John Carter of Mars
I have removed the ERB bookends to get to the main story faster. Also, I have "Wizard of Ozzed" the Earth sequences into a dull washed out black-and-white, while increasing the bright colour saturation of Mars to give it more of a fantastical look. Along with some small trims, and cuts, I hope to have created a fun alternate viewing experience.
In particular, big THANK YOUs to Rogue-theX, TM2YC, Vultural, Dwight Fry, MusicEd921, and hbenthow.
--Opening in a faded, washed out Black and White
--Replaced modern Disney logo with Beuna Vista title card
--New John Carter of Mars Title Card with zoom in of Mars in B&W
--Added Arizona title card to Fort Grant, with new intro music cue and rain sound effects
--dream of wife is kept in colour
--Created a "sin city" blue light effect for Amulet teleportation to Mars
--Mars events are all in colour, increased saturation, slight red hue and blue balance--emphasizing this a fantastical world more
--broke Carter's arrival on Mars into two parts, moving the intro of Sab Than and Matai Shang in between, new music cues.
--added some of Dejah's dialogue from deleted scenes, explaining the history of Barsoom, repurposed footage for this scene.
--dreams of wife are original colour scheme
--cut Helium warriors surrendering when attacked by Sab Than
--cut Carter exclaiming "She's Human!" -- now more of man of instinctive action, added new music
--cut bum slap, imperial command to jump by Dejah and Carter saying he is not for hire
--cut "Zondanga happened" -- Barsoom is supposed to be world littered with ancient lost city ruins
--cut Sab Than and Matia Shang scene of Shang explaining how to demoralize a nation, as Sab looks like an idiot, new scene transition cues
--cut Carter telling Dejah no good would come from him fighting in her war
--added a Zondanga establishing shot to Matai Shang and Sab Than scene, cut Sab saying "now I sound like you"
--cut the other pilgrims on the River Iss, as they are never seen again and yet going to the same place? And what happens to those who reach the gates? It is never addressed in the story, so no need for it.
--cut Carter and Kantos falling, he now makes the jump in a single bound! \S/
--cut Carter saying he has changed his heart -- don't like the line or delivery, sounds like he has changed his mind about his love for his dead wife and child
--movie now ends on wedding with epic music cue and shot of Mars with title cards
--new end credits with images of John Carter through the ages with new music
--post-credits credits scene
--cut 7 minutes of end titles credits
Bionic Bob does it again! Yet another edit of his that removes my need of watching the theatrical cut ever again. It is that good.
Bob has removed a lot of bloat (I was particularly happy to see the ERB bookends go, those added nothing but runtime to the film) and has pushed the old-fashioned adventure flavor to the foreground, both with the cuts and with the new color treatment, which may not work for some people but I loved. It feels so much more old-timey "they-don't-make-'em-like-this-anymore" in this version (well, except for the massive CGI, but nothing can be done about that).
Maybe a little bit more could have been cut, though. For instance, I'd have removed the first time Carter says the line "A princess of Mars", which feels forced and calls attention to itself as an awkward "Hey, look at me! I'm only here as a nod to the book's title!" I'd have lost it and the nod would stay anyway, as Carter says the line again when proposing to Dejah, and there it works. Also, the wife and child flashbacks being in color does work, but why isn't the burnt-down house and burial stuff black and white? It would make more sense like that, it's there when Carter's life becomes a downer.
The new end credits with the homage to Carter through the ages are wonderful, though I'm still not convinced about that Requiem for a Dream ripoff theme music. What I did love was a hilarious moment that might or might not have been intentional: at the end of the credits we get a reprise of the rather violent scene of Carter mass-slaying Tharks left and right, followed by a title card which reads "A Disney Picture". LOL!
The technical quality of the release does have the slightly blocky quality usual in Bob's edits, sadly, and I must substract a point for that. Audio is sadly still 2.0 (Bob, 5.1 is not that hard, honest! ;) ) so another point down. Otherwise, I did not detect any bad edits, and I'm usually good at detecting them, so 10's for video and audio editing. And also 10's for narrative and enjoyment because despite the tiny nitpicks above, I found this so vastly superior to the original that I think it deserves them.
Definitely, when I feel like taking a trip to Mars, I will not tell my Thern medallion "Barsoom". I will tell it "Bionic Bob's Barsoom"!
I was a little mixed on this cut. I really loved this when it came out in the theater and marvelled at how far CGI technology had come.
At the beginning of this edit, I felt a little rushed along by the story pace. I wanted things to slow down a bit and they eventually did. By the time Carter was captured by the Tharks, I was enjoying the pacing.
I did not miss some of the dialog that was removed throughout and thought those cuts were appropriate.
The color saturation was a mixed bag for me. I liked that it made Mars and the Martians more visually striking, but it came off a little odd at times, like watching an old Disney movie. (Ironic, I know) I also seemed to notice some of the CGI effects a little more in this cut, especially when Dejah was holding herself hostage. I don't know if it was caused by the color saturation, the non HD source or a little of both or something else, but I noticed it more.
All of the visual and audio editing felt seamless to me except I felt something had been cut when Carter and the old lady were walking together. I also could tell that there were cuts made during the battle with the (evil tharks??) whatever they were. Then during the sword fight with the bad guy (sorry, my memory sucks) I noticed somethiing wasn't quite right. None of these were really that jarring, but noticeable.
Regarding the flashbacks to the wife being in color, I think I understand what Bob was going for here, but I would have preferred them in B&W. Maybe a brightened B&W for those scenes to contrast with the dark visual of the burial scene.
One thing I think got rushed through too quickly was Carter learning to walk and jump on Mars. It just felt like that wasn't fully established and would have preferred to leave in most of that scene.
All in all the thing is well put together and definitely worth checking out by those that loved the original, like myself and those that weren't so impressed.
The original was a disappointing failure, not least of which were inept marketing and odd narrative.
If you liked the original, or simply wanted to like the original, then check this out.
BBob has shredded a chunk of dead weight. The story now moves!
He trimmed much of Carter's Earth exploits, most of which were unnecessary to begin with.
Enough remains that viewers get an idea of Carter's backstory, and the pain he carries.
Video - Others have made comment regarding the black and white scenes. They looked fine. Sepia would have looked just as nice, as would have washed out colour.
The editing was rock solid. Even during scenes I knew were missing, I never missed them.
Audio - Bit weird here. I listened to this using headphones and several passages struck me as over boomy or too echoey. That would be Chapter 03, Chapter 05 (@ 47"), and Chapter 06 (@ 1:00"). These were all interiors, and all featured the Princess.
When I listened to this using exterior speakers, everything was decipherable again.
I listened to the original using headphones, and the reverb did not seem to be as bad.
BBob prefers 2.0 sound mixes, and I wondered if somehow the rear channels found their way into the 2.0.
This is a quibble. As mentioned, it was not noticeable on main speakers.
Narrative - Terrific job. This is now my go-to John Carter. His ending sets the stage for the sequel, Gods Of Mars, which down the line, might confound the unwary.
A fun summer film. Vast improvement on the studio release and absolutely recommended.
John Carter wasn't a terrible movie, in fact it was almost a great one. I saw it on a massive IMAX screen where it looked and sounded fantastic and I had fun while it was on. It was clearly flawed and a bit forgettable but hardly deserving of the critical mauling and hyrdogen-bomb sized box-office failure. In other words, the perfect fanedit opportunity...
After having viewed Bob's heroic rescue of 'Kick Ass 2', I was looking forward to him pulling off the same trick here and he almost does. This is a much, much better version of the movie than the official cut but still not quite a complete fix of the problems. Maybe many of them just can't be fully fixed.
Audio/Video Quality 8/10
Generally I liked the new colouring as it made Barsoom look more alien, made Carter less pasty and made the red men/women appear more Martian and less like they'd got a joblot on fake tan. However occasionally things just looked way too pink IMO. I also feel an epic Sci-Fi fantasy romance of this nature deserves higher than Standard Definition (My John Carter Blu-Ray looks lovely and I missed that same presentation here).
Visual Editing 8/10
For the most part I couldn't see any evidence of cutting, nice work. But in a few places there were some mis-matched cuts that looked odd. e.g. Carter's reaction shot in the "time of oceans" dialogue and the excising of the old ladies speech on the walk through the city. Loved the '2001'-ish "Gods of Mars" title at the end plus the post credits scene worked to perfection! I now want that sequel more than life itself ;-)
Audio Editing 8/10
Again mostly excellent with only one or two cuts being noticable. However the way the music was mixed in during the wedding finale sounded too sudden and off. Emotionally it was absolutely the right choice of music though, so I can happily live with it on that basis.
This is where this edit really shines.
I really felt that Carter was more heroic, more of a superhero and much more of a game changer. Here the impression that Carter was a stone being dropped into the pond of Barsoom, rippling out and changing everything was so much stronger. I'm not sure this was down to anything Bob added, it was more down to other things being trimmed away to bring focus elsewhere and the placement of scenes. So the Tharks and Dejah instantly recognising how Carter could be used to make their position stronger was clearer. They could instantly see his value even though he could not. Great job editing this.
Also I liked the quick way we got into the plot Oz style and the new emotional ending. I'm not sure it's quite the way I would have rearranged things but it was no doubt better than the original. With the 21 minutes cut some of the films hidden strengths shined out better. For example, I hadn't noticed how great James Purefoy's character was. I'd have loved if his character had been used more. If the filmmakers hadn't made Dejah such a superhero (Beautiful Princess AND genius-level scientist AND unstoppable warrior) it would have allowed him to be her right-hand-man/sword/bodyguard type guy. It would have made her appear more cerebral, commanding and more regal to have a loyal bodyguard ready to die for her IMO. Because of this trimming I was also much more engaged by the central romance, which you need to be for this film to work.
This still isn't a masterpiece but it's a lot of fun and a good piece of simple escapism. From now on, Bob's cut is going to be my go-to version, when I fancy a trip to Barsoom.
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Possible SPOILERS ahead!
I had no doubt Bob would deliver a great edit. Of course the editing was great, but it's his passion for this story that really shows in the creative choices he made.
Carter is a flawed film. I think it's largely panned outside of the small fan base that knows the story and the characters. What Bob has done is made it a lot more accessible for a wider audience. The "Oz" effect in the beginning was a nice idea and I really loved how the amulet glowed blue through the black and white. I didn't expect that and I found myself saying that's cool out loud.
One of the previous reviews found some of the cuts a little jarring between Carter learning his jumping powers and the battle from the beginning of the movie with Sab Than. Personally I liked how it was worked in there and it needed to be there for narrative purposes. Mark Strong's character (I keep forgetting his name) indicated how no one could stop Sab and then we come back to Carter exploring the area. Perfect cut idea! Also, great use of the deleted opening. Would've been nice if they had finished the effects for the home video release.
Bob took this film to a new level. It still has its flaws, but that is the source material. Thank you for bringing us on a much more enjoyable trip to Barsoom.
You're lucky I don't take off points for that cliffhanger ending! (lol)