Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Review - John Carter and The Gods of Hollywood

John Carter and the Gods of HollywoodJohn Carter and the Gods of Hollywood by Michael D. Sellers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read the wonderful series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs about John Carter of Mars (which he wrote before he got round to Tarzan of the Apes) when I was a small boy. They occupied my father's bookshelves which I was devouring at the age of 10 or so. My brother still remembers me excitedly telling him how great the books were and he became a fan too - and still is.

John Carter first arrived in print 100 years ago but Burrough's imagination was so stupendous that film-makers have felt unable, until the arrival of the digital age, to bring the books to the screen - although this has not prevented the extensive strip-mining of the books for such cinematic efforts as Flash Gordon, Star Wars and Avatar, all of which were heavily influenced by John Carter.

John Carter fans, who were legion, because these books dominated the paperback market for decades and are regarded as the basis for the whole science fiction market, have waited patiently all this time for a film company to be a) capable and b) willing, to put John Carter into the cinemas.

So imagine our excitement when, a very few years ago, we heard that Disney (?) had decided to do just that. And imagine our disappointment as it became obvious before the film came out that, despite spending $250 Million in production, Disney seemed to have no interest in promoting the film or supporting it in any way. Imagine our amazement when we saw the film in the cinemas (in my case both the 2-D and 3-0 versions - 2-D best in this case) and found it to be excellent, if not perfect, only to find that Disney publicly wrote off the film (after 11 days!) before it had even reached some of its major markets and while it was still in its first run at major cinemas - would you go to see a film which the manufacturing company had publicly labelled a flop? Despite all this the film brought in $300 million worldwide and when it came out on DVD it immediately headed the ratings.

But Disney have no interest in producing what should have been a trilogy because they have in the meantime bought the Star Wars franchise, which would be compromised by having the story which it copies coming out of the same company at the same time.

This very detailed book by Michael D Sellers, who is not only an author but a film producer himself as well as, interestingly, an ex-CIA operative, explains all the unfortunate political decisions and sheer incompetence, especially on the marketing front, which led to this long-awaited film being so publicly branded as no good, despite the fact that it is quite excellent. It also reveals the strong fan-based movement keeping alive the idea that it should be turned into a trilogy, and why the trilogy would indeed make money.

I commend this book to readers

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pope Resigns - New Pope Waiting In The Wings

I am indebted to a friend for sending me this first picture of the new Pope. I suppose it was inevitable really.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Images of New Zealand

Click on any picture to see a gallery of enlargements.
Doubtful Sound
Afloat on Doubtful Sound
Lake Pukaki
Beach Sculpture - Hokitika
Beach Sculpture - Hokitika