Thursday, May 31, 2012

John Carter Blu-ray Review

If ever there was a movie that likely has the Walt Disney Company disappointed in returns it is John Carter. In Episode 64 of our podcast we discussed not only the movie, but that the marketing for the movie focused on the wrong things, which did not help the movie’s success.  Sure not every movie is successful, but a movie that is advertised to the degree of John Carter usually does much better than shown at Box Office Mojo.  

For my last few Blu-ray reviews I felt that Disney simply wasn’t using the Blu-ray platform to its fullest. So when Disney offered me a review copy of John Carter, I jumped at it.  Done right, this disc would help Disney achieve a larger return for the movie, so it needed to be good.  It needed to stand out and bring something new to the table.

When the Blu-ray first starts up you are presented with a choice of language  English, English Descriptive Video Service, French, or Spanish.  These are the same language choices presented on the Set Up menu which can be reached from the Main Menu.  You can also later choose to enable subtitles that are English, French, or Spanish.  Once you choose the language you are presented with an ad for Disney Studio All Access, as well as trailers for Avengers and Frankenweenie.

The visual on the Main Menu is actually quite good.  It’s the map of all the research done by the John Carter character in his later years connected by red yarn tying it all together as seen in the movie.  And you jump from fact to fact, following a thread of yarn.  I thought this was clever, and really wanted to read those facts.  I later discovered that this disc has two features that are Second Screen enabled.  The first is the ability to watch the movie using Second Screen, however the second is the ability to be able to “Explore John Carter’s Journal”. This is a genius feature to add to the disc, and I look forward to trying it once the Second Screen app is released.

There are also several other bonus features, including some deleted and modified scenes as well as the original opening sequence that was later broken out across the movie.  Edgar Rice Burroughs fans will enjoy the “100 Years in the Making” which tells the story of both Burroughs himself and of how the movie came to be.  The bloopers reel is cute, but not laugh-out-loud funny.  You can also watch the movie with audio commentary by Director Andrew Stanton and producers Jim Morris and Lindsey Collins.

For those who don’t know a lot of what occurs on a production set, there is a feature called “360 Degrees of John Carter” which covers production on a day they shot scenes for the battle in the “Palace of Light”.  Some of the cooler stuff you’ll get to see is Willem Dafoe acting on stilts where he passes along his feelings that no matter what the end result will be, even if digitally replaced, you give the role your best.  There’s also a lot of detail about intricate detail of the tattoos in the movie that some might really enjoy.

The John Carter Blu-ray release brings it to bear.  Combined with Second Screen there are, in English, 4 different ways to watch this movie.  As well as plenty of additional content to keep any fan engaged.  There is a lot to enjoy on this Blu-ray, and you can really see that despite that this movie was unsuccessful at the box office, it has a good chance of helping to make up for that in the home market.

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