A Trip to Mars
Date: Mar 10th, 2012 2:35:08 pm - Subscribe
Mood: adventurous

I'm going to see the John Carter movie this afternoon. I can tell by the trailers that they've taken some liberties with the story, but Ken St. Andre saw it and gave it the thumbs up, so it sounds like they didn't bungle it. Obviously it's going to be bowdlerized. This is a Disney film after all; plus Phlegethon will freeze over before Hollywood makes a blockbuster with an all nude cast.

I'm actually kind of surprised it took so long to bring Barsoom to the silver screen. Disney had done some test shots for an animated Barsoom film back in the 30's. Then there was that big ERB revival back in they late '60's and early '70's. Lin Carter had not only helped popularized REH's Conan but he also did his best to keep ERB's works alive. In addition to his Thongor novels, which were an homage to both writers, he even helped to fill out ERB's swashbuckling solar system.

This had actually started with an early ERB imitator, Otis Adelbert Kline, who beginning with his novel The Planet of Peril (1929) did for Venus what the former had done for Mars. Then Ray Cummings took a turn peopling another planet with his two 1930's novels about Tama, the princess of Mercury. With the inner planets filled up it was time to move on to the gas giants. The trail was blazed by Manley Wade Wellman in his Sojarr of Titan (1941), an homage to both John Carter and Tarzan. Mike Resnick followed suit with his tribute, The Goddess of Ganymede (1968) and it's sequel, while Lin Carter contributed his Jandar of Callisto series about a Vietnam grunt transported to a far out moon.

Given all of these planets brimming with swordsmen (not to mention more direct pastiches such as Leigh Brackett's Eric John Stark series and Michael Moorcock's Kane of Old Mars novels) it's a wonder a movie like this wasn't made years ago. Especially with that huge revival in the seventies. That was when Ralph Bakshi was doing his Lord of the Rings movies. Can you imagine if he had done an animated Barsoom movie? It would've been mind blowing. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to settle for this kid safe (i.e., merchandise friendly) Disney version.
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