We’ve been pretty critical of Disney’s marketing campaign for John Carter thus far, which seemed to focus on nothing so much as drilling the name “John Carter” into our head, a strategy commenter The White Beaner summed up most succinctly:
John Carter marketing brainstorming session:
̶”̶F̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶O̶s̶c̶a̶r̶-̶w̶i̶n̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶d̶i̶r̶e̶c̶t̶o̶r̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶W̶a̶l̶l̶-̶E̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶F̶i̶n̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶N̶e̶m̶o̶”̶
̶”̶F̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶P̶u̶l̶i̶t̶z̶e̶r̶-̶p̶r̶i̶z̶e̶ ̶w̶i̶n̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶w̶r̶i̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶S̶p̶i̶d̶e̶r̶-̶M̶a̶n̶ ̶2̶”̶
̶”̶F̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶e̶l̶o̶v̶e̶d̶ ̶n̶o̶v̶e̶l̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶E̶d̶g̶a̶r̶ ̶R̶i̶c̶e̶ ̶B̶u̶r̶r̶o̶u̶g̶h̶s̶”̶
“Yes, that certainly is his name.”✔
Now Disney has released the first 10 minutes of the film online. I like this strategy because it generally says the studio’s confident in the product. It’s the opposite of not screening a film for critics, which they only do when they know a movie sucks. That said, having watched the first 10 minutes, I’m still getting nothing out of this movie. It’s got the move where John Carter’s commanding officer (played by Bryan Cranston — that part is cool) shows up to helpfully read us his resume (“YOU’VE BEEN PROMOTED FASTER THAN ANYONE IN THE HISTORY OF THE NAVY! YOU SCORED IN THE 98TH PERCENTILE IN PROTECTIVE INSTINCTS! YOU’RE JOHNNY UTAH, YOU BLEW OUT YOUR KNEE IN THE ROSE BOWL!”). Then the cavalry fights with the Apaches before the aliens come, and gold is somehow involved. I know this was based on Edgar Rice Burroughs books as old as the Titanic, but wasn’t that the exact plot of Cowboys and Aliens? I hope a giant spider shows up in the next act, because otherwise this looks pretty boring.