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domingo, 18 de março de 2012

John Carter

“John Carter” is the first movie directed by Andrew Stanton that is not an animation. You may not remember his name, but he is one of the big ones inside Pixar, and among scripts and other contributions along the story of the studio, he was the director of “Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E”. This movie is produced by Disney Pictures and Mr. Stanton was called with the mission to give it, inside what was possible to, a Pixar vibe. Just that, unless you never watched a movie from Pixar, may be enough to convince you to watch it, like it was to me.

This is an epic fantasy movie, the story is based on the book series “Barsoon”, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, best known as the creator of Tarzan. Everything begins in 1869 when the hairy guy of the poster, a former highly decorated soldier, is transported to Mars. There he finds a world in decadency in the middle of a war which can cause the end of the planet itself. Since gravity in Mars is weaker than it is on Earth, in Mars he has some kind of super force that will allow him to be, if he decides to, a important piece on this war. Along the way he will make friends, enemies, will meet a pretty girl, weird charismatic creatures and live a big adventure.

This is a classic fantasy, first published in 1911, so if sometimes the solutions may sound familiar, it happens because it was one of the first stories to deal with these themes and to show this kind of conflicts and characters, it is part of many stories later created, that is the reason why why know it and that is the reason why it may sound familiar. However, the script is well executed enough to assure that even if you know how the story will end (it is a movie from Disney after all, yes?), you will having fun while seeing it happening. Still talking about the script, it is valid to say that the idea is to be a fantastic adventure, political issues about the war or a realistic development of a romance are not things on the “priorities list” here. In any case, about the romance I do know some people who would explain the romance saying that “Nah, so typical of women, they just can’t see a foreigner, and if he comes from another planet and have super powers, it is done! hahaha”.

The same way of most of Pixar movies, this one tries to go beyond the obvious, leaving implied or not over spoken more deep messages, points thar are more complex about the characters and even the full details of the story of the movie, and this could be a reason to explain why this movie have not achieved so far the success it deserves. When messages are implied and the full comprehension of a story is based on the person watching it, we can say for sure that not everyone will jump in this story the same way, or even understand it the same way.

In other words, It is necessary to be pop to be popular and “John Carter is not. Doing some analogy with music, “John Carter” is something more alternative, like a good band you listen and don’t understand why it can not have the same success that a band with much more simple music can.

If you look to Andrew Stanton’s filmography, it makes a lot of sense the director of “WALL-E” and “Finding Nemo” produce something like this, since these movies also go beyond obvious to someone who wants to see it. “Finding Nemo” is much more than a funny story about a father trying to rescue his son with the help of a fish with bad memory and the ability to speak with whales, just that “keep swimming” thing can give lots of discussions. “WALL-E” is an even more strong example of this alternative way to tell a story and that is why people who appreciate this other way to tell a story love this two movies so much.

So, was it a mistake the choice of Andrew Stanton to direct this movie, instead of other director who could make it easier, simple, short and pop?

I think not.

A great number of movies with great ideas end up just being mediocre exactly because of this search of what is the most simple, this desperate search for pop, for obvious, for what is easy to swallow, to identify and which is also comfortable.

This movies trying to do something beyond and which are not always well understood at the moment they are made, but having an undeniable quality, are the ones that will be remembered and rediscovered again by other generations in the future, and also bring new ideas to the movie industry.

I believe that finding the right story which will reach great success is heavily dependent of the moment, of the questions people ask themselves at the period, of the culture of that time. Would “Matrix” be a success if it was launched at the end of the 70’s? Would “Inception” be a hit in the 80’s? Would “Gone With the Wind” be a success today?

The same way movies like “Speed Racer”, “Scott Piligrim” and many others, maybe today is not the right time to something like “John Carter reach big crowds, but much more because of what these crowds expect than because of the movie itself.

Andrew Stanton with “John Carter” brings a different kind of movie, that will not touch people the same way, but with undeniable quality, talent and the same signature of Finding Nemo and WALL-E, showing the same that Brad Bird did show with the excellent Mission Impossible 4, the directors of Pixar are here and they can also make great movies outside of the realm of animation.

If you like a good adventure or fantasy movie, don’t think twice, call your friends, your nephew, your dog and your parrot and watch it, it is fun for sure, even if you don’t see everything that is there to see. On the other side, if you don’t like this kind of stories, forget about “John Carter, but save this name in your mind, it has the potential to inspire and make someone fall in love with cinema in a way that it will be remembered and rediscovered on the years that will come. Oh, and if you are considering not watch it in 3D, like it usually is, you won’t miss much.