John Carter Released on iTunes Today

So, "John Carter" is available on iTunes as of today. Seems like it was in theatres for about a week before getting yanked. Seems to me that Disney totally fouled-up the marketing from what I saw especially as compared to all the clever marketing I've been seeing for "Prometheus" (less than a week's wait left on that). In any event, I never saw "John Carter" in theatre, so my question to readers is, do I rent or to I buy?

I am definitely a fan of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. They're perhaps not the best works ever written, and start getting a bit repetitive if one (re)reads them all back-to-back as I recently did, but they certainly portray a fascinating and alien world much better than most. The character of John Carter himself is a hero par excellence, and his qualities as a gentleman make the novels must-reads for my sons when they come of age. I believe the Burroughs novels rightly belong in the "good books" programme offered by placed like Angelicum Academy (if we end up homeschooling, regardless of what programme we end up using, I plan to use this).

It is the characterization of John Carter that gives me the most pause with the film. I am wondering if they pulled it off, or if they felt the need to modernize him? Also, while it's one thing to read about all these naked people, it's another to watch them so I'm wondering how that was pulled-off and if it was done in a tasteful manner that for us scrupulous guilt-ridden Catholics doesn't present a "near occasion of sin".


Anonymous said...

He was a bit modernised in the sense of being a bit more playful than I think he'd been portrayed in the novels. As for the nakedness, no, it's not tastefully done. That's not possible, but it isn't quite as vulgar, and have been somewhat sanitised. You will, however, be tempted at a few moments. Also the standard "I can handle my own, ninja times a million"-liberated woman is enabled. It's a bit more advanced story (as in names and locations and peoples etc) than most sci-fi is these days.

All around, I enjoyed it more than I have a lot of other new stuff. I still think you should rent, because it just isn't a keeper.

I hope this makes some sense.

Nicholas D.C. Wansbutter said...

Thanks, this is helpful. I think nakedness can be done ... I didn't find Apocalypto too bad, for example.

I was worried about the "I can handle my own" warrior-woman thing. Especially with Dejah Thoris. Part of what made her so awesome in the books was that she was a true lady. She had a strong character, was tough in a feminine way, but no Xena Warrior Princess.

Anonymous said...

That's very true, about Apocalypto, but it felt so natural and right in that - because it was. It isn't the same when it's a highly advanced civilisation, she's wearing a very revealing "dress", made for the purpose of being exciting, that enhances just the right places and flows over her curves like water. That's only one type of outfit, though. Mostly she wears a very Xena-like outfit, if I remember correctly.

You're going to see the introduction to the warrior-woman part from a mile away, and it's so poor it'll make you cringe hard. Really, you should set up a camera recording your couch just to catch your face at that moment. I wish I had.

Nicholas D.C. Wansbutter said...

In contrast to the cringe-worthiness perversion of Deja Thoris that you describe, I went to see Snow White and the Huntsman last night. It was refreshingly non-feminist and contrary to what the trailer suggested Snow White is NOT a Xena Warrior Princess in the film at all. It was definitely better than I expected. Stephen Heiener and I will be doing a show on Snow White and the Huntsman tomorrow (Thursday, 6 June) at 7:30 pm Central/8:30 p.m. Eastern for any who are interested.

Sophia's Favorite said...

Ignore your anonymous interlocutor, this movie was awesome—and my mother grew up on the Burroughs books, if it met with her approval it should meet with anyone's.

Dejah being a warrior-woman frankly makes more sense to me than her characterization from the books; Barsoom is the sort of environment (ultra-dangerous decadent society) where everyone would know how to fight, man or woman. Martians in the books are basically PG-rated Dark Eldar, you do not want anyone defenseless in that society.

Actually the only thing they modernized about Carter is him being reluctant to fight, when book-Carter is basically Conan with manners. They went very light on the White Guilt, too—the Apaches were pretty belligerent, as befits a people whose economy was 40% raiding.

And the nudity isn't handled, it's omitted—they're all clothed, thank you. Their clothing, though skimpy, is quite tastefully done. You don't even notice it; it shouldn't pose a problem unless merely walking down the street in Brazil or Jamaica would pose an occasion of sin for you (some people are more sensitive than others, admittedly).

Anonymous said...

That's very surprising. Maybe I will go watch it then, because I was unsure. I thought the double-no of 1) Hollywood-is-out-of-ideas grimdark-fairytale and 2) Warrior Princess was too much, but now that it's only grimdark-fairytale it sounds more appealing.

Do you mean an episode for Restoration Radio?

Nicholas D.C. Wansbutter said...

Anyonymous: Yes, that's right, Restoration Radio. I'll post the link to the show later today once it's set up. Unfortunately I have to run to court right now.

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