But What About the Book?

Coming this weekend is one of Hollywood’s biggest gambles of the year, Disney’s $250 million John Carter.

In today’s NYT, Charles McGrath, former editor of the Book Review, looks at the movie’s source material, A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, a book “filled with inconsistencies and plot threads that are never followed up.” It has nevertheless, stayed in print for decades.

McGrath defines its appeal as “a kind of cheerful boys’ adventure romanticism” and says that the very qualities that have “made it so transporting for generations of readers” are the ones that have made it “both tempting and daunting to filmmakers, who have struggled since the ’30s to come up with a version that will play to both young viewers and adults, newcomers and members of the cult.”

Many are waiting anxiously for the film’s opening this Friday, to see if the box office proves it to be the next Avatar or the next Ishtar.

To feed speculation, Disney released a new 10-minute trailer over the weekend (see our Upcoming Movies— with Tie-ins for the many re-releases of various versions of the book).

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