Jeff watches John Carter – 6

John and Dejah at the Thern Temple
I’ve heard some think these shots look a little too blue screeny ( oops it’s green these days ) but it is all blue… Ok, that joke didn’t work.
I was so relieved that this was not tree of life from Avatar. I really thought it was going to be the heart of Barsoom. I didn’t dare say it online, it would have gone viral for sure. I was thrilled that it was nine rays.
“And you are John Carter of Earth” that’s a great moment ” yes ma’am”
“And the ships that sail on the sea ?” I love that, I got all tingly when she said that. It’s funny considering how pooched up that previous relating conversation was way back in “John and Dejah meet, get all clumsy “. I’m sure that’s what they referred to in the shooting script.

I didn’t really care about background stuff they were talking about in the temple, I found this stuff much more of interesting. I tend to got for the science over the churchy stuff I guess. And hot princesses in the dark. Of course she looked amazing in that other scene too…. “From the moment you caught me in the sky” – that’s a truly romantic phrase.
Quick cut to John and his family, I really have no idea why some people said they didn’t get this. To me it just shows loyalty really. I was never crazy about John Carter of the Books being immortal. And I was completely impatient that he could live for centuries and not fall it love. I just saw that as major character failing. The fact that ERB never did anything with his immortality allowed me to ignore it.
I don’t think Dejah read John properly and she doesn’t understand the meaning of the rings, she’s just all wrapped up in her own issues.
When John and Dejah jumped down onto the boat in the trailers we weren’t too sure what Sola was saying. Now we know it’s “Dotar Sojat ! “is perfectly clear, but the time we’re just guessing. We thought maybe it was ‘don’t do that !”
The thing with the Warhoons being physically different than the Tharks goes back to when Conran had the movie.


I saw design work showing them with long narrow skulls. The Tharks were more traditional in design, but with less character ( at that time ) than what Stanton presented us with. I was surprised when I first saw these different Warhoons, but then thought but I that I might have gone there myself. A lot of the same design team had gone through three different directors on the project and ideas do travel from version to version.

Leaving the River – those thoats really motor…
As we all know this is THE SCENE of the movie. And if anything was personally crucial to me to make it from the book to the movie it was that moment when John sends Dejah on her way to save her from the Warhoon. I’m thrilled that it’s in the movie and that it so excellent.
I don’t know where people get the feeling that there’s no relationship developing between John and Dejah. They like each other immediately and are in constant physical contact with each other. I understand John’s family loyalties and conflicts. I hurt somebody trying to be a good guy and be loyal, but I was too young to know how to negotiate it and made a mess. A couple times actually… Anyways – I’d say that John’s never been in the situation before either. For those of you who have never been there, just accept that it’s a ‘real thing’. Oh, full disclosure – I wasn’t always trying to do the right thing …..
Okay look at the shot of Sola holding onto Dejah thrashing around. She is completely solid and real – so real that you can’t question her presence there at all. Jar Jar comparisons ? Are you kidding me ? The animation effects work on this is unbelievable it’s so crazy good. And this is all working in the context of a heartbreaking emotional scene with a giant green Martian who is not even there. I bow down in awe.
The moss always looked like a rug to me and I was wondering why Carter was standing in middle of the road. Not that that was really running through my mind the first time I saw the movie.
So there was this spy guy who was working on the movie but really hated it, he referred Taylor Kitsch as a skinny kid. I was thinking “yeah you’re probably some lard ass yourself”. He was mentioning that Kitsch would be basically pumping iron on set all the time. You can certainly see that here.
I really can’t imagine coming home to find your wife and child dead and burned, digging the hole to bury them. I don’t even toy with it to see how bad it is. I can imagine what that would do to my soul . So to any of any of the heartless basement dwelling wanker’s who say otherwise I say – ” You are a heartless basement dwelling wanker !” Loser.
My only complaint with this scene is the dangly legs. I’d position him with his legs more bent and ready to land. I’m sure they played with it, I’d love to know why they didn’t go with it.
Frazetta Lives !
Time to bring it up but those tattoos. My god the crap we heard about the tattoos before the movie came out I can’t think of me all painted red ? ” That’s movies for you ! They’re not painted red enough! This is Stanton’s stupid arrogance! ” But while I’m watching the movie I pretty much forget about the tattoos , I’m watching the performances I’m watching their faces, I’m watching Dejah walk ( he he he ), it really became a non-issue in no time.
” Really I thought you had it removed along with your -” I didn’t expect that I love it ! And I love this ship. I love all the flyers in the movie and really want toys, but you guys already know that.
This is an interesting shot of Sola picking her way out of the sand, It not only removes her from the previous scene but it shows that the tharks have always had strategies for hiding from the high-tech red men.
Before the movie came out I was dying to see shots like this since a kid. I wasn’t really able to nail what Martian architecture look like. As an artist and and fan, I really wanted to know what those places looked like I and what’s it really like to live there level. So things like doors and beds and lamps were of a weird interest. Anything I came up with was pretty mundane, kind of bits of things I’ve seen on some old movie set in Rome. But that didn’t seem Martian enough for me.
I have to say the spaces do not disappoint. Look at the upside down staircase thing on the right and then below there’s an opening with light coming through into a whole other room. It’s understandable and exotic.
It’s Kantos Kan !- “The white imbecile has my sword !” and “There’s a crazy man running amok with a sword ! ” It doesn’t get any better than this.
There’s Banth statues in the hall. Something else that I need….
There’s a tiny smile there when Dejah makes John bow.
I think this was a scene they used whenever testing actors. It’s another one that’s really unusual for this kind of movie. I’m still so frustrated that nobody understands that. If those horrible Star Wars prequels had these kinds of performances and heart they would’ve fabulous. But they don’t so they aren’t. I remember watching them and thinking Anakin should really lose his shit, I mean REALLY lose it, not just a little bit. Or somebody should cry ! When I watched some behind the scenes you could see Lucus directing them like puppets, not actors. I’ve concluded that strong emotion scares him. Not saying that I like being yelled at or anything….
I think that Dejah has figured out what John’s rings mean now. I love that phrases like “changes metal but not his heart’ are in the movie and it works organically. Once again something I think some people are not giving it credit for.
The scene changes from Dejah badgering him to fight to her deciding to give him the medallion and the way to go home. We already know that he loves her, but that his high degree of loyalty ( and legit pain ) is tearing him apart. This moment carries that further gains his devotion. This is personal between them not about empires. She loves him and she’s willing to let him go. You can see the tear in her eye.
“Yes I am alone” – I can’t say it enough the performances in this movie which makes the screw-ups so hard to understand because of rest is so good.
Again something very much from the book well is in the book John hides In a chandelier. Here he’s up in the architecture which is a little more believable but all very true to the source.
pho,ikj to
We’re about 3/4 or 2/3 point ( I think in terms of 3/4 from novels ) where he have our last info dump from Matai Shang then it’s peddle to the metal from here on ! – Jeff

8 responses

  1. One of the things I noticed, and which made me giddy enough to annoy the Other Half, was the use of cuneiform on the starmap you discuss up top. Squint at it and you’ll see that it’s clearly some kind of Sumerian or Babylonian/Akkadian glyph sequence. Alas, I’m not sure how it’s read, so whether it says “This way to Jasoom” or “For sale, one goat, slightly used,” well…I can’t say.

    Still, it’s awesome, and it was measurably more awesome for me because I only noticed it *after* I chose Akkadian/Old Babylonian as my chief linguistic flavor component for the Martian language in Oath of Blood.

    January 31, 2013 at 9:59 am

    • (Or it might be some derivation of Ugaritic, now that I look at it. Ugaritic was a later use of cuneiform glyphs that was somewhat phonetic. I see repetition in the lines on that map that suggest maybe I’m looking at a transliteration of ??oom in several spots.)

      January 31, 2013 at 10:01 am

    • Oh yea, right, sure yea, how could I miss that ?

      January 31, 2013 at 10:29 am

  2. I like that they have tied into some plausible real world feature. It gives me hope as I work on my astral projection that it’s not all in vain.

    January 31, 2013 at 3:58 pm

  3. I think you’re absolutely right about the relationship between JC and Dejah, and the way it grows.

    Very good point about the extremely effective visual interaction between Sola and Dejah as she’s thrashing about on thoatback.

    Giving Carter a background with a murdered family takes away his “man without a past” persona from the novel, but within the context of the film its very effective, and I have to admit I found the battle with Warhoons, intercut as it is with Carter’s earthbound memories, to be extremely effective on an emotion level, and quite unusual for a piece of sci-fi adventure.

    So shoot me! I like it.

    January 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm

  4. Shoot you ? We loved it here – I made an effort to see it at Disney screening on the lot. I’m sort of enthused….

    February 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

  5. I loved the exhausted and lost war-hero background given in the film. It gives John Carter way more depth and his relationship with Dejah is necessary if he wants to move forward with his life.
    The Therns however… I do have ideas of what they could do with them so that it syncs up with the book’s lore. Now if we could just get more signatures…

    February 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm

  6. Also, John Carter wasn’t immortal even in the book. It sounds like his aging process was delayed due to the transport. Obviously the film couldn’t take the book’s flashback angle since this was the very beginning of the plot.

    Ugh. I wish the sequel will be made already – there’s so much I want to say but can’t because:
    1) the sequel hasn’t come out yet
    2) the friends I’ve introduced the film to haven’t read the books so I can’t chat about it
    and 3) the film took a lot of liberties with the material so it’s hard to say how they’ll handle the other characters – with the Therns having the most changes and the Red Barsoomians going red through their tattoos more than their skin tone despite the actors’ tans.

    February 6, 2013 at 11:17 am

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