Monday, December 12, 2011

John Carter of Mars

I haven't read much Edgar Rice Burroughs. He's always been there, as part of the foundations, one of us, a science fiction fan. I think I've mostly read Tarzan, and missed out on the swashbuckling planet-winning ways of John Carter. John Carter debuted in 1912, making him a hundred years old.  Next year, 2012, the movie comes out.

Burroughs set his adventures on a dying planet Mars - the prominent dark 'canals' that can be inferred on the planet's surface encouraged many at the time to think that Mars had once held flowing water. In most cases, this seems to have led to the immediate thought that the planet was drying up, and therefore the inhabitants must be desperately holding on.  John Carter is transported to this planet, whereupon he has many adventures featuring jeweled, naked princesses and performs mighty deeds, due to his Earth-gravity-accustomed muscles, which propel him easily through the air on tiny Mars.

Hollywood has been making Tarzan films almost as long as he's been around, but seems to have waited until now to film John Carter, possibly because it's only now that we have the necessary CGI. I'd say that it was also that it's only now we could have films featuring naked princesses, but apparently the movie does not stay true to the book in that respect.

Here's the trailer, which looks exactly like a Star Wars prequel film. That's not necessarily good.

But wait - what is that music? Is it Kashmir, by Led Zeppelin?

Indeed it is.

If you can't wait for the movie, Project Gutenberg has the etext.  Beware, though, that if, like me, you thought that it was a good idea to set the action on Mars so that we could have action-adventure without bad-mouthing any actually existing races, Burroughs still manages to screw the pooch by setting the first few pages in the wild wild west, giving him plenty of chances to work in references to 'savage Apaches' and their torturing ways.

1 comment:

KaliDurga said...

I used to love those books. As a matter of fact, I still have the set I borrowed from a friend in high school and never returned.

Had to watch the trailer with no volume since I'm at work-- Can't remember what the Martian race is called, but they really look great in this. Though you're right, it's a very blatant Star Wars rip-off. And, as I recall, John Carter did not have long hair.


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