“John Carter” is now about a month away from hitting screens and it remains, largely, a mystery. The first live-action feature directed by Pixar wizard Andrew Stanton (who previously helmed “Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E“) has been plagued by bad buzz and rumors of massive budgetary overruns. While there’s still a lot riding on “John Carter,” we do have to remember that the script was co-written by Michael Chabon, that the film was largely developed at Pixar, and that Stanton could very easily make just as seamless a transition from animation to live action as his Pixar cohort Brad Bird did on “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” While the trailers haven’t inspired much awe, a new micro-featurette (via Bleeding Cool) does lift our spirits, showing new footage and an actual sense of the tone and scale of the project.
Although nearly crippled by horrible voice over (we could see this working on something like Disney Channel), the featurette, in its brief one-minute run-time, does highlight aspects of the movie that have yet to be explored in the marketing campaign. “John Carter,” based on the novel “Princess of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, centers on a Confederate soldier (Taylor Kitsch) zapped to the red planet and forced to engage in a brutal war between tribes. In this new spot, we get to see some of his relationship with Tars Tarkas, a Martian warrior voiced by Willem Dafoe, and his faithful companion, the dog-like Woola (who we hear steals the show). We particularly liked the moment when Carter, puffing his chest, tells the Princess (Lynn Collins), “Stand behind me, this could get dangerous,” and is quickly defeated, saying, meekly, “Maybe I should stand behind you.” A strong female character in a Pixar-associated film? We can stand behind that!
We also get a glimpse of the scale of “John Carter,” from zooming aerial warships to hordes of Martian creatures. This thing is going to be huge, and no matter what it cost, it looks like it was all put up on screen. You can check out the clip below. “John Carter” opens on March 9th.