12-foot tall green barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, who is in desperate need of a savior.”

History: Ryan Fleming from Digital Trends does a good job summing up the history of the film, which stretches back to the 1980s and has had Tom Cruise, Robert Rodriguez, Jon Favreau, and a host of other filmmakers and actors attached throughout the years. 

Disney originally wanted to make John Carter as its answer to Star Wars, and got far enough along that John McTiernan and Tom Cruise were hired to direct and star. McTiernan eventually felt that the visual effects of the time were not up to the task, and so the film’s rights reverted to the Burroughs estate. Then in 2003, Robert Rodriguez signed on to direct with the backing of Paramount. Rodriguez planned to use the same technology he had employed for Sin City, but then Rodriguez came into conflict with the Directors Guild of America when the Guild refused to sanction Frank Miller as a co-director of Sin City. Paramount then turned to Kerry Conran to direct, but Conran was only attached briefly before Jon Favreau was hired in 2005. Once again the issue of the effects became a sticking point and Paramount eventually dropped the rights, which Disney once again purchased.

In 2007, Disney turned to Pixar to create John Carter as a proposed trilogy based on the first three Burroughs novels, depending of course on the success of the first film.

Cast: You couldn’t ask for a better cast or crew for the film. Taylor Kitsch stars as John Carter, Mark Strong plays Matai Shang (probably a villain, knowing Mark Strong), Willem Dafoe plays Tars Tarkas, Dominic West (The Wire) is Sab Than, Thomas Hayden Church (Sideways, Spider-Man 3) is Tal Hajus, Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle) is Powell, and Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit) is also in the trailer, though currently uncredited.

Andrew Stanton co-wrote the film with Michael Chabon, who wrote Spider-Man 2 and the novel Wonder Boys.

Theatrical release date: March 9, 2012

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