ANDY FISH

ANDY FISH is a comic book artist


You're reading his old blog-- so change your bookmarks to his NEW improved BLOG.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

JOHN CARTER OF MARS


In my teen years I discovered the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs, specifically the TARZAN and JOHN CARTER series of adventures.  They are fast paced and well written and I liked all of them.  Flash forward to a few years ago and I'd heard Pixar was doing JOHN CARTER as their next feature and I was pumped.

I had visions of a more serious piece of work from them then previously done, no cutesy characters, just big epic colors and characters-- of course I learned soon enough that A. It was not going to be animated and B. It was not by Pixar but by Pixar director Andy Stanton who did FINDING NEMO and WALL.E - both of which were brilliant films in their own right.

I didn't catch it in theaters because of its poor reviews (the movie was a bomb big enough to sink Disney) but rented it last week.

Meh.

It was definitely better than expected after those reviews, but where was the art direction?  I expected big crazy colors and instead I got dusty backgrounds and CGI Characters.


The books were written at a time when we thought Mars was this crazy red planet-- and I was hoping for something along the lines of the cult classic FLASH GORDON (1980) which itself was a box office failure but has since been reborn a classic.

Max Von Sydow was perfect as Emperor Ming!
Flash Gordon, ironically, was inspired by John Carter-- but like Zorro's relation to Batman the former character remains in the public's imagination while the inspiration has faded over time.  The Flash film from the 80s was a visual treat-- loaded with amazing colors, design, characters and NO CGI.

And color isn't the deciding factor-- you can't get any grayer than the original Flash Gordon (1936)

The original Flash had style-- I like to pretend I don't notice the short pants
The originals had imagination and crazy characters, despite a budget 1/100th of John Carters it boasts something the new film can't.

It's still remembered 70 years later.