Disney's going to be trying like mad over the next two weeks to prevent John Carter from going down in flames, and one of the key points of their marketing blitz is making sure the trailers better reflect the film's plot. We've seen fans get it right, and now it's Disney's turn. Does the newest John Carter trailer hit closer to the mark?
As you might have guessed, the answer is very much yes and no. The big problem with previous trailers was often an almost complete absence of plot. There was just this guy without a shirt leaping around, and a bunch of aliens, and a girl, and a bald guy who sounded like a villain. Well, all of that's still here, but Disney does manage to clarify what's going on at least a little.
This trailer makes it clear that Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) is one of the good guys as she implores John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) to save her world (and by extension, Earth). We can also plainly tell that Matai Shang (Mark Strong, "the bald guy") is meant to be villainous, and that these two groups are struggling for supremacy on this desert world.
A couple of things are still somewhat glaringly problematic, though. First, and perhaps most notably, Disney is STILL stubbornly refusing to let us know that the world all of this is happening on is Mars. Maybe it's not that important in terms of the overall story. After all, alien conflicts could happen on any planet, right? But for those of us who know and love Edgar Rice Burroughs' work, it seems a bit like a slap in the face, even if the Disney bigwigs apparently think Mars is a bad marketing word.
Second, there's still no real understanding of why exactly this guy is running around with these aliens. The fan-made trailer referenced above took care of that, but Disney's still resisting telling the world that he's a Civil War veteran who's magically transported to the Red Planet. They still don't want us to know that it's technically a film that takes place in the 19th century, because that might make us hate it, even though nearly all of the film takes place on an alien world where the time period on Earth has no bearing on the technology, the costumes or the cultures at play.
That aside, the trailer is an improvement, and it's yet another opportunity to showcase the stunning visuals Andrew Stanton packed into this flick. It's probably too much to hope for that Disney would fix all the remaining issues with one more trailer before release day, but Disney, if you're reading this: Explain why he's on Mars in the first place, clarify why everyone's fighting and, oh yeah, maybe mention that the movie's happening ON MARS.
John Carter opens nationwide March 9.