The film comes into focus as ‘John Carter’ gets a new trailer and poster

It’s no fun when a campaign simply isn’t working for me.

Especially when the film in question comes from a director I’m very intrigued by, features a cast that has real potential, and is based on a property I’ve loved since childhood.  “John Carter” should be a film that has me on the hook from day one, a film I can’t wait to see.  At this point in the campaign, with the film coming out in March, I should be frothing at the mouth, ready to go, dying to see how the whole thing comes together.

I’m curious, certainly, but this week’s launch of the new poster and the new trailer have left me just as cautious as I’ve been each step of the way so far.  I think I just don’t get the hook of this campaign, and that’s totally removed from what I know about the film or the original Edgar Rice Burroughs books about a Civil War veteran who ends up embroiled in a new conflict on Mars or the various behind-the-scenes goings-on for this one.  Just looking at the trailers and the posters, I’m interested in a “there are aliens and spaceships so I’ll be there” sort of way, but not in a specific “you’ve got me” sort of way yet.  Carter himself is so bland in these materials that it seems odd to have the film be named after him when he’s the least dynamic thing we’re seeing in the materials.

Don’t get me wrong… I think campaigns and movies are separate beasts.  I’ve seen many great campaigns for movies I didn’t like, and I’ve seen movies I love sold in ways that would never get me to see them.  I’m not saying I know any better than this how to put together a series of posters and trailers that would make this into a must-see event.  All I can say is that I want to be convinced, and I don’t feel like I am.  Maybe you’ll feel different.

Here’s this morning’s “Good Morning America” debut of the trailer, which is a somewhat edited-down version.  According to director Andrew Stanton on Twitter, there will be a full, unedited version tonight on “Jimmy Kimmel” and at Apple.com at 9:00 PM EST tonight.  For now, this version’s the best one out there:

And here’s the new poster, which sure is red:

What really confused me about that is that the poster is the sort of red that we’ve come to expect from cinematic treatments of Mars, but the movie isn’t.  At all.  That’s just a strange disconnect.

UPDATE: Here’s the full trailer, courtesy of IGN:

Whatever the case, “John Carter” is finally almost in theaters.  Considering this film’s century-long trudge from print to the screen, it is sort of hard to believe that’s almost over.  Can’t wait to finally see Barsoom on the bigscreen, and fingers crossed that the film hooks me in a way the trailers haven’t.

“John Carter” opens in theaters March 9, 2012.