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Disney Panicking, Desperately Releasing New John Carter Trailers

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | February 29, 2012 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | February 29, 2012 |

Happy Leap Day everyone! And remember, nothing you do today counts. Maybe the decision to green light John Carter with a quarter billion dollar budget happened on Leap Day four years ago. Disney probably hopes so at this point. Because that decision is going to cost them about $249 million in net losses at this point.

The release is only ten days off and the Mouse is cutting new trailers every other day in the vain hope of getting someone, anyone to actually go see this thing in theaters. Here’s the latest trailer:

This looks like someone reshot The Phantom Menace without the light sabers and space ships. But it’s not just that it looks worse than the most disappointing science fiction film of my life, it’s that I have no idea what the hell this film is about. It’s like Disney is putting on a clinic for how not to make a damned movie trailer. If you weren’t a saavy sci-fi fan who automatically looks stuff up on Wikipedia that you don’t know about, would you have the slightest clue what this film was even about? If I didn’t know in advance that this was about a human transported to Mars where the low gravity gives him super strength, I’m pretty sure my reaction would be: “why is that male stripper beating up cartoon characters?”

And that’s without even getting to the obtuse stupidity of the film’s name.

Go search for John Carter on IMDB. The movie is the 48th result on the search results. First up is Noah Wyle’s character masterpiece, and second is Charleton Heston because he was actually born “John Carter.” Then there are 45 different people who have worked in Hollywood and bore that mighty name. And finally, finally there is a link to John Carter, the 2012 film.

You know why I write under my entire name, first-middle-last? Other than because it’s an awesome name, and because I really am a pompous ass, it’s because “Steven Wilson” is common enough that there are dozens of other people online posting with that name. There’s a musician who sells CDs on Amazon, a Canadian conspiracy theorist, a former major league pitcher, and two former NFL players. So I compromise for clarity.

But Disney is too important for that. By god they named their film after a person’s name so generic it even puts mine to shame. And they cut out the “of Mars” part of the original title just out of spite. Given the fact that they have several divisions of lawyers on retainer, they’re probably suing every other person with the name “John Carter” and forcing them to legally change it. All those old episodes of ER running on TNT? Disney is going to make them dub over every mention of “John Carter.”

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.