Monday, December 17, 2012
The biggest buzz in movie news these days is the release of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The film slammed the box office this weekend, dominating in a way that even its predecessors in the Lord of the Rings trilogy did not. The film pulled in nearly $223 million at the box office its opening weekend, and that was with a traditional Friday opening rather than the oh-so-trendy "Wednesday opening to pad the numbers" tactic.
The movie is news for several reasons. The obvious, of course, is that it's the long-awaited completion of the story of the Baggins clan as written by J.R.R. Tolkien, an adaptation of the prelude (not prequel, for this book was in fact written first) to the longer, epic Lord of the Rings. The second is Jackson's decision to shoot the film in 48 fps "High Frame Rate" (or HFR) format. For around 100 years now, films have been shot in 24 frames per second; the argument in favor of HFR is that the faster frame rate reduces motion blur and strobing, thus clarifying images, especially in 3D, and that it gives a "hyper-realistic" look to the movie. I'll look at whether that succeeds in my "The Ugly" section, below. For now, suffice it to say many directors are closely watching the reaction to this audacious experiment, with such luminaries as James Cameron coming out in favor of the format and expressing potential plans to use it in the future.
Finally, Jackson's (late) decision to split what was originally two films into a trilogy, ostensibly to fit more material from the appendices of Lord of the Rings into the overall narrative has created some controversy surrounding the film, with some claiming it's nothing but hubris on Jackson's part, or a cheap money grab by New Line. Now I can't argue that money had something to do with it--New Line is, after all, a business and in order to stay solvent, they kind of have to make money (that's the point of being a business, more's the pity for fanbois who froth at the mouth over the idea of *gasp* profit). However, I do firmly believe that Jackson is trying to tell the best, grandest story he can, and adapt as much of the source material as possible. I also have faith that he'll do it well.
So, how does the Hobbit live up to the earlier films in the series? Spectacular, I say, and in my opinion it's only blinded, overly-jaded film critics with their fingers far from the pulse of the community (which pretty much applies to all film critics) and whiny, spoiled textual literalist fanbois who will dislike this film. And yes, I abhor textual literalists and fanbois with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, so if you're insulted by that, well, too bad.
As for critics, well, once again we've proven they as a group are pompous academics with no clue what audiences want or appreciate, with a major disconnect in ratings on Rotten Tomatoes (65% fresh for critics, 81% fresh for actual audiences).
This movie easily stands up to the other films in the series, though the tone is somewhat different, because we're in a different era, sixty years earlier in the Third Age. At this point in time, Middle Earth is at peace. There have not yet been whisperings of the Return of the Shadow and most races live in relative harmony. The orcs and goblins have been driven underground, and evil does not plague the world.
The pacing in the film is, despite some critics' claims to the contrary, excellent. It does not drag, and even the exposition scenes are well-performed and contain interesting dialogue that moves the scenes forward. There is plenty of action to go around, and a good juxtaposition of the good humor of a band of merry adventurers with the rising threat of a roving pack of orcs that have ventured into the West, and the appearance of a Necromancer in the forest of Mirkwood.
The performances are uniformly excellent and it's refreshing to see the return of Sir Ian McKellan, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchet, Christopher Lee, and of course, Andy Serkis playing very different versions of their Lord of the Rings characters--remember, this is a time of peace and hope, before Saruman has betrayed the Free Folk (though there are indications of his early slide herein). It's nice to see Elrond smiling and hopeful, and Galadriel with an ethereal and mischievous smirk on her face, far different than the semi-threatening and unreachable figure we got in The Fellowship of the Ring. These are elves the way I pictured them when I read the books, and I very much enjoyed the performances. Andy Serkis steals the show as Gollum, as one might expect, and slides back into the role he originated eleven years ago, as though no time at all has passed.
The new characters are equally impressive--Martin Freeman's Bilbo is well-rendered as a simple country gentleman who is in way over his head but gradually is learning that there's far more to him than even he knew. Richard Armitage's Thorin possesses all of the dignity, wounded pride, and anger that his character needs, and while we did not get to know all thirteen dwarves individually in this film, those that we did get to meet are very well differentiated in terms of attitude and personality. Sylvester McCoy (of Doctor Who fame) holds his own as Radagast the Brown, even when sharing the screen with McKellan.
I have very little to criticize regarding the direction, writing, or acting in this film. Perhaps the biggest criticism I can make is in regards to the disconnect between the "new" material adapted from the appendices, and the direct adaptation of the base source material from The Hobbit. The reason for this is that the LotR appendices don't contain (obviously) as much detail as the novels, and instead include sketches of events that occurred to bridge the two stories. In adapting these sketches, Jackson was forced to fill in a lot of blanks--something to which many textual literalists take great umbrage. It does result in a slight disconnect between the new sequences, written in the voice of Walsh, Boyens, and Jackson, and those sequences adapted from Tolkien's actual voice. That is to say, the script writers' original dialogue has a different tone than that taken from Tolkien. While they screenwriters do an excellent job of creating a pastiche of Tolkien's voice, the mimicry is not perfect and can be somewhat jarring at times. Part of this is due to the dialogue style, and part of it is the often-forced relocation of Appendix scenes into the greater storyline of the film--the meeting between Radagast and Gandalf, for example, does not take place in the company of the dwarves in the text, but Jackson has moved it there in the film, for pacing and plotting reasons. It works well; it can simply be a bit jarring at times.
Also of irritation to me is Jackson's continuing association of pipe weed with, well, weed. This is not something Prof. Tolkien ever intended--indeed, he is very explicit in Lord of the Rings that pipe weed is "a variety of tobaciana," that is, tobacco. The hobbits mix and smoke custom tobacco blends, something any pipe connoisseur or habitual pipe smoker (such as myself) can tell you is an art form unto itself. Sometime in the 60's the hippie movement latched on to the term "weed," and we got stuck with the association ever since. There are two rather unnecessary drug references in the film, and that rankled me a little.
Next: the CGI. I'm an unabashed fan of practical effects. CGI almost never looks better than practical effects, if the latter are feasible--for example, Smaug would look awful done with practical effects on the budget any film has. But Orcs? there was no excuse for doing Azog and the Great Goblin entirely CGI. They looked CGI, which is a shame in contrast to the stark realism of Gollum. Jackson made a huge mistake deciding to use so much CGI for the goblins and orcs in this film.
Finally, there is a scene near the end which I will not detail for the sake of avoiding spoilers, during which Bilbo performs an action that I felt was far out of character for him, but in the end it worked for the overall storyline, so that's a nitpick.
I'm putting this in its own section as there's a lot of controversy over it, so while I am a fan of what they did, many would consider it "Bad," rather than "Good."
Jackson leaps right into the inclusion of the LotR appendices into the story of the Hobbit, with varying degrees of artistic license. Thus, we get to see the White Council (moved here to Rivendell during the period the dwarves are visiting) and Radagast's encounter with the Necromancer and his meeting with Gandalf (moved also, to the midst of the dwarves' travels). In addition, we are given an enemy for Thorin--the albino orc known as Azog the Defiler, who is hinted at in the appendices (which imply that the orcs in the Hobbit have a specific grudge against these dwarves) but never fully detailed. Many are complaining that the added material does not further the story, but I would point out that we're only a third of the way in, and it's very premature to make such claims. Personally, I thought the "new" additions were well-executed and blended nicely with the overall story. Nothing felt extraneous to me, and I am pleased to say that nothing in my memory was actually removed from the story--the adaptation is quite faithful to the text overall, and the actual alterations to specific events are minor, with the possible exception of Radagast's involvement with the dwarves.
In the end, I didn't feel these elements were added to "pad" the story for financial gain, but out of a desire for Jackson to adapt as much of the source material that he had license to adapt. Also, kudos to him for not inventing names for the Blue Wizards.
The aesthetics of the film are something of a mixed bag. I went to see it in the controversial High Frame Rate 3D presentation. It was, I will say, quite pleasant to see Middle Earth rendered on screen again, and it all looks wonderfully consistent with the Middle Earth in the earlier trilogy--nothing was changed or "updated," and the consistency is appreciated. When one gets something right the first time around, there's no need to fix it, and Jackson realized this. The Shire is still the Shire, and Imladris is still Imladris. It was easy to get swept back up into the grandeur of Middle Earth.
As for the HFR presentation--I think this has to be regarded as a failed experiment, at this time anyway. I don't see the technology being up to snuff for the presentation. This is not to say it was awful--I just think that while it didn't take anything away from the film, really, it also didn't add anything. It also, to our sensibilities, looks somewhat cheap, which is ironic since it cost Jackson double the film to make. The problem, I think, is that in looking so hyper-realistic, it breaks the illusion and thus ends up paradoxically looking a little fake. It also creates an illusion of characters moving in fast-motion because we are not used to watching characters on film move at real-time speed; 24fps creates a tiny bit of strobe and a slight slowing-down of action, whereas 48fps is so smooth and real-time that when someone moves at normal speed we are subjected to an illusion of them moving really fast.
It does, however, achieve its goal of reducing eye strain in 3D. A friend of mine who gets violent headaches at 3D films did not have a headache or even sore eyes at the end of this film. So that's a plus.
The use of 3D itself in this film is very subtle--there's not a lot of "things being thrown at the audience from the screen." It's just used mostly to provide depth perception, and when it works, it works well. I think as much as I enjoy it when it's done well, 3D is about played out. Either it's a gimmick, now, which everyone hates, or it's just used to provide subtle depth perception, which while pretty, isn't necessary to enhance one's enjoyment of a film.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is an outstanding first entry into the prequel (prelude) trilogy to Lord of the Rings. It is well-paced, excellently acted and directed, and the visuals are consistent with the Middle Earth we all have come to know and love. The Appendix elements are skillfully worked into the overall narrative to give us a nice linking story to the darkness that is to come, and I am looking forward to future installments. On the down-side, a disconnect in the fleshing out of sketchy appendix elements combined with the somewhat cheap (but expensive) looking high frame rate can be distracting and create a disconnect from the overall illusion.
Final Rating: Four out of five kernels.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
So last night my wife Julie was working late and I decided to go to the movies by myself, which I do on occasion - I rather enjoy the experience. I went to see Cloud Atlas, and I absolutely had to write something about it.
Cloud Atlas was written and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer. It was adapted from the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell and stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, James D'Arcy, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, and a veritable who's who of other character actors in a stellar ensemble cast. It is, at a budget of over 100 million dollars, one of the most expensive independent films ever made.
I am not exaggerating when I say I think this was one of the greatest films I've ever seen. Certainly some of the connections between the characters' lives over the ages were a bit tenuous, but it's rare that a movie really affects me and I walk out of the theater feeling changed. This movie did that for me. It took me from confused to horrified to joyous to awed to overwhelmingly hopeful and contented, and back. I really, really want to read the book, now.
If you're just looking for explosions, one-liners, body counts and action in your movies, if you don't like to think and you don't like drama in your sci-fi, if you just want a popcorn movie, don't go. You'll hate it. But if you like movies that are really going to make you think, if you like intricately drawn plots with threads upon threads intertwining until the end, when you just let out a long sigh, this is the film for you. Outstanding. It's a shame it's not going to last because the marketing for it was so piss-poor.
Also, if you're a Blade Runner fan you should see this because there are a lot of not-so-subtle hints that parts of this are the future of the Blade Runner universe (people escaping a global catastrophe by fleeing to off-world colonies, genetically engineered "fabricants" serving the needs of "pureblood" humans, etc.)
So what is this film? Is it drama? Comedy? Where does it fit? Technically, I suppose, it's science fiction or science fantasy. It ranges from very hard-realistic historical dramas set in the 1860's and 1930's through a gritty corporate espionage story in the 70's, to a farcical 2012 story, to a very cyberpunk (see Blade Runner, above) tale set in the 22nd century, to a post apocalyptic future set decades "After the Fall," which is implied to be a nuclear war, presumably as the ultimate outcome of the cyberpunk storyline ("Fall" = "Fallout": they mention Halle Berry's character taking on too much radiation at one point).
The film consists of six stories, all inter-related and intertwined, with the same souls playing out different parts in this overall story in various past and future lives. Each soul goes on its own centuries-long quest which is unique to the character - One character, for example, goes gradually, life-to-life, from a vile murderer to a hero. Each actor plays their soul throughout all of the lives presented, which does require a bit of suspension of disbelief in some cases - see my comment about the supposed racism that's not really there, below. The film is masterfully written, superbly acted, and wonderfully complex. At the conclusion of the film, I really, truly felt hopeful and uplifted about the future, even as dark as things got near the film's climax. I felt like there's a chance for everyone, no matter who or what they are. That chance may not happen in this life, but in the future, no one can say. We're all on a journey, and it's the journey that is as important as the conclusion or destination. That's what I took away from this film. Not the most original message, I'll grant, but masterfully delivered in this context.
A Note about Accusations of Racism
I have noted that some people have accused the film of being racist because it has white actors in makeup portraying Asians in the futuristic scenes, but I would argue there's nothing racist about it - in the overall context of the film it's important to recycle actors to make it clear these are the same souls, and I also noted nobody is calling racist or sexist for having Susan Sarandon playing a man in one life, Hugo Weaving playing a woman in another, Halle Berry playing a blonde-haired, blue-eyed German woman in 1936, Bae Doona playing a red-headed Irish girl in the 19th century...it goes on and on. That doesn't even take into account the assumption that it's more than possible that what we're seeing in the future, given the implied setting, are a lot of mixed-race people.
Such reactions are ludicrous and all-too-common these days where we're all so damned eager to find something - anything - to be offended and outraged about. Cloud Atlas is a beautiful film, and I think anyone who loves philosophy and wants to be uplifted with a movie that's far deeper than its surface visuals (which are unto themselves stunning) is cheating themselves for not seeing it.
Rating: I give it 5 out of 5 kernels.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Why? There are several reasons. Firstly, I have only 13 followers here. Word of mouth never took off to get me enough followers to make it worth continuing on.
Second, movie-going enough to maintain a film review blog is beyond expensive. I just don't have the funds to pursue it. I'd need to have people send me to the movies to review films they want me to review, which would require donations from followers, which, see "only 13 followers," above.
Finally, a lot of times after I do go to see a movie, I just don't sit down to write the requisite review, which is my fault, but if it's not going to get done, well, there you have it.
I'm sorry to those of you who enjoy the blog. I'd like to continue it, but I just don't have the cash combined with the time and energy to be an independent film reviewer. I'll leave the reviews I have written up, and maybe from time to time I'll post something film-related here. If the day ever comes when I can support it, then we shall see.
Until then, it's been an interesting experiment even if it showed me that there's not enough interest in MY thoughts on movies to continue the pursuit.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
That's all changing. I am at a new job now, and so far it's going great. It was a major step up, a lot of really nice people, but a lot to learn and a ton of new responsibility. As such, I'm much happier, but I'm also tired a lot from all the learning. Still, the positive outlook gives me more energy to spare, and just in time, as I've got some new projects coming to fruition to which I need to devote time and energy.
What this means is, I'm really hoping to kick my blogging back up soon. So I appreciate everyone that's stuck around through the darkness, and keep your eyes peeled; hopefully I'll have some good new stuff coming soon on all of my blogs.
Monday, June 11, 2012
It's been a whopping thirty-three years since Dan O'Bannon and Ridley Scott gave us a seminal film in both the science fiction and horror genres: the classic (some say masterpiece) Alien. The film was not only a commercial success, but has gone on to near universal accolades, including a laundry list of award nominations and wins in 1979. Wins include the 1979 Oscar for visual effects, and a nod for art direction. It won Saturn Awards for best sci-fi film, best director, supporting actress, and got a nod for Sigourney Weaver. It also was nominated for best makeup, special effects, and writing. I could go on--there were nominations for the BAFTAs, Hugo Awards, Golden Globes and on and on and on.
The film spawned three sequels and two spin-offs with "Sister" franchise, Predator. In general, and with the arguable exception of Aliens, the sequels are all considered generally inferior to the original. Aliens is an interesting case, in that it smartly took an entirely different approach to the subject matter, delivering a film that was gruesome, hard-hitting, and action-packed in addition to horror. It was, in many ways, the forerunner of modern survival horror films and can draw lines to the 2003 remake of Dawn of the Dead, amongst other things.
Alien, however, was purely a psychological horror film. It was a movie with a loping pace, a slow burn at both ends that delivered a few climactic and shocking payoffs. It's a film about how when we go too boldly into the unknown, we not only sometimes get bit, but eaten alive. It's about a technician on a commercial mining ship who finds her inner toughness and becomes one of the greatest sci-fi heroines of all time. It's about the struggle between civilization and the primordial chaos at the heart of everything. It's quite literally mythic in scope.
Now, three decades later, Ridley Scott has chosen to revisit this bleak landscape, and tell another story that is equally mythic, and even moreso when one considers the questions he asks (some of which he quite deliberately fails to answer). Despite his admonishments that the film stands on its own, one's understanding and appreciation for the movie is certainly enhanced by having seen its cinematic predecessor, and given that it in some way tells the story of the mysterious derelict alien pilot that the Nostromo's crew finds with its chest exploded, it is indeed a full-on prequel.
So, did I like it? Yes, I did. However, this is absolutely not a film that's for everyone, and Fox's marketing campaign for the movie actually hurts it in the long run, rather than helps it.
So, let's get to the nitty-gritty: the good, the bad, and the ugly of Ridley Scott's Prometheus.
Most of you by now have figured out that I tend to like a lot of movies--it's tough to get a bad review from me. That's largely because I tend to be pretty good at picking flicks I know I'm going to like. No doubt if I were getting paid to do this, and going to see all the new releases every weekend, I'd have a lot more negative reviews. That being said, I found a lot to like in Prometheus. This will be an interesting review, because you'll see me spin a lot of the same points I make as Good in the Bad section as well. We'll get to that in a minute.
First up are the characters. I found most of the main characters (not all, but most) to be wonderfully nuanced and complex. They all had intriguing motivations for being there, and for doing the things they did. Even the bad guys in this film weren't really bad guys. For example, if you've seen the original Alien you know that robots are trouble. The android David in this movie is no exception; he causes no end of disaster, but instead of it being because he was ordered to make "all other concerns secondary," it's because he's amoral and insufferably curious. The line seen in the trailer where he looks at his finger and whispers, "Big things have small beginnings" is wonderfully creepy, as is a rather unsettling conversation he has with one of the characters about who made whom and why. David is a character who wants to know who he is, and he doesn't have the moralistic compunctions of humans to stop him in his quest for answers.
Our main character, the Ripley-esque heroine Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, is both an anthropologist and a devout Christian. When someone suggests that if aliens engineered humans, that means God doesn't exist, she simply responds, "Who made them?" Shaw is insatiably curious, indelibly heroic, and she's got a set of brass balls the size of Texas, if you'll excuse the colloquialism. She is eminently likeable, even in her folly.
One of the most interesting characters, to my mind, is Charlize Theron's Meredith Vickers. She's the corporate suit in charge of the expedition, and if you've seen Aliens, you know that Weyland Corp executives are trouble. However, unlike Paul Reiser's character in Aliens, Vickers is not just a two-dimensional sleaze ball. She's definitely a dark character, and something of a villain, one who will inevitably choose herself over others, but she's wonderfully nuanced and this is in no small part due to the fact that Theron is an outstanding actress.
Beyond the actors, there is the storyline. This is definitely a classic hard sci-fi storyline; it's not space opera and there are not dogfights and explosions in space (well, there is a somewhat massive explosion at one point, but I'll avoid spoilers). No, this explores the classic themes that good science fiction is supposed to explore--the nature of humankind. Who are we? Why are we here? Who is God and can we find him out there somewhere? And finally, the big question: do we deserve to live? The film is extremely ambitious for the themes it tries to explore, and to a large degree it succeeds. Much like its predecessor, it is a slow burn that builds suspense until some of those questions are answered in shocking ways.
However, I have a degree in religious studies and I get off on those kinds of things. Not everyone will appreciate or enjoy what Scott is trying to do.
Many of the things I found to be good about the film, others will (and have) dislike intensely. This is particularly evident in the pacing of the film. While I found it to be deliberate and suspenseful, others will absolutely see it as simply slow paced and boring. I have made comments online that this is because we live in a society where everyone gets their information instantly at light speed in 140-character chunks, and I stand by that. However, Fox's marketing campaign does not help this at all. The trailer for this film is rapid-fire. It's fast-paced and heart-pounding and makes it seem like it will be a pulse-pounder thriller rather than a philosophical and psychological horror film. It's really no wonder that many are going to see it expecting Aliens more than Alien, and given that the mini-review I posted on facebook may have seemed rather harsh towards those who didn't enjoy the film, I should offer apologies and qualify that it wasn't intended to be so but was (alas) written at lightning speed after I'd seen one too many complaints about how badly the film sucked.
Back to the review, however. So the film is paced very deliberately and for those wanting a more pulse-pounding thriller, it just isn't there. I'm going to mark it down for the poor advertising that presented the film as something quite different than it actually was. That I knew what to expect was more a factor of me having followed this film closely from inception to release, and not at all because of the marketing.
Next, the characters. I said earlier that many of the characters are wonderfully nuanced. Unfortunately, this isn't true of all of them. There are two scientists aboard the Prometheus, a geologist and a biologist, who appear to be there for no reason other than to be victims in the Rosencrantz and Gildenstern mold. Indeed, we have a biologist who encounters a dead alien body of the sort nobody has ever seen...and turns around and runs back to the ship. Yet later, when a living (and rather frightening-looking) critter rears up threateningly in front of him, he admonishes it as "cute" and tries to touch it. Again, avoiding spoilers I won't tell you how that plays out, but it's an incredibly paradoxical approach to a character with no depth whatsoever. His geologist compatriot is apparently distinguished purely by his mohawk and Scots accent, and really adds nothing whatsoever to the plot. These characters were hackneyed to the extreme.
Finally, story elements. Some folks will no doubt find it exceptionally irritating that many of the philosophical questions put forth (with promised answers) are not only not answered, but are quite deliberately left unanswered, and the film is patently set up for a sequel. Some just won't care about the philosophical questions at all, and it's questionable whether or not the marketing campaign makes it clear how important said questions are to the overall story. Indeed, there are so many questions raised to ponder that a 2-hour film simply can't do them all justice. Some are simply sidelined after being posited once or twice; others are explored, but only half-heartedly. It would be interesting to see a director's cut of the film but one wonders just how long it would have to be to properly explore all of the territory that it opens up.
Fortunately, it's very pretty to look at.
Visually, as one would expect of a Scott production, this film is breathtaking and arresting. The special effects are well in keeping stylistically with the original Alien, but easily accessible to (and taken up a notch for) 21st-century audiences. Everything from the cryo-pods to the ships themselves are gorgeous, as are the bleak alien landscapes. I was completely blown away by the opening sequence of the film and desperately want to know where on Earth it was shot (if indeed it was shot on location) because those waterfalls are amazing.
If you have ever seen a Ridley Scott film, it's no surprise for me to tell you that the set design and visuals are just out of this world (no pun intended); if you haven't and you just want to see a film for its visual beauty, this is a film to see.
I will say that the 3D was largely unnecessary in this film. While it's used to great effect for things like holographic displays and viewscreens (one particular scene with David took my breath away) overall it doesn't add a thing to the movie and I get the sense that like far too many films these days, it was done at the insistence of a studio who demanded 3D for the sake of 3D. Ridley Scott likely put all of his 3D budget into a few shots that he thought would be worthwhile, and didn't worry too much about it elsewhere. So if you missed this flick in 3D...don't worry about it; you're not missing much.
Aside from the 3D, I've nothing bad to say about the visuals. They're crisp, clear, and even in the most chaotic scenes are easy to follow. Ridley Scott is a master director, there's not even an argument about that, and it shows.
Conclusion and Rating
Prometheus is a visually stunning potboiler with a very slow burn and shocking payoffs that is a worthy successor (or predecessor, as it were) to Aliens. Future outings, if the box office warrants, have great promise. However, the film is not for everyone, and a poor marketing campaign that promised a high action thriller has many people being disappointed with the gradual build of the actual film. Characters are an even split between nuanced and interesting, and dull and insipid. The film asks some great questions, but tries to tackle way too much for one film to effectively handle.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 kernels.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The following is an open letter to Rich Ross, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, regarding John Carter. It is a sincere request for Disney senior management to address in a public and meaningful way the many questions that remain unanswered concerning Disney’s handling of the the marketing and release of John Carter. Readers are invited to use the comment function to ask their own questions and leave comments....
The excerpt above is the beginning of the linked article, and is well worth a read for any among us who are flabbergasted at the apparent abject failure of John Carter in the theater, given just how well-done the film was. There's no reason nor excuse for this to have not been one of the biggest film events of the year (Hunger Games and Avengers notwithstanding), and it's pretty much a foregone conclusion (all but universally accepted) at this point that Disney's piss-poor marketing of the film is at fault for the box office flop.