By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com December 15, 2011 at 10:44AM
One of the dicier blockbuster propositions of 2012 will also be one of the first to land -- we're talking about Disney's mega-budget version of Edgar Rice Borroughs' pulp hero "John Carter." Everyone from Robert Rodriguez to Jon Favreau has tried to bring the character -- a Civil War vet transported to Mars -- to the big screen, but in the end, it was Pixar vet Andrew Stanton ("Finding Nemo," "WALL-E") who landed the job, with "Friday Night Lights" star Taylor Kitsch in the lead role.
But for a while there, despite Stanton's pedigree, things weren't looking so hot. Disney's marketing campaign has been a bit shaky, starting with dropping the 'Of Mars' from the title to make it as anonymous as possible (because a similar tactic worked out so well for "Hugo" at the box office...), an underwhelming teaser trailer, and some pretty opaque posters.
We suspect we're in the minority, but for us, things are starting to look up a little. We found the last trailer a vast improvement, and now a new poster has arrived, clearly meant to remind IMAX goers heading to "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" this weekend that the film will be landing in the giant-screen format as well. And at the very least, it's clearer than the last one-sheet as to what the film actually involves -- namely, a shirtless man fighting a pair of albino gorilla/mole things.
We're a long way from convinced but let's not forget that Stanton has yet to put a foot wrong, while the script comes from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon, so there's certainly some high-class talent involved behind the scenes. And the cast is pretty great, with Kitsch and female lead Lynn Collins being joined by Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, James Purefoy, Samantha Morton, Bryan Cranston and Polly Walker, among others. Plus, a shirtless man fighting a pair of albino gorilla/mole things. Yes, it looks ridiculous, but so did "Avatar" three months out, so let's not bet the bank against the film yet. "John Carter" will hit theaters on March 9th, in both regular theaters and IMAX 3D. [JoBlo]