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Old July 7th, 2012, 02:48 AM   #1
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A terrible trailer almost made me miss a very good movie

As a teenager, I read a number of Edgar Rice Burrough's books - both Martian stories and Tarzan. So, when I heard a year or so ago that a John Carter movie was being made, I thought I'd definitely check it out.

A couple of months later, a terrible thing happened. I saw the trailer for the movie.

Yuck. I thought, "No way am I going to watch this movie. It looks like it totally blows." And my wife and daughters said pretty much the same thing.

And, for a big-budget, studio movie, John Carter of Mars did relatively poorly at the US box-office. About $70 million, I think. Anything less than $100 million these days for a "big" movie does not seem to be considered successful.

So, instead of launching a franchise (and there were a lot of these later novels which could be filmed), it seems to have sunk it. Especially if the rumoured $250 million budget reported in IMDB was anywhere near accurate.

It's just been released in Australia on Blu-ray so, feeling a bit nostalgic for the novels, I decided to watch it and see if it was as bad as it looked to me in the trailer.

I found it to be a very well-crafted and very entertaining movie. It did not deserve the fate that befell it, in my opinion.

I thought the script was first-rate. Adapting a novel is always tricky, but the changes made sense in the emotional context of the movie and kept it to a reasonable running time. I checked on IMDB and the writer-director wrote most of Pixar's hit movies, so he's a quality writer and filmmaker (and an Oscar-winner). The cast did a very good job, as did every other department of the movie. Top-notch work all around.

(I do acknowledge, however, that different people have different tastes and that someone else might post how much they liked the trailer and that they didn't like the script at all.)

So why was it a relative flop? I tend to lay the blame at the feet of the marketing department. Fancy putting out such a disappointing and off-putting trailer. Astonishing, really.

I wonder what other good movies have been put out with bad trailers that hurt their chances of being more broadly seen? There might be some other good movies that I've missed out on!
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Old July 9th, 2012, 07:03 AM   #2
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Re: A terrible trailer almost made me miss a very good movie

I watch that movie second day it was released and I have to say I liked it better than Prometheus, sadly, but it is better made movie
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Old July 9th, 2012, 03:38 PM   #3
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Re: A terrible trailer almost made me miss a very good movie

I remember thinking Lord of War with Nick Cage was a screwball comedy about Cage hiding his job as a weapons dealer from his unknowing wife. Very much not.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 06:22 PM   #4
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Re: A terrible trailer almost made me miss a very good movie

I passed on seeing the movie also. Being a big Edgar Rice Burrough's fan I expected a lot and the trailers did not deliver. I guess I might give it a chance on netflix.
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Old July 10th, 2012, 11:14 PM   #5
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Re: A terrible trailer almost made me miss a very good movie

I too dodged the movie on the trailer's strength or lack thereof, along with the critique reviews I happened upon. On getting the DVD out, I found that the tone of the story was faithful to the sense I had derived from Rice Burrough's books when I was a much, much younger.

For today's modern audiences, not so much wrinklies like me, the Mars habitability thing is too much of an implausability gap. I think I might have been tempted to drop the Mars reference altogether and leave it a bit enigmatic until closer to the end but that's me.

It was probably made some 30 years too late for its own good. If it had been released at time of Star Wars, it would probably have been a killer movie.
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