“John Carter” and the misuse of “failure”.

Yes, I’ve heard the news.
“John Carter” only made thirty million it’s opening weekend.  It’ll be lucky to make back it’s budget. It’s a disaster for Disney.
Bullshit.
I saw “John Carter” tonight and I can tell you for certain, it ain’t a disaster.
To me a disaster is a film that fails on every level.  A disaster is a film that is so unwatchable that you feel like sandpapering your retinas from the inside. A disaster is a film so bad that you want to cock punch everyone involved. (Except for the women, of course.  You force them to get sex reassignment surgery then you cock punch them.)
“John Carter” is not that kind of a movie.
It’s a solid old school pulp adventure made by a world class filmmaker. Exciting without descending into editorial incoherence. Old fashioned without being square.  And if you’ve ever wanted to know how the “Star Wars” Prequels would have looked if George Lucas knew how to direct actors. this is as close as you’re ever going to get.
I was thrilled when I was supposed to be thrilled.  I laughed where it was appropriate to laugh. And I teared up at least twice. During the end and the battle/flashback scene. (You’ll know it when you see it.) And at the end of the day, I gave a shit about what was happening to the people on the screen.
And there’s is no whichwayinhell that you can call that a failure!
Hell, I don’t even think you can get away with the term “Noble Failure” because the Filmmakers did not fail.  They clearly made the movie they set out to make.  They did their jobs to the highest level of their abilities. And the fact that not enough people are seeing it to justify the expense should not be their problem.  Because the people who are seeing it are digging the shit out of it.
It’s two in the morning as I write this and I’m in no mood to get into a long harangue/debate about the corrupting influence that capitalism has on artistic endeavors.  And I’m sure as hell not going to get into Brook Barnes’ insanely condescending New York Times piece, “Ishtar’ lands on Mars”.  (Except for a moment to wonder out loud what draft of the script he read…if he read any drafts at all…that would lead him to call it “A bewildering mash-up”? The film I saw was a model of storytelling clarity.) I will however say this.
Somewhere in this world, there is a twelve year old kid (Boy or girl.) who will see “John Carter”.  And that kid will walk out of the theater with their soul on fire.  And they will pester their parents to buy them a video camera..
And twenty years later, they are going to make something that will blow our minds!
Nothing that can drive a child into the waiting arms of Mother Cinema can ever be called a failure.

EDIT: 3-17-12. Fixed a grammar and spacing error.

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About theragingcelt

Actor/Writer/Homegrown Pundit/Cranky Progressive/Sometimes Filmmaker. talesofthegeeknation.com
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6 Responses to “John Carter” and the misuse of “failure”.

  1. awesomefilm says:

    Unfortunately what studios consider a failure and what the consumer considers a failure are two very different things. John Carter may not be a failure on an artistic level or an entertainment one but it is a financial failure and that’s what the studios are interested in.

  2. chandlerswainreviews says:

    Bravo. I am so tired of hearing from all of the Internet populists about finances and film artistry as if one has anything to do with another, and as if all of a sudden opening box office is a clear indication of artistic worth. The blogger world has been too hypnotized by hype and marketing and infantile excitement over silly trailers and clearly still have much to learn about the cinema. It’s good to hear some common sense around here for a change.

  3. Thanks. And for what it’s worth, my DVD shelf is loaded with titles that didn’t do well on first release that are considered classic. “The Red Shoes”, “Brazil” “Blade Runner”, Etc…

  4. Pingback: Additions to the Blu-Ray library. | News from the Front

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