Before a screening of Fright Night 3D, which is being distributed by Disney in the UK, we were treated to the 3D trailer for M. Mouse and A. Stanton’s John Carter. Now, I clicked as to what I was watching within just a couple of seconds, but I sure as heck didn’t manage to remember all of the details. Too excited, probably.
So, to refresh myself, I looked online for the inevitable trailer description. Somebody was bound to have posted one, right?
Well, apparently not.
And, as they say, nature abhors a vacuum, so…
The trailer begins with shots on Earth, the young Edgar Rice Burroughs being met in the street and addressed. It was the name “Burroughs” and the face of Daryl Sabara that tipped me off to what this trailer was.
If these Earth shots weren’t filmed on an expansive, real soundstage but created digitally, it’s top-tier stuff. It was a living, breathing street, very busy and cluttered with life. No matter how they were created, they were very pleasing.
And I’ll be damned if I can’t remember how the transition to Mars, or perhaps more properly Barsoom, comes, but it must have been more or less a straight cut – a quick fade to black and back again at most. We were there before we knew it.
Everything had a very, very natural look to it, and my preconceptions that the film’s design would be stylised in an Avatar fashion were proven completely unfounded.
Only one shot seemed to feature one of the CG characters, and I can’t tell you which one, but he was male. The voice over appeared to be done by Willem Dafoe, presumably in the character of Tars Tarkas. This suggests it was this character I was looking at, though I’ve got my doubts. Is Tarkas not meant to be an incredible warrior? Not sure this gels with the character I saw.
Most of the shots of Barsoom showed very few signs of life. There was some kind of huge leap sequence in which Carter propelled himself from landmark to landmark – though, from the trailer presented, it wasn’t clear how he was doing so. Despite the physics of what he was doing being unnatural, at least by Earth standards, it all looked oddly realistic.
We got a good few shots of Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins, not much of anybody else, and Kitsch seemed to be decked out in warpaint, and was typically stripped to the waist.
Nothing gave away any indication of plot, and it all felt rather like pieces of a puzzle with no indication at all of how they were meant to fit together. Not my favourite kind of trailer, but obviously preferable to those which spoil sixty percent of a film’s major plot points.
Well, to a film buff audience at least – I’m not sure of the efficacy of enigma in marketing.
At the end of the trailer, a complex insignia unravelled to leave just the JCM glyph from the poster. That ‘M’ is now strictly irrelevant as a marketing symbol for the film, but the design is nice, so I can see why they wouldn’t want to toss it.
Or, as I said, this is how I remembered the trailer. If I hadn’t been so surprised, I’d have managed far better recall, I’m sure.
Now – I know a couple of hundred other folks were there in the same room with me. Can anybody fill in the blanks?
This trailer will go on wide release with the new Harry Potter film, I understand. And it’s also due online soon.
The film itself will be released next March. There’s a fresh Facebook widget that will help you count down the days – and, I wouldn’t be surprised, give the trailer its online premiere when the time comes.