Saturday, March 8, 2008

Pixar's turn at John Carter from Mars

I have read a couple accounts of how Pixar might be bringing this Edgar Rice Burroughs classic Science Fiction series to the silver screen. For those that don’t know, the John Carter character was a Civil War era soldier transported to Mars. As Mars’ gravity is less than Earth’s, John ends up with super-human strength. He then goes on to adventure after adventure fighting martians and helping the Princess. When I say might, I mean I have not seen any articles that have been dated past 10/10/2007. Suite101 reported;

The rumors are true. After becoming the top name in family-oriented CGI animated films, Pixar has announced that they are adapting the John Carter of Mars series for the silver screen.”

That’s great news, until I read on how this has been tried many times. In 1936 this was to be the first feature length animated movie, but as we know that honor went to Walt Disney and his Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They even had Burroughs on board to consult on the project. It appears MGM did not want to be so serious and they canned the project. The second attempt was when stop-motion animation legend Ray Harryhausen attempted to spearhead a live action version of the book on the heels of his success with 7th Voyage of Sinbad in the late 50's. This however quickly became overwhelming in scale so much that this attempt had to be stopped. In the 1970’s, when Bob Clampett , who had worked with MGM on the 30’s version, took the clips they had animated on a College and University speaking tour. This was incredible work for the era. Time and again we hear in the Disney animation world how hard it is to animate the human form. Based on these clips it looks like Bob and his crew were well on their way to doing a good job.With this tour, there was a lot of new interest, but no film.

The eight legged horse looks a lot like an animal that might have appeared in the Animated Rock'n Roll feature Heavy Metal. Here is another site I found. Take a look at the concept art work created at about the same time Design Conepts . The next attempt to take this to the big screen was in the 1980’s with the Disney Company Touchstone talking about creating a live-action movie. The director connected to this try was John Mctiernan of Die Hard and Predator fame. There was also roles in this version offered to Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts. Rising costs would shelve this project again. The next time this story was proposed for a movie was in 2005. The director for this go around would have been John Favreau. That also fell thru and left the way open for Disney/Pixar to buy the rights. So now it looks like its Pixar’s turn. The reports I have read say that this would be a combination of real life/animation. There was also a comment about how this would be Pixar’s first film taken from an existing work of literature. I look forward to seeing this come to fruition. But we’ll see. has this listed as a 2009 release. A couple of other sources claim 2010 and 2012. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I could not find any information past 10/10/2007. So I will keep my eyes open for further updates.

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