Edgar Rice Burroughs' trippy 1917 pulp A Princess of Mars is one of the defining works of sci-fi—those who claimed Avatar ripped off Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves failed to see that who Cameron was really shamelessly swiping from was Burroughs—which means it was only a matter of time until somebody turned it into a 3D blockbuster.
Disney's putting out their take on A Princess of Mars—which at first was retitled John Carter of Mars, then shortened to the utterly generic John Carter—next summer, and the pedigree of those behind the project couldn't be more impressive: Andrew Stanton, the director of Pixar's Finding Nemo and Wall-E, and Michael Chabon, the writer of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Wonder Boys and The Yiddish Policemen's Union. Burroughs' original book aside, anything that brings together Stanton and Chabon is pretty goddamn intriguing in my book. And the just-released trailer's an interesting one, too, in no small part because it features Peter Gabriel covering Arcade Fire.
I'm curious to see how this shakes out: Stanton, Chabon, and a sci-fi classic, with Disney's resources to to make it happen? Could be amazing. Or it might never be able to get past what I'm guessing will be the general public perception, which is that it's an Avatar rip-off.
Here's my real question, though: On Tuesday night, Disney help a semi-secret test screening of John Carter in Vancouver, with Chabon in attendance for a super-early showing of the film that, by all accounts, in incredibly rough and early shape: animatics, storyboards, greenscreen, aliens that hadn't been turned into aliens yet, etc. Even though press is supposedly barred from those sort of screenings, I thought about trying to sneak in before Mercury deadlines made it an impossibility. But if you went, drop a line or two in the comments. I'm curious how this one's shaping up, even at this early stage.