Wednesday, March 14, 2012

John Carter

For his birthday, we took the boy to the movies and to dinner. We saw John Carter and then went to Montana’s where he got to wear the horns.

A lot of people seem down on John Carter but we enjoyed it. Even my daughter, who had been concerned it might be a bit scary, liked it. There has been some minor controversy about the title – it was Princess of Mars like the book but was changed to not confuse people (who hadn’t seen the trailer or know about the books) about it being another Disney Princess film.

Since it was based on a series of books that was written almost a century ago (Princess of Mars was published in 1917) you would think that it might be a bit dated, but it held up quite well. Since it had influenced a lot of later works, some parts seem familiar, but not too much that it seems like a copy. They even kept the framing sequence with the author and the matter transference into an avatar on the other planet. The green Martians look fine – maybe a bit long in the tusk but they get the six-limbed look down fine.

I haven’t managed to read the books yet so I don’t know how they describe the landscape but I would have expected the sand to be more red. I also don’t know how they handled the jumping in the books but it seemed on the verge of being a bit excessive in the movie.

All-in-all, it was a fun science-fiction film that fits in well with the modern ones. I hope it does well enough to make the sequels. I’m going to have to make an effort to read the originals.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The passing of an artist who drew dreams

On Mar 3 2012, at the age of 82, another icon slipped away from us. Ralph McQuarrie was a technical illustrator who worked on animating CBS’s coverage of the Apollo space program. He helped to make George Lucas’ vision of a space serial understandable to a lot of people who couldn’t follow what George wanted to do. His images form the backbone of the entire Star Wars saga, as well as many other movies from our youth – ET, Cocoon, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park, as well as Battlestar Galactica.

I never had the chance to meet him but always felt an affinity towards him – having taking drafting and art. He set a high mark to strive for.
The world is a little more empty due to his passing. His impact while he was here touched so many of us in so many ways that you would have thought that his passing would have been a major news item.