Monday, March 31, 2008


Bob Clampett's John Carter of Mars

(via) An intriguing little glimpse into what might have been.

Wow! These cartoons would have ruled.

Incidentally, Charles Edward Pogue (screenwriter on David Cronenberg's THE FLY amongst other films) wrote a screenplay for A PRINCESS OF MARS that ERB's grandson supposedly thought the best adaptation of the master's work ever. I'd read online that Pogue occasionally sells this unmade script to fans at Burroughs cons.
Wow, this is even more poignant since I am now reading Stirling's "In the Courts of the Crimson Kings"
Interesting -- I'd never seen this footage before although I had read of it in various books on Clampett and ERB. It looks as if it would compare favorably to the Fleisher Superman cartoons as far as design and execution is concerned.

I was really disappointed when Jon Favreau got pulled off the John Carter film project to work on Iron Man (although that looks to be great).

Now Disney/Pixar is doing A Princess of Mars -- mixed live action and CGI. This has the potential to be something really great.
I have really high hopes about the Pixar production, I'll admit. They haven't disappointed yet, and they could very well do amazing things with the source material.

Hmm, let's see, first we'll take the Princess and give her a bit of a feminist pluck, show the world that grrrl power could have been alive and well in the Victorian era. Then we'll take John, get rid of that whole Confederate background, make him more sensitive and boyish. Then we'll need a comedic sidekick to help tie in to the merchandising, maybe an animal-friend of some sort. How about a talking Donkey? We can get a well-known comedian-turned-hack to chime in...
Um, have you ever seen a Pixar movie? Not a lot of comedic sidekicks in them, that I recall, and nary a talking donkey to be found. You might be thinking of some other outfit.

(And not to pick nits, but I don't remember Victorian society being much of an influence on Barsoom...)
I've seen every Pixar movie released. You want comedic sidekicks, you got comedic sidekicks Billy Crystal in Monsters, every supporting toy in Toy Story, Mader in Cars, Ellen Degeneres in Nemo, how many more do you need? They're following the typical formula for cartoon movies these days. I had hopes for Pixar when they put their foot down with Disney, but they took that back pretty quick and accepted the leash.

The talking Donkey was, obviously, a humorus reference to the genre, not the studio. Add a few more legs on to the donkey, it'll be the same result, dollars to donuts. Guaranteed or your money back.

Victorian society was prevalent in the attitudes found in ERB's work, namely the swooning women and macho men. They're a hoot and I have loved reading them all my life, but there's no way that Pixar/Disney is going to honor that. Might as well be Treasure
Planet all over again.
We may have to agree to disagree. To be honest, when responding I hadn't thought of Dory or Mike Wazowski in terms of "comedic sidekicks," because they're both such fully formed characters in their own right. I'll give you Mater from Cars, and the gang from Toy Story, but what about The Incredibles? Or Ratatouille? There are humorous characters in both, certainly, but all of them carry as much weight in the stories as any full-blown supporting character. And neither movie hews very closely to "the typical formula for cartoon movies," I wouldn't think.

In any event, I've been impressed with the entirety of Pixar's output to date (and with Disney's post-Pixar-takeover animated output), and I remain optimistic about what they'll do with Barsoom.
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