Princess of Mars...what could have been
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    Princess of Mars...what could have been

    Out of love for a red princess...and what should have been (and for those that weren't aware of the books!). Here's a link to an amazing site chock full of fascinating ERBdom art and interest: ERB Illustration.

    Raise your hand if you knew Frank Schoonover painted Tharks?

    And EIGHT galleries of Tharks: Thark Galleries.

    Have fun!
    Cover (first edition I believe?)
    Name:  princart_s.jpg
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    Interior illo
    Name:  Schoonover_first_edition.jpg
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    And I believe this may actually be J. Allen St. John (incorrectly credited online)
    Name:  thark_by_frank_schoonover_1920.jpg
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    What would Caravaggio do?
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    I only know the universe by illustrations but I was entertained watching the movie. It was a good ride.

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    *raises hand*

    I ordered a collection of the first five stories the other day, with reproductions of the Schoonover art. Looking forward to it!

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    That's pretty cool Sloth! Didn't know they were doing an edition with the Schoonover art - care to share a link?

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    Great links Jeff! I especially like the one drawing by J. Allen St. John.

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    It seems to me that the art is the movie is pretty good already though. There are great designs on the aircraft and creatures. The tharks are really well animated. And the CGI for the most part is really just amazing. The artists did a pretty good job I would say. The illustrations are pretty cool though, I kinda wish they use some of those designs instead.

    It's really the horrible horrible plot holes and acting that brought down the movie. Even action movies need to have some sorta meaning I guess, this movie is just completely pointless.


    And gosh, for fuck sake, when has making every movie into 3D become a fashion? It's really really lame. I had to watch it in 3D because my family ordered the tickets. And halfway through the movie, none of us were even wearing 3D glasses. Not only is it uncomfortable to wear, it actually lowers all the brightness quite a lot.

    I remember the first time I watched things in 3D, it was something about a roller coaster ride through hell, and it was AMAZING! You can feel ghosts and demons reaching out and grab you, and meteors coming from a long distance away to crash you cart and all that. That is when using 3D is actually COOL. But for this, it just adds nothing.

    Last edited by Aaron_; March 30th, 2012 at 09:30 PM.
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    Definitely not the artist's fault...never really is. I was more offering up this thread as relating to the books and history of the franchise. I absolutely love that Schoonover interior illo/painting.

    Anyway...here's another vision of what might have been. Kerry Conran's (Sky Captain guy) pitch video from about 2004: Conran's John Carter.

    It looks to me like a much closer interpretation story wise...and I definitely prefer some of the visuals...but it also looks to me like they would have really screwed up some other things visually - way too many floaty things...and ringed planets in the sky...c'mon.

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    im going to go watch it tomorrow, but how come mars isnt a barren freezing airless desert anyway?

    tell you a mars story id like to see on screen, Moving Mars, thatd be awesome!
    although as it spans decades maybe an HBO series would be better than a movie.

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    As soon as I saw the preview, I knew I didn't want to see the movie. It just looked like standard lifeless cgi, with the typically inarticulate anatomies that always crop up on the computers, false action, and a lot of typical "ooh I'm impressed" concept design that was chosen a la carte, like the latter 3 star wars movies. It had no coherent flavor. It had no poetry or painterliness to it. There was no feeling of wonder arising out of the aesthetics.

    This is what gets me irritated. There seems to be this notion around that Frazetta's John Carter of Mars is cool because the idea is cool, and all the costumes, and the adventure. But that's all crap. Frazetta's JC is good because Frazetta's makes all the stupid fantasy crap work. Schoonover gets it to work too, most of the time. Especially on the Gods of Mars cover, which is Golden Age classic. Most of the rest of the illustrated attempts to make it work suck. Because you can't illustrate the wonder of a fantasy story. You can only evoke it. (Let this be my epitaph.)

    Oh and how stupid a marketing decision was it to call it John Carter? Its such a generic name. Anything would have been better. Warlord of Mars, Gods of Mars, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars, A Fighting Man of Mars, Huckleberry Mars, Mars Mars Mars Spam and Mars, etc.

    Watch Ridley Scott's Gladiator again... every shot of that is evocative.

    I will eventually see the movie and report back if I was wrong about it.

    Last edited by kev ferrara; March 30th, 2012 at 11:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    I will eventually see the movie and report back if I was wrong about it.
    You're not. And thanks for that interview snippet...fantastic little tidbit there.

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Oh, btw, great story from an interview of Frank Schoonover from late in his life, 1966 conducted for the Smithsonian Archives of Art about his work with Burrough's creation:

    Frank Schoonover: So I received this manuscript from a publishing house in Chicago called The Princess of Mars and Burroughs conceived of a life on the planet Mars and he writes a story describing the men and the women on the planet Mars. As he said, there were the green men called the Tharks, who had four arms, and there were the red men of Helium, and the Princess of Mars herself who was named Dejah Thoris, and the head green man was Tars Tarkis. So I got this story and I was fascinated with it. So I said I've got to make some -- and it seemed from Edgar Rice Burroughs' description that the people were dressed mostly with belts, had belts and things. So I made up a little what you might call dictionary of costume or compendium of costume.

    Interviewer: For Mars?

    Frank Schoonover: Of the people who lived on Mars. And I made a lot of drawings of the belts and their faces and their four-armed creatures, you know, and a picture of Dejah Thoris, the heroine, and sent it on to Burroughs and asked him to make notations, corrections. And he sent it back. I got it all back almost immediately, although it had to go California. He sent it back and he said, "You know as much about them as I do and that's nothing!"

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    I agree that the marketing was non existent for the movie. But I thought the movie was fantastic. It's faithful enough to the source material and when changes are made they make perfect sense. The Tharks and other martians creatures were perfectly adapted to the film and their characterizations were very well done. I frickin' loved Sola's character. Which was intended in the original,as well. I've heard that the art book for the movie is a definitely worth picking up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Lofgren View Post
    It's faithful enough to the source material and when changes are made they make perfect sense.
    Oh I have to completely disagree there...I thought it destroyed the source material, which was perfectly good the way it was/is. Some of it they got right...but that was when they were true to the source...when they tried to shift and condense things they missed by 10,000 haad and confused things. But that's ok...just my take on it.

    I still think I'll be picking up the Art of for sure.

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    When I went to see it I had just finished re-reading Princess and was about halfway through the second and perhaps things were more fresh in my mind, so I'm genuinely curious what you found to be confusing. Not trying to be snarky, just like to read others opinions on things

    The one thing that bugged me was the details regarding his travels to Mars. Not so much that a technology is incorporated in the story to do so (one of the changes I liked, in fact), but that they suggest that a version of him is still on left on Mars when he returns to Earth. Either I misunderstood what was suggested there, or that one tidbit should have been left out.

    Here's a link to the art book- Art of John Carter. I wish there was a preview to look at.


    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Oh I have to completely disagree there...I thought it destroyed the source material, which was perfectly good the way it was/is. Some of it they got right...but that was when they were true to the source...when they tried to shift and condense things they missed by 10,000 haad and confused things. But that's ok...just my take on it.

    I still think I'll be picking up the Art of for sure.


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    No worries - Re-reading it as well myself and halfway through second book.

    I sort of liked the idea of Thern tech providing a transportation device - but that wipes out the idea he isn't in control of getting back and forth. And plays the Therns up way too much - suddenly they are like some kind of galactic/cosmic neutral watcher entities? Instead of being what they were which was religious overlords with some ancient tech that allowed them some power.

    Also really was bummed by the poor casting and costuming between Sab Than and Kantos Kan....hell, it took me a second to figure out who was who most of the time. Also didn't like the whole Zodanga moving city thing...or the Princess Bride "I'm going to kill Dejah on our wedding night" element.

    My main disapointment was with the River Iss and the complete MIA of the Valley of Dor, Great Golden Cliffs...etc. Not to mention the green plant men?

    I didn't like the shifting of Dejah to an inventor/swordswoman par excellance and somehow acting more like an ambassador to the Tharks rather than a captive being taken to the Games to die via ten days of torture...or the fact that she had nothing but scorn for Carter at first...and confusion...yet interest. All that subtle, intersting stuff just lost.

    Mostly though...the white rancors. C'mon...and where was that cool little confrontation he had where he and Woola killed two by themselves, cementing their bond?

    Hate the cavalry stuff...they spent a bunch of time on that too...and teh dead wife thing? Meanwhile leaving out the entire aspect of Carter being some kind of immortal ala Highlander (not that I ever understood Burroughs including that either - except by way of explaining many lifetimes of military training - almost like Moorcosk's Eternal Champion).

    Basically I just think Stanton thought he could do a better job by combining three separate adventures into one two hour movie. Peter Jackson on the other hand took four books (I'm including important elements from Silmarillion) and turned them into 12 hours of gripping storytelling.

    Stuff I liked:
    Aircraft (mostly)
    Tharks - again mostly - though I prefer the Conran Tharks but like the Disney tusks more
    Ancient City was really well done
    The Virginia/Earth stuff - didn't mind they made him Burroughs Uncle - that's an ok change - I liked how true they were to his burial instructions and how they worked all that
    I like how they kind of made him a bit Indiana Jonesish/archaeologist type serching for an artifact to return

    I'm just sad that they bunged it so poorly that instead of a great series of epic Burroughs films...we have nothing.

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