SciFionTrial

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  1. I’m not on Twitter but I have a suggestion for a future Sci-Fi-On-Trial:
    Disney’s version of “John Carter on Mars”.
    The original E.R. Burroughs books, starting with that story (which had a perfectly good title originally as “A Princess of Mars”), were our first exposure to sci-fi, for people of my age (late-40s-today and plus), curled up in a public library when we were about ten. Many of us have a soft spot in our hearts for these books, which more sophisticated critics later in life tend to refer to as “Elegant Trash”. On a modern-day re-reading, they tend not to hold up. They’re rife with cliché plots, boring exposition and verbosity of the Victorian/Lovecraft/Conan-Doyle style, executed with far less grace. The casual chauvinism, racism and “white man’s burden” of the era shines through clearly. So Disney attempted to update the story and turn it into a modern-day sci-fi franchise blockbuster with more refined modern-day sensibilities. The result was a gigantic box office flop.
    But my personal opinion is that Disney’s updates were fairly clever, effective, and reasonably respectful of the original material. It _should_ have been a success, it was beautiful to look at and they smartened the story quite a bit without major plot changes. I feel like the reason it flopped was because the audience was expecting to see a nostalgically-good version of the original books which never existed in the first place. A direct transcription of the 1917 book into a script would have been cringe-worthy and all but unwatchable in 2017.
    What do y’all think?

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