Okay, well, I didn't go to Mars. But it felt like it. I mean, California's almost an entirely different planet from New York City. Anyway, in June I was invited to California in order to see some behind-the-scenes post-production material for the upcoming John Carter movie.
What's the connection, you may ask? Well:
1. Marvel published John Carter comics in the late '70s.
2. Disney owns Marvel and Disney is releasing the new John Carter movie.
3. John Carter is played by Taylor Kitsch, who played Gambit in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
4. Marvel is publishing new John Carter comics.
It all comes full circle, really.
Anyhow, Disney flew me out with a small number of movie bloggers and we spent a day or so soaking up rad John Carterness. The real action started when we visited the post-production facilities where director Andrew Stanton (who wrote and directed WALL-E & Finding Nemo and wrote a few other Pixar flicks) and producer Jim Morris (a Pixar and Industrial Light & Magic vet) are hard at work finishing the film.
We loaded up in a rather nice little theater and Stanton gave a presentation on the approach he and his team had taken on the movie. Stanton co-wrote John Carter with Mark Andrews (who's done many things for films such as The Incredibles and The Iron Giant) and Michael Chabon (kickass writer of “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” and a little movie called "Spider-Man 2"), all three of whom are huge fans of the original Edgar Rice Burroughs stories. The presentation also included the ‘70s Marvel comics, with Stanton explaining how the writers have all been fans of the material in various forms (Stanton even discovering Carter through the comics), but the movie will be its own creature--faithful to the source material yet inclusive of what works on film and makes a great story, not just a straight adaptation.
Basically? The folks making the movie are legit and passionate fans, yet fantastic storytellers who can make the tough calls as to what should be in the movie. Hmmm, ya know, that kinda sounds like the crew at Marvel Studios.
Back to what I saw, though. Mr. Stanton showed the lot of us the trailer to John Carter(which you can watch below) as well as a few clips from the movie in various stages of completion. I won’t go into the details of what I saw, but I think fans of the books and comics will be into the movie, yet it won’t alienate folks turned off by 10-foot-tall creatures with four arms. Oh, and those creatures look badass.
After we saw all the footage, we went to Pixar HQ for lunch. Okay, I’m kind of a huge fan of all things Pixar, so that was super-cool to me. This isn’t a Pixar movie, mind you; it’s from Walt Disney Studios. We ate and chatted with Stanton and Morris and some other folks working on the movie in a room loaded up with John Carter stuff. There was a life-size Thark statue, a bunch of guns and swords used in the film, models of...things...in the movie (I’m trying to be vague, here!), concept art and some statues of scenes from the movie.
I’ve got a good feeling about John Carter. More info and fun stuff soon.
[Edited By Moderator]