Report from the WORLD PREMIER of Asylumís Princess of Mars
A personal review by Billy York, whose opinions are enirely his alone. Photos by York except for image above and that of Traci Lords later in the article, both of which were obtained from theasylum.cc
From a series of emails posted to erb-list December 2009, ending January 2010.
I am always busy but when I heard that the World Premier was going to be in San Diego I called up my son who lives on Coronado Island in San Diego and we made a day of it. My son is 34 and has read all the books in the Mars series. It was just a great excuse to get together with him and do real men stuff like eating pizza and drinking ice tea before we left.
First of all let me state I am not a film critic in any sense of the word. In other words I canít be trusted for anything I am about to say. I am just a guy who has pizza and ice tea on his big night out.
Actually I have a lot to report but I will so it in several emails to cover different areas so you donít miss something because you are so bored of reading you donít finish and then miss something that may change your life forever and then you miss out on some kind of ďAvatarĒ out of body experience because of all these run on sentences to make one big paragraph that really add nothing to what you want to know.
First of all I went into this knowing this was NOT going to be "ERB Princess of Mars" but instead this is "Asylum's Princess of Mars". Big differenceólike holding the SUN in one hand and holding an ORANGE in the other. They are both round and both orange, (unless you are Superman who has his powers because of our yellow sun but we all know if you look at the sun when it is really yellow you burn out your eyeballs and then everything looks black forever but it kind of looks orange sometimes when is it ready to set so you know what I mean), but other than that the Sun and an Orange are not the sameótake my word for it.
At the end of the evening this is how I felt after listening to the special guests who were there who told how they made the movie. Itís kinda like this:
Like letís say you meet two girls and #1 is totally beautiful and you only have eyes for her but she had a member of her family with her who you look at but you just donít pay attention to because the first girl gets your heart beating so fast you got to take your blood pressure and cholesterol medication so that you can make sure you can stay alive as long as possible so you can soak in her beauty as long as possible because she is your first love and you just know you will love her forever. (I put in the part about the medication because I know most of you guys are like really old so you could understand in your old guy kind of way what I am talking about).
Well one day you have to spend a little time with girl #2 who really does nothing for you but the longer you spend time with her the more you like her when you understand the problems she had to overcome to be the person she is nowówhich is someone you really donít want to spend much time with.
So in the end you think, well girl #2 ainít really as ugly as you first thought because she really did try hard to look good but she really did not have much to start or begin with so you are surprise that you kinda like her in a weird kind of way but it is not something you like to tell your friends about because they would be thinking you must be drinking some of that "Demon Liquorí again and that is why she is looking so good to you.
So here is what I am trying to say. If you are thinking this is the Princess of Mars we all know and love you are going to hate it. However if you go into this thinking this is the Retarded Princess of Mars I had in a mind numbing vision in the 60s when I was smoking "Wacky Tobacky" while listening to "Iron Butterfly" sing "In-A-Gadda Da Vida" and pretending like I knew what "In-A-Gadda Da Vida" meant even though I didnít and still donít THEN you may end up thinking, Well "Asylum's Princess of Mars" is redeeming because it really does try hard to please and I could use it to punish the grandkids when they are bad by making them watch it.
Now to try to make sense of the utter nonsense I just wrote it is like this: Even though you end up liking girl #2 you still want to wake up every morning with girl #1 for the rest of your life and if you never see girl #2 again itís OK with you.
Finally if anyone wants to complain about my horrible English writing skillsówell itís OK because none of you know where I live and even if you did you guys anywhere else in the world will all be frozen like Hans Solo was in Star Wars because of all the snow storms you are having. All I have to say is you should be really thankful for Gobal Warming or just think how cold you would have been!
In my next emails I will go into detail concerning the night and the movie.
PART 2 - WORLD PREMIER of Princess of Mars.
I first learned about the World Premier from the ERB-List. I emailed for information and quickly got an answer. The person who was putting it on was name Gerry Williams who reserved some seats for me. Now Gerry is a big time member of the Mars Society of San Diego. I looked at their web site and they are into putting a man on Mars in the next 20 years. This is about Gerry from their web site.
Gerry Williams, co-founder of the Mars Society's San Diego chapter. "The Mars Society is an international organization of space advocates who want to see people living and working on Mars" Williams explains. Currently The Mars Society is having a letter writing campaign to President Obama to try to make this a priority.
Williams has hosted "Mars Movie Night" once a month since November 2001.
Now I think all of us are in favor of putting a man on Mars to live and work because we all know that it is getting harder to live and find work here in America.
Before my Son and I left his house one of his friends was there who wrote down the directions and address where we were going. Now the problem was that they were off by one number on the address.
Now the name of the place for the World Premier is the San Diego Eco Center for Alternative Fuel Education Theater. So we are on the street looking for this place and my son tells me that this is one of the undesirable streets of San Diego. We are looking for the address and there are stores and signs in about 15 different languages, everything but English. We went up and back 3 different times and the address that was written was in a small strip mall. Now in the strip mall there were about four different ethic groups all colorfully dressed in their gangbanging attire drawing straws on who was going to rob the 7-11 for the evening. My son and I are both saying this is the address but this cannot be the place. So I call Gerry Williams on the phone and I am telling him that we are at the address but it looks like Getto-ville and Gerry tells me that it should be there just look for a big gray building with orange flyers on the doors. So I hang up and my son tells me I should not have told him it looks liked Getto-ville in case he lives there. So I am dealing with emotional guilt when I looked across the street and there was a big gray building with orange flyers on the glass door.
The building is about four stories high and on the very top of it just says FUEL in like 5 foot letters. That was all. There was nothing like San Diego Eco Center for Alternative Fuel Education anywhere. So I am thinking, "Dang, what a perfect place for the ILLUMINATI to set up their secret "New World Order" headquarters. Certainly most of the world was represented there on the street. So then I realize that those gangbangers were just ILLUMINATI in disguise.
Well we park and my son is glad he has his insurance current just in case his vehicle is not there when we get out. We enter the building the find the room we were meeting. The first person we meet is Gerry Williams who is about 6 feet tall, middle age and very well fed. He is very pleasant and I did have my guilt relieved when Gerry said this was a new place for them and he did not live in this area. He was very busy trying to get everything ready for movie night and refers me to another member for questions. The other member of the Mars Society is telling me that their mission is put a man on Mars and that as a group they meet and discuss ways to do it and about Mars and space travel and every thing related to it. So I say, "Do you ever talk about UFO phenomena?" So then he says, "No. UFOs are not real and we only talk about real stuff." So I am thinking these ILLUMINATI are really serious fellows and I better watch what I say or I could wake up with the head of a Mars Rover in the bed next to me one morning.
Gerry has been putting on Movie night every month since 2001 and his wife makes popcorn for everyone in something that looked like a micro wave oven but I knew it was one of those mind control units and that is why I did not partake in any. It really didnít last long because they had more people than they ever had for movie night and the micro wave oven blew up and quit working. That is what they say but I just think they had just collected their quota of human DNA for banned genetic experiments.
There was a mixed bag of people there from teen-agers to really old guys like Jim Thompson. It seem like everyone who was there was not a regular but came because they were all ERB fans and were hungering to see anything that would resemble A PRINCESS OF MARS. That was good to know. There were Dads who were bringing their sons to see the movie even though the sons really had a very limited understanding of what the books were about. I think after the movie was shown the sons still had a very limited understanding of what the stories were about. There were also quite a few young females there. By young I mean under 30 which means if Disney puts out a good POM it could really do well if what I saw was very small view of what could happen.
Now the building itself was like an educational center for kids. The rooms I saw were like a YMCA type of thing. There was a bunch of kids in other rooms during the movie. The Movie Room was great. It was new and it had about 80 seats with a screen on the wall that was about 12x12 feet. It was stadium seating and the seats were seats that the Ford Company puts in their higher price vehicles. They were fun to play with so I keep moving up and down and leaning back and forth with all the little handles and knobs. I keep looking for the anti-gravity knob but I guess only the ILLUMINATI and the kids that were their clones who were there know where the anti-gravity knobs were.
Well Gerry had his computer hook up to a projector on the ceiling and then the show began. First we had to set through about 25 minutes of coming attractions for new movies coming out. There were about 10 of them and I do mean about 25 minutes. They were all trailers from major movie companies and I can only remember one about Jackie Chan being some kind of super spy that is a husband and father but bumbles everything he does in real life. Normally I like trailers of movies to come but on that night I just wanted to see Dejah Thoris.
Coming Attractions we saw the cartoonDuck Dodgers in the 24Ĺth Century. I have to tell you I was more disturbed by the Warner Bro cartoon than the POM movie. I was prepared for the POM movie but this cartoon was so disappointing. I can remember when Warner Brother cartoons were just so funny. Great artwork, story lines, humor, music and just plain fun. This one wasnít. A bunch of cartoon personalities are transported through their computer to a place where the ones from earth are pitted against the ones from Mars. A guy who looks like the joker has a reality show and he is the bad guy. I think I laugh maybe twice but the cartoon was so dumb down. What happen to the talent they use to have? Very sad. I was listening to the people who were there and it just seem like no one was laughing. Boy do I miss Mel Blanc.
Next email will be the movie review.
PART 3 REPORT POM WORLD PREMIER
Sorry about the delay. Had a family member injured and stayed with them two days to help them get settled back home. They will be OK.
I want to talk about Mark Atkins as well as the movie and sometimes I will be talking about the movie and insert Markís thoughts and reasons why he did certain things that make you want to go Hmmmmm??????!!!
First of all let me say that you just cannot meet and talk to Mark without really liking him. He looks about 30-35, stands about 5í8"-5í9". Has brown hair, dresses very relaxedójeans, tee shirt has a beard. Now I am not talking about a beard like Isaac the Amish man or Babbling Bob the Vietnam Vet who is always talking about Agent Orange and Conspiracy Theories. His beard is like a young college student taking a course on Grunge Music. If you do not know what I mean just donít shave for about 5 days and then you will look like an Old College Student failing a course on Grunge Music.
Mark wrote, directed and did the cinematography (the art or technique of photographing and lighting motion pictures) for Asylumís POM. Mark is the do everything guy at Asylum. I asked him if he had anything to do with The Land That Time Forgot and he said he did the filming for the movie. When talking to him I got the feeling that he was glad he was not blamed for most of it even though he did not come out and say it.
Like I said before, Mark is extremely likable and very comfortable to talk to. I think he would be great to have for an ECOF if he is available. Mark is the reason that I really am trying very hard to like Asylumís POM.
Now letís say that in your family line the only person that everyone is proud about and has any claim to fame is your Great-Great-Great-Great Grandmother who was burnt at the stake for being a witch during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and it has been downhill for your family ever since. Well Mark is born to your No-good brother who is always talking about the girl he met during Woodstock when he laid in the mud for four straight days and this was the highlight of his life. Since then he has been living with Betsy Watson and they had this kid named Mark who everyone says looks like the milkman but that doesnít bother your brother because he says you canít beat the free milk.
Another reason that everyone in your family likes Mark is because he is so famous and at last there was someone who stopped Aunt Olabelleís bragging about the time she played a rock in the high school play written by J. G. 'Huck' Huckenpohler entitled "The War of Northern Aggression".
Mark has been involved in a lot of Asylum films including:
- The Land That Time Forgot (2009)
- Haunting of Winchester House 2009
- Transmorphers: Fall of Man 2009
- Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls
- Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)
- 2012: Doomsday
- War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave
- Merlin and the War of the Dragons
- 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea
- Alien vs. Hunter
- Halloween Night (2006)
- Dead Men Walking
- When a Killer Calls
- Evil Eyes
- Night Orchid
What I am trying to say is that Mark has been a busy boy. According to him each film makes money. I donít know how but he says they do so I believe him.
Mark said that the film that made the most money for them was the "Haunting of Winchester House". Mark said he was scheduled to do the sequel to "Haunting of Winchester House" when he looked at the list of upcoming film projects. POM was the fourth film on the list to do. Mark said he remember reading the POM as a boy and loving the entire Mars series. Mark begged to do POM and to put off The Haunting #2 so he could do this one. Mark was giving the green light. The thing that concerned him was do they have the OK to film the movie? He was told it was in public domain and that there would not be a problem with Disney. He still had a hard time believing it but starting working on it.
Now I am going to list a bunch of questions asked him and his answers.
1.) Why Traci Lords?
Answer - Mark thought the same thing. He did not think Traci Lords was a good fit because he wanted a younger actress. He was told that Traci has a big cult following and would bring a well known "Name Quality" to the project. In the end he agreed with their conclusions.
My own feelings are the same. I had no idea who Antonio Sabato, Jr. was or anyone else in the film. I did know who Traci Lords was and in truth I wanted to see how she looked and acted so the curiosity factor played a part with me.
2) How big was your budget for the movie?
Answer - $300,000, however after paying actors and staff and advertisement, production of videos etc, he only had $75,000 to make the movie, out of this amount all of the CG work had to be done as well as everything else, costumes, props, feeding the crew, etc. Because he had so little to make the movie happen he could not do everything he wanted.
3) Why two arms on the Tharks?
Answer - Money. He really wanted to make the Tharks with four arms but they had to CG it and it just could not be done in the budget.
He did show a CG version of himself with the four arms concept he wanted. It had the Joe Jusko look to it.
4) Your Thoats that the Tharks ride only have two legsówhy?
Answer - Once again money. Money dictated everything in the final project. It cost so much more to put more than two legs on the Thoats that it just could not be done.
5) How much time did you have for the project?
Answer - Three months from the time it was given the green light to the time it was to be put on the shelves to be sold. During this time the hiring of actors and personnel had to be done, locations found, script written and approved as well as everything in-between.
6) How much time for the making or filming of the actual movie?
Answer - Twelve daysóno more. We were so pressed that we were improvising and making props and decisions sometimes hours and minutes before putting it to film. We were flying by the seat of our pants to get it done in time.
7) Why not a "Red Princess"?
Answer - Three hours before filming the make up people are putting different shades of coloring on Traci Lords. They came to the conclusion that they just did not have enough time with the filming schedule to make a "Red Princess". Instead what they did was give her a white sheen. Mark stated he did not like it and was very disappointed in how she looked after looking at the film when it was done.
I have to agree with Mark. Now Traci did have a milky sheen to her. Here is my opinion. Traci is in the in-between stage in her life as she looks on film. There were sometimes she looked beautiful where you say to yourself, "I think I am in love", and then other times you think she looks like she is a middle age woman who is starring in a reality show called, "Housewifeís of Barsoom". Now she looks like a beautiful middle age woman but not like the most beautiful woman on two worlds. Any time I noticed the milky sheen to her it seem not to enhance her beauty but only to show up the lines that were on her face. Now let me make one thing clearóTraci Lords even when she looks border middle age still looks a zillions times better than your loser brotherís woman Betsy Watson.
Well this is a long email and I donít want anyone to lose interest so I will try to get to the movie next time. However I said that before so really donít believe any promises from me and you wonít be disappointed.
PART 4 POM WORLD PREMIER
I will be talking about the movie and interjecting my thoughts as well as Director Mark Atkins comments to questions I asked him.
SPOILER ALERT!!! I never wrote that before so I am feeling very important right now. If you want to wait and watch this incredible, unbelievable, fantastic movie for yourself then do not read the following.
The movie opens with a man dressed up in a Middle Eastern outfit walking by himself. Now I am not talking about how people dress in Maryland. I am talking Middle Eastern where men wear dresses. I am sure there are some men who wear dresses in Maryland but that is not the crowd I hang out with.
Well guess who this guy is? Havenít a clue? Well here is the voice over, sort of.
My name is John Carter. I am a Gentleman from Virginia. I am carrying a gun because I am a Special Forces operator. I work alone on really special stuff. I am alone. There is nobody but me that does what I do. I am wearing a dress and have my head and face covered so no one will know that I am not smiling because I am lonely. (Bobby Vinton starts singing in the background,"Lonely, Iím Mr. LonelyÖ") Like I said this is NOT the John Carter we know.
From this point on the scenes concerning him being a soldier in the Middle East is convoluted to me. Maybe if I watched the movie again I would understand better but the truth is I had a hard time following the story line.
Here is what I think happens. John Carter has to rescue a prisoner from four bad guys who are in dresses. I think this is all supposed to be happening in Afghanistan. JC finds the bad guys and tells them if they do not release the prisoner, who is also wearing a dress, he will take the detonator he has in his hand, which also doubles as a good Christmas gift to make remote control battery powered cars go up and down the street real fast, and he will blow up their opium storage buildings.
Now we all know that opium is to Afghanistan farmers is what Tobacco is to Pennsylvania Amish. So the bad guys are all saying to theirselves, "Wow, that is so RUDE. Let the prisoner go." It turns out the prisoner is a bad guy also and it was all a trick to kill JC. So the bad guy prisoner takes out his detonator which doubles as a garage door opener and tries to blow up JC. Our hero is in bad shape but he gets back at the bad guys by pushing the red button on his hand held device which is a lot better than the bad guys device because JCís device has an antenna on it and there is a big explosion and all the bad people and bad opium and bad buildings all get blown up.
The next scene is JC is surrounded by US soldiers; one is a black guy, a white guy and a Middle Eastern guy. Well you can tell right away the Middle Eastern guy is the bad guy even though he is with the Americans. I never would have thought a Middle Eastern guy would be the bad guy. JC is wrapped up like the mummy, I guess because he is near Egypt or something, ready to make a trip down the River Iss to the Valley Dor. He cannot talk. A doctor is saying that he does not have long to live. The bad guy is holding something in his hand he got at "Tomorrow Land" on his last trip to Disneyland. He tell JC that he is going to send him to Mars but not the Mars we know but another Mars somewhere in the universe, a Mars called Barsoom. He asks JC if he wants to go and JC gives him the "The Finger, The Bird, The Big F-U." The Doctor says he is dying and then the bad guy sends him to the "Other Mars, known as Barsoom".
Now I find it hard to believe that John Carter the Gentleman from Virginia would give the finger to anyone. So I am thinking maybe the Big F-U in Virginia must mean "Fine, thank You". So because JC in the movie couldnít speak when the bad guy asked him if he wanted to go to another planet somewhere in the universe of course Gentleman John would signal, "Fine, Thank You".
Maybe next time I am in Virginia and someone asked me, "How are you doing?", I will give the "Fine, thank You", sign so I can blend in with the locals.
I ask Mark the Director/Writer why the changes? He said if he updated the story people could relate to him being a modern soldier. He said that everyone knows that Mars is not as ERB wrote it. He could get away with it in 1912 but not now so that is why he did it so in his opinion it could be taken serious. I guess he was right because I really did take the movie seriousóit was So real to me. I mean I take all of the Asylums movies serious because if I donít Santa Claus may put me on the Bad Boys list and I totally believe in Santa Claus and the Asylums movies.
Trying to think as someone who may not be familiar with John Carter I could see why he would think this. Like I said before Mark Atkins is such a nice guy you want to give him the benefit of the doubt and you want him to secede. You just got to say it over and over, "This is not ERBís JC".
Long emails just donít keep peopleís interest so I will continue the next one with our hero on Barsoom!
PART 5 POM WORLD PREMIER
Back from the holidays. By now some of you have received your own POM video to hold, love and cherish. This is good because some of what I am about to write is a little fuzzy to me. Partly because of memory and sometimes because I was confused during the movie. If anyone has seen the movie please feel free to fill in the gaps for anything I have missed.
As I said before Mark Atkins who wrote the script and was the director did read POM before he started his project. One thing I can say is that throughout the movie Mark pretty much tried to keep to the story line in POM. What I mean is when you watch the movie you say to yourself, "Oh yeah, I know where in POM he got that", even though it is nothing like the book.
Mark told me he found every single picture he could in reference to the POM story. Together with Erica Steele they put together the props for the movie.
I need to talk about one of the props in the movie. That was the single seated Flyer that was showed several times in the movie.
The person in charge of props is Erica Steele who said when she first looked at a flyer she immediately thought of a kayak. She knew of someone who was into kayaking. This person is one of the best in the world and comes from one of those Northern European Countries like Norway, Finland, or Denmark.
You know what I mean. One of those countries where mostly "Pale White People" live who all kinda look like Bill Hillman. One of those countries where Garry Cooper could never make "High Noon" because the Sun is never High at Noon or any other time of the year.
Now I am aware that Bill Hillman is from Canada where a deadly weapon is a hockey stick and their version of a Red Neck is someone who is carrying a hockey stick riding a snowmobile with a bumper sticker on the back that reads,"The only way they will take away my Hockey Stick is from my Cold Dead Hands."
Erica bought a Kayak from this guy. Later Erica was contacted by a European Kayaking magazine that did a feature article on the "Kayak that went to Mars" complete with pictures.
Actually I thought she did a very good job on transforming it into a believable flyer.
Back to our Hero. John Carter finds himself transported to Barsoom by way of "Space Mountain in Disneyland". If you ever taken a ride in Space Mountain it kinda looks the same. He find himself standing in a desert like environment with a lot of hills and rocks around him looking like Adam on the first day of his creation thinking that Cochise or Geronimo may be hiding behind one of those rocks ready to scalp him.
As he starts to walk he finds he can jump tall hills in a single bound. Now in the book JC from my memory can jump about 30 feet in the air and a distance of about 150 feet. However this JC is much better because he can jump about a half a mile or more because on this Barsoom he only weighs about 14.7 ounces.
Soon he finds an incubator with eggs. He thinks to himself,"Dang! Look at the size of those ostrich eggs! Well I better get dress before breakfast." JC then takes part of the sheets that cover the incubator that are made in China and makes himself a great diaper skirt. Because of the Free Trade Agreement it just made a lot more sense for the Tharks to buy the material from China than Helium or someplace like that.
Just as John is looking trying to decide which egg to have for breakfast the decision is suddenly made for him when a Ginsu Spear Knife flies by his ear into one of the eggs. Green stuff starts oozing out of the egg. JC thinks, "Well here is the Green Eggs but where is the Ham? JC turns around to talk to the cook when he finds a humanoid like being with an asparagus head, eyeballs and a mouth with saber tooth tiger front teeth. So of course his first thought is, "Man! This dude must use a ton of tooth paste every week."
Well the cook says to JC, "Eaeilajenb,laline laronf linwee dalneoiaehhnf!!!" So John thinks, "Poor guy, Iíd talk like that too if I had stinking big teeth protruding from the front of my mouth."
Well it turns out the cook brought the whole kitchen staff with him and they all look like nuclear fallout babies all grown up. Once again someone says to him, "kj;ljji e;alknenivlnejl dieajknek!!!", which means, "Canít you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?!!"
JC cannot understand the words that are coming out of his mouth so he asks to speak to the manager. The manager comes and his name is "Tars Tarkas". Tars thinks JC needs more of an appetite so he asks him to jump and JC always the gentleman does a little jumping and jiving to impress the staff and all the guests. Well JC is really hungry and thirsty now and tells Tars he ainít doing no more nothing until he gets something to eat and drink.
Well Tars Tarkas got his waiter training in a restaurant in France and you know what kind of attitude those guys have. Tars does his waiter thing and pulls out a cup and then takes a sweat rag he had around his neck and wrings it into the cup just like any French waiter would do. We all know that JC has been everywhere and fought all over the world so he is used to French waiters and says to Tars, "Hereís looking at you kid", and swallows the Tharksí sweat right down.
Pretty soon one of the Tharks gets a big chain on JC and JC thinks, "This is swell! I love tug of war!" Well JC pulls too hard and the poor Thark on the other end looses the game and also looses his life but that is OK because the way Tharks play the game is if you lose your life it is funny. So all the Tharks think the dead Thark is funny and they are all cracking up. Just about then another humanoid little guy jumps out behind a rock and does a flip in the air and some karate moves to challenge JC. At first I did not think this was a Thark because it did not look too much like one and I thought maybe this is a Barsoomian evolutional reject humanoid and then I got the impression that it was a teenage punk Thark with an attitude which is the same thing as a grown up Thark without the teenage part but still with the attitude part. Well this teenage Thark is making all his moves and I am thinking, "Poor Jackie Chan, good parts are harder and harder to get all the time."
Just when you think JC is going to turn this little cretin over his knees and give him a good whopping the little fellow gets his when a big ant like creature jumps out from nowhere and stabs the little fellow through the gut and I am thinking, "Gee, where can we order a couple of these Ant Thingies to deal with some of our gang problems here in Southern California."
JC did not hesitate one moment but jumps on the back of the Ant Thingy because to JC riding a big Barsoomian Ant Thingy is nothing compared to riding those Mechanical Bulls in Texas at the county fair where Tangor lives. I canít remember how JC does it but I think he takes the chain that he still had from the tug of war game and chokes out the Bad Ant just like Jack Bauer does on 24 to the Bad Guys.
After this Tars Tarkas looks at him and thinks, "Hey this guy ainít half good, I think I like him." Tars said half good because to a Thark being bad is good and that is why he did not say, "he ainít half bad", because Tharks have a Bizarro way of thinking.
Well all Gehanna breaks loose because all the left over bugs from Heinleinís "Starship Troopers", show up and the Tharks pull out the radium rifles from their hip pockets and start shooting away because Orkin does not have any franchise on Barsoom that deals with bugs this big. JC indicates to TT to let him have a gun because them gizmos your firing ainít much different from the Kentucky Long Rifle I used when I fought beside Daniel Boone.
Pretty soon the Tharks with the help of JC squished the attack of the giant Ant Bugs Thingies. As a reward JC gets the clothes of the dead Thark which was OK with JC because he ainít no Girly Man who loves to go shopping for clothes and hang out at the mall with all the guys who wear black lipstick and paint their fingernails black and stuff.
Next - The Princess.
PART 6 POM WORLD PREMIER
After reading a couple of reviews from a few other people, it seems like they go from, "I Love It", to "I Hate It with the Hate of a Thousand Hates".
My feeling is that regardless of what people feel, this is a historical filmóthe first ever full length film about POM. A collectorís item. In addition we knew what we were getting and what to expect from Asylum Pictures. I had low expectations but it was better than I expected and I am glad it was made.
Here is how I look at it as time goes by. When I first saw it I thought, "Oh My!" But now I am thinking this film could turn out to be the, "Rocky Horror Picture Show", of the ERB world. In Riverside for years one theater would show this movie every Saturday at Midnight. People would line up around the theater every week. I had no desire to see this picture but I thought those people look like they were just having fun. I knew people who went there who were just regular people and they said it was so stupid it was fun to participate in goofing on it when it was playing. The more I think of it the more I am thinking this could turn into a really fun movie if you have the right attitude and not take it too serious.
Someone said that they felt if anyone would see this movie first it would turn them off from seeing a good movie of ERB Mars. I really think the people who watch movies know "Stink" from "Non Stink". If it is good, word of mouth will bring people into the theaters. However I do understand his point. I know some people loved, "Girl from Hollywood", I didnít. Maybe if I would had read this as my first introduction to ERB instead of, "The Return of Tarzan", I may not have read any other writings of ERB. I can see the point of the individual who hated the movie and felt it may harm future viewers who may never know the greatness of the Mars Series.
I wanted to write a little about the location and actors according to the conversation I had with Director Mark Atkins.
According to Mark most of the outdoor shooting was at a very popular site above L.A. where a ton of movies have been shot. Because they only had 12 days to shoot the whole movie from start to finish they couldnít travel very far. This was the first time he had shot in that location but he could not have been happier with what he wanted and what it offered. Though I cannot remember where the location was I do remember it was on the credits rolling at the end.
During the filming he said it was extremely hot with the temperature over 100 degrees every day. All of the actors who were the Tharks had their Thark faces glued on every morning and could not take them off until the end of the day. The faces were not a solid mask but different pieces to form the entire head and neck. During this time the actors could not eat solid food but could only sip liquid though a straw.
One of the concerns with Mark is that he had never worked with Antonio Sabato Jr. or Traci Lords before. He knew of them, but really knew nothing about them personally as actors. He was very pleased stating that even though the filming was very demanding because of the primitive conditions and the heat factor neither Antonio nor Traci or any of the other actors who were glued together complained once or copped a negative attitude.
In the movie Traci was a very serious Princess. As the movie progressed I really wanted to see her smile. She smiled right at the end of the movie. Once she smiled not showing any teeth and another time showing teeth. Amazing the little details you remember.
I have to admit I thought Traci did a fine job in this movie. She delivered every line convincingly. Sometimes you watch a movie or TV show and it looks like the people are acting. It doesnít seem natural or real. It is just lines spoken. Forced words and emotions. A true actor is one who never seems like they are acting. Now I am saying this from a person who really was not expecting much from her and was pleasantly surprised at how well she did with what she had to work with. With that said, I donít believe we will hear her name called for the "Best Actress Awardí at the Oscars.
I do not know Traci or anything about her personal life. It just seemed like there was a feeling of sadness about her. I could be really wrong about this and maybe Traci is the happiest person on the earth in real life.
I am sure if Traci read or saw anything I did she would probably say, "I really donít know Billy York or anything about his personal life but I feel like there is a feeling of "Idiocy" about him. I could be wrong and it may be he is a "Total Idiot."
One of the things Mark pointed out was that Asylum Films does not like humor in their scripts, for whatever reason, that even he is baffled about sometimes. He has written other scripts in the past and any time humor was in the script it was taken out in final approval. When he wrote this script he tried to put in some humor concerning John Carter. When he finally got script approval he was pleasantly surprised that this was not removed. His humor was built around the person of John Carter.
A few words about Antonio Sabato Jr. I admit that I wasnít thrilled about him from looking at the movie posters concerning him playing John Carter. Even at the end of the movie he didnít fit my conception as the definitive John Carter. As the film progresses his character seemed to grow on me. I think some of the personality of the person Antonio Sabato Jr. was appearing as the film progressed. Antonio seems like he would be a guy that likes to have fun. With that said there were some lines he delivered that just were not convincing at all. Maybe it was the script, but some lines seem forced, others sounded like an actor reading lines.
Back to our Hero! I forgot to mention two events that happen to JC when he encountered the Tharks, each of them have to do with eating.
After drinking his yummy cup of Thark sweat JC is really hungry, however Tars is really having a hard time communicating with JC. So there was only one thing to do and that was to bring out the "Communication Cockroaches". Unknown to the viewing audience these communication cockroaches were created by the Scientific Red Men of the Red Race of Barsoom who are all Caucasian White people in this movie. As we know from the books the scientists of Barsoom have been observing our planet for quite some time and from these observations the "Communication Cockroaches" were created but stolen by the Green Men on their last raiding party.
The first cockroach Tars pulls out is one that is labeled "Official Language USA 2050".
JC canít stand cockroaches without Tabasco Sauce so of course he refuses. Only when they force him down to his knees and make him eat it on the point of a spear does he swallow and immediately he hears Tars speak to him and say,
"Entiendes las palabras que salen de mi boca? Hablas espanol?"
Of course JC can understand Spanish but he is so shocked that a Thark would speak Spanish that he is speechless. Tars believes that JC still does not understand so he pulls out another cockroach and makes JC eat it and says to him, "Do ya dig' da werdz dat iz coming out o' muh ma mouth? Do ya dig' ebonix? you know das right!" Once again JC understands but is shocked that Tars speaks such fluent and distinct "Ebonics".
Finally in desperation Tars pulls out a cockroach labeled, "American English 1952-1958. Once again he forces JC to swallow it down and Tars Tarkas says to him, "Greetings strange visitor from another planet, who came to Barsoom with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, able to leap tall abandoned Barsoomian buildings in a single bound. I, Tars Tarkas will take you to our leader."
JC is willing to be taken to the leader but is as hungry as a "Donner Party Member on Day 53" and is now able to communicate his need. Tars assigned a female Thark named Sola to help him. Sola leads him into a shelter and gives him a bowl with stuff that looks like vanilla yogurt. JC scoops it up with his fingers thinking, "I love this, tastes like Tofu", because as they say: "Real Men Love Tofu". I donítí say it and I donít know anyone else who says it but that is what I hear.
Sola is anxious to serve and pulls out a "Maggot on Steroids" that immediately starts spitting out Maggot Tofu like a giant tube of toothpaste thatís has been stepped on by Tantor. JC is convinced at this point that he is one real man who doesnít love Tofu, especially when itís from Maggots on Steroids.
Next Ė The Good, The Bad and the Really Ugly.
PART 7 POM WORLD PREMIER
I am convinced after looking at some video clips of the movie on the net and reading some of the commentary written by people who have seen the DVD that the POM I saw at the World Premier and the one that was released to the public were not the same. At the World Premier there were parts of the movie that were so confusing and made absolutely no sense. After reviewing with my son we now know that what we saw was a movie with several parts or scenes left out. I can only report on what I saw at the time. You will have to get the DVD to fill in the gaps.
"The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly"
After the great meal of Maggot Vomit our hero returns to the outside to witness a large slow flying craft moving overhead. Immediately the Tharks start firing upon the airship to bring it down.
Actually I liked the visuals concerning this craft. The exhaust from the vessel added to the visual. I have always pictured these crafts as big slow moving vessels. I donít remember in the books where you could, "Put the Pedal to the Metal" and have them jump to light speed.
I know there is a comparison to the Star War movies in several scenes as mentioned by others. I thought that several times as I watched the movie, but it only confirmed the greatness of ERB in that his was the original that all others sprang from.
During this time JC is a curious bystander. Meanwhile on board the airship things are happening that were very confusing to me. This was my first glimpse of the Princess.
She is hopping on board a flyer after the ship is disabled. After briefly talking to two companions on the wounded vessel she departs. The remaining companions are trying to depart on another flyer when they are dispatched by a mysterious individual making one dead and the other one mostly dead. You know he is mysterious because you cannot see his face and, "The Phantom of the Opera" music is playing in the background which is always a big giveaway. "The Mystery Man" signs in and everyone is trying to figure, "Whatís His Line", but he signs out on the flyer without us knowing his identity.
JC being the man of action that he is decides to jump on the ship because he is thinking maybe they have some decent toilets after eating all the maggot vomit and stuff. Instead he finds the mostly dead guy who tells JC that their mission was to visit the atmosphere plant, yadda, yadda, yadda and please save the Princess and by the way my name is Kantos Kan.
Now at this point I feel like taking a ruler to scriptwriter Mark Atkins fingers. Kantos Kan is such a great character in the mars books that it kinda irritated me that he is really reduced to an insignificant person. But then I thought maybe Kantos Kan is like a really popular name on Barsoom and maybe millions of Barsoomians are named Kantos Kan and this is not the same Kantos Kan who is JC's friend. Like in China where so many people have the same name because there are billions of people and only so many names to go around that when you try to come up with an original name the best you can do is "Poop Face". I am sure that is what Mark Atkins was thinking when he wrote the script.
Well the Princess crashed the vehicle she was driving because that is what women do. JC finds her and tries to rescue her but she does not like his style of dress because he has a Green Warrior outfit on, and once again that is just like a woman because when you are wearing your most comfortable clothes women donít like it because they donít understand that holes and stains on your clothes equal comfort. I guess all women are the same no matter what planet except the women who read ERB because they are on a higher level of human evolution. Well the Princess has a bad case of "Flap Jaw" and JC gently reaches over to reassure her that everything is going to be all right when, because of the low gravity, he accidentally reaches too far and knocks her out. Now we know JC would never hurt or want to intentionally stop a woman from talking except for Rosie O'Donnell. So he gently lifts her up and takes like, "Three Giant Steps for Mankind", and he is back in the camp of the Green Men which is like ten miles away.
Back at camp the leader of all Tharks shows up. If there was a "god of Tharks", I am sure one day he was walking around and had to go "Big Potty" and when he was done he named it Tal Hajus. He is a fat, disgusting, debased, nasty, horrible, gross bag of green stench, and that are his good features. I am giving the "Make Up Department" a "Thumbs Up" on the visual portrayal of Tal Hajus.
Tal Hajus belittled Tars and tells everyone there will be a party at his place and put the Princess in a cage of bamboo and make sure you go to the "Hay Bailer" to get some "Bailing Twine" to tie it all together. On Barsoom, in case you didnít know it, bamboo and bailing twine can make cages that are so strong that even Godzilla and King Kong couldnít break out of no matter how hard they try. Also when you make cages on Barsoom you have got to make the spaces between the bamboo so big that any prisoner could climb though and that is very important because if the opening were small how could you see the prisoner trying to escape? The only reason they had so much bamboo to encage the Princess was because the Princess was a "High Level Prisoner". If you were a "Low Level Prisoner", you would only be given a one foot piece of Bamboo to hold in one hand and a piece of string to hold in the other and you would have to hold it and that would keep you from escaping no matter what you did.
On the journey to Tal Hajusí place JC is trying to tell the Princess that he never meant for her to be put in a cage and he would rescue her if he could, "But Be Real, we are talking Bamboo and Bailing Twine here Woman."
The Princess understands and then has a great idea. "I have this container full of "Human Pee". I just found it and I have no idea how it got here because as you know I am a Princess and Princesses donít need to Pee". JC says, "Well Duh, Everyone Knows That". The Princess then has a great idea and says, "Maybe if I throw it at the cage it will melt the Bamboo and Bailing Twine and I can escape!" JC thinks this is a great idea and says he will catch it just in case it misses. Well she misses and the pee goes all over JCís face. Now JC can do just about anything but one of the weaknesses he has is "Pee Catching". It is quite a source of embarrassment to him.
In the movie it appears that the Princess gets mad at JC and in anger throws the pee in his face. Now I could never imagine Dejah Thoris ever doing anything so juvenile or out of character as this action so I am assuming my interpretation as the correct one.
As night falls no one is safe. Unexpected "Spider Bat Ant Flying Things" attack. They are all over the place and every one is freaking out like a blond getting ready to take her SATs. Fortunately they are the dumbest creatures in the universe. Now there is "Dumb" and there is "Retarded" but below that at the very bottom of the I.Q. level is "Dumbtard".
Dumbtard is the person who tells his family to lock all the doors of the car so no one will break in but make sure you leave the windows down so it wonít be so hot in the car when they get back.
As I am watching the movie there are hundreds of "Dumbtard Spider Bat Ant Flying Things", all over the cage of the Princess. Now these flying creatures are much smaller than the spaces between the bamboo of the cage and could fly in easy but none of them can get inside the cage where the Princess is because after all it is, "Bamboo and Bailing Twine." The Princess is jumping all over the place and screaming like crazy and I am thinking Ė why? I then slap myself along the side of my head because it is so obvious that the Princess is doing the, "Dumbtard Spider Bat Ant Flying Things Dance". She is just making a lot of noise because that is what you have to do during the dance in case you did not know this.
JC watches the Princess dance and thinks, "I Love Dancing!" So he takes the Princess out of the cage and together they are dancing and getting all "Jiggy" with the "Dumbtard Spider Bat Ant Flying Things Dance Fever".
Well a little known fact is when Tharks get "Dance Fever" they start to kill things which makes it hard to continue relationships when you are dancing with your partner and she is dead at the end of the dance. Soon all the "Dumbtard Spider Bat Ant Flying Things" are dead and everyone stops dancing.
Tars hears the Princess talking and finds out that the Princess is out of her cage and he does not like it one bit. I mean you really canít blame him because he was raised to believe that women should be "Seen in Cages and not Heard".
Tars gives her a piece of his mind and then turns his back on her. The Princess pulls out a big "Crocodile Dundee Knife" and stabs him in the back. Tars is unhurt and turns around ready to open a can of "Kick Butt" all over her when he looks and there on the end of the knife was a "Huge Rubber Spider". Well Rubber Spiders are one of the most feared creatures on Barsoom because you never know where they are going to bounce next. Tars is all choked up with gratitude and feels so bad that he misjudged her that he almost cries, but instead just pulls the tough guy attitude and walks away.
Actually that was one of my favorite scenes with Traci. I really liked the way she looked standing with the spider on the end of the knife. The way she shook off the spider, said something and, when she walked away, made me smile.
At the World Premier, Erica Steele the production designer spoke about how she made up the spider hours before the shot in the back of her truck. I have a picture of the spider taken at the event along with other props I will talk about later.
Next Ė Fun Times With Tal Hajus
PART 8 POM WORLD PREMIER
For those of you who love commercials with your viewing pleasure Mark Atkins told me that the Syfy network is going to show POM. No date given only that it was going to happen.
FUN TIMES WITH TAL HAJUS
Our travelers finally make it to Tal Hajusí place. JC and the Princess are brought before the "Lascivious, Licentious, Lewd, Liviní la Vida Loca Leader".
Tal is in the shadows with two slave girls sitting on each side of his throne with the worst eye makeup you have ever seen.
While JC waits in the background, Tal Hajus proceeds to tell the Princess what he thinks of her. All the Tharks are waiting spellbound because they know what is going to happen next. Tal says, "Horrible Princess, you Ugly and I am going to make you Uglier." As soon as Tal tells how Ugly the Princess is, one of the Tharks yells, "Itís Showtime!"
The next thing you know the Tharks are scrambling all over the place getting little round tables and chairs, blue vases with yellow artificial flowers in them, and pulling out their cups and wringing sweat into them. You can just feel the anticipation and excitement in the air. They just love his "Horrible, Ugly Routine".
Sola starts banging out some show tunes on the 88s while the Tharks are all yelling, "Play it Again Sola!" Then to the delight of all, Tal Hajus starts to bring the house down.
"Take my Slave Girls, Please!" The Tharks have heard this hundreds of times but it never gets old to them, they just love this old Thark and his sense of humor. Tal Hajus is a terrible leader but he really knows how to play an audience.
Turning to the Princess he continues his hilarious routine.
"Princess, you're so ugly, when you were born they put tinted windows on your incubator."
"Youíre so Horrible after you broke out of your shell it closed up air tight just in case you decided to crawl back in."
†"You're so Ugly; people put your picture in their Air Ships as an anti-theft device."
"Youíre so Horrible farmers use your picture on a scarecrow to scare off Malagors."
And finally the one that left them rolling in the isles:
"Youíre so Ugly that when you and a White Ape are standing side by side someone yells, "LOOK TWINS!!!!!!"
That last one was just too much for the crowd. Tharks are laughing so hard they start to sweatówhich is good because it just means another round of drinks for everyone.
Sola gets caught up in the hilarious environment and gets her "Maggot on Steroids" and starts squirting "Maggot Butt Paste" all over everyone like "Silly String at a Birthday Party". Tharks are slipping and sliding and falling all over the place, tables and chairs are knocked down, artificial flowers are being eaten and Thark sweat is being drunk by the gallon. One thing for sure, those Tharks really know how to party like "Irishmen on St. Patrickís day."
JC is dyingóstanding in the background close to the Princess. You know how it is when you are in mixed company of respectful people and someone says something "Off the Wall" that is so stupid and dumb, but most of all "Offensive"? You know you should not laugh and it takes everything you can to hold it in and not laugh? Well it was like that with JC. By this time he is having some emotional feelings about the Princess and doesnít want to offend her but, "Dang it, it was getting funny!"
Well when Tal Hajus said "Look Twins" JC feels like the boy who is in Church and the "Big Fat Lady" sitting next to him "Cuts a Big Stinker". Now the preacher is in the middle of his sermon and your parents are sitting next to you and you know if you laugh your parents will to be extremely upsetóand when you get home they are going to "Spank the Living Daylights" out of you.
You are sitting in Church doing everything you can not to laugh and you are turning red in the face, starting to sweat and your eyes are starting to cry. Your body starts to shake and you are rocking back and forth in your seat. The preacher stops his sermon, looks at youóand announces to the congregation that someone has just been possessed by the, "Demon of Something or Other" because he can see the effects on this young boy and smell the "Sulfur in the Air".
Then all the Deacons and the Preacher pull you out of your seat and throw you on the floor and yell, "Come Out Thou Foul Smelling Demon of Stink and Stench!"
Now you know it wasnít no "Demon of Stink and Stench" but the "Fat Lady" sitting next to you that caused the nauseating smell in the air and you canít hold it any longer and you start "Laughing like a Madman on Laughing Gas". By this time everyone in the Church is "Hooting and Howling" and laying hands on you asking for deliverance and you just laugh for a solid 45 minutes until you and everyone else in the Church is exhaled. When you are done the Preacher yells, "HEíS DELIVERED!" People start clapping and slapping you on the back and shouting Halleluiah and next thing you know a revival breaks out and it is all because you tried to stop laughing the day the "Fat Lady Cut the Big One".
Well, JC felt just like that kid sitting in church.
He didnít want to laugh with the Princess standing next to him because you know how women are, if you laugh at anything they think you are laughing at them, except of course the women who read ERB. He is about to lose it when Tal Hajus announces, "Letís have some more fun and watch JC and Tars Tarkas kill each other. Everyone thinks this is a great idea and proceeds outside to watch them fight to the death. In the meantime Tal Hajus sends the Princess to the, "Tal Hajus School of Beauty". More about her later.
Outside all the Tharks and Tal Hajus are congregating around the hillside getting ready for battle. Tal Hajus is sitting on his throne with a canopy to protect his "Lovely Dead Looking Blotchy Skin" from the effects of UV radiation.
JC and Tars are circling each other, neither one of them wanting to hurt the other. JC is trying to talk some sense into Tars and tell him that he is not the one he should be trying to kill but Tal Hajus instead. Tars knows every word that JC speaks is true but he has a terrible secret that he has kept for years that is stopping him from attaining his rightful place of leadership. JC pleas with Tars and tells him he must address Tal Hajus and all the Tharks who are assembled everywhere on the hillside.
Finally JC tells Tars that he will hold his breath until he turns blue unless Tars tells him what is holding him back. Tars breaks down almost to the point of tears and revels his terrible secret. "I canít speak to Tal Hajus and all of the Tharks because, because, because", at this moment Tars blurts it out, "I HAVE A FEAR OF PUBLIC SPEAKING". Well JC can totally relate to that because he is a "Man of Few Words".
JC tells him a little trick he learned in Junior College in a Speech Class he took. "Listen Tars, when you speak to Tal Hajus just think about him not wearing any clothes." Tars asks him if he is sure it would work and JC assures him it would.
Well Tars boldly faces Tal Hajus and the huge massive enormous crowd of Tharksóthere were about 20 of them there. Tars thinks about the image of Tal Hajus naked and promptly, "Barfs His Guts Out"! Actually, I really donít blame him to tell you the truth. Now the big problem is that as soon as Tars emptied one stomach, he starts barfing out of the other since they have two stomachs.
Tars is barfing out vomit like that Fire Hydrant spraying water when your no good brother ran over it the night he came home drunk and was trying to get away from Betsy Watson. Betsy was trying to hit him with a golf club because she found out he was messing around with those "Hootchy, Cootchy" girls down at the "Tap Room".
JC sees that the naked image of Tal Hajus is not going to work to make Tal into the "Great Orator of Barsoomian Tharks". JC then tells him to forget about the "Naked Guy Thing" and just speak from "Your Heart of Hearts" and if he speaks and does well he will take him to the local Dairy Queen and buy him a large vanilla cone dipped in chocolate with rainbow sprinkles on the top.
Tars has no idea what JC is talking about but what he said about "Speaking from the Heart of Hearts" really reached him. He thinks about all the cruelty and humiliation he has silently endured over the years. He thinks about the pain and suffering this terrible despot has caused. As he rises from his knees the music from "2001" starts to play in the background, "Da, Da, Daaaaa, Bom, Bom, Bom, Bom, Bom, Bom, Bommmmm. You know how it goes. As the music plays Tars rises to his full height of about 6í4". He slowly turns and faces the crowd with unblinking eyes. Silence fills the air as all eyes are on Tars.
And then he speaks.
"Tal Hajus, I see so-called Tharks like you every day. I am so tired of your verbal and physical threats and intimidations.
"You have been given a life that you squander. You have been given legs to stand erect and to carry you to untold possibilities. You have been given eyes to look up to see the stars to remind you of the wonders that are within your grasp it you would only reach. Instead you choose to drag your body through the sewers you have created. Your dull existence is created by your dull intellect that you have deadened with abuses to your mind and body. You never giveóyou only take. Your only motivation comes from filling your belly and satisfying your groin. You rob young girls of their childhood; you steal from them the beauty of their innocence. When you have taken all they have you leave them without hope, despised, lonely and broken.
"Your courage comes in the weapons you hold or from the number of evil companions you entertain. The only history you know is your history of lies and deceit.
"You know nothing of sacrifice, commitment or love. Your eyes hold no light only darkness and death.
"You can bellow your obscenities at me all you wish for I am not afraid of you. Everyday I grow stronger mentally and physically, you grow weaker from the abuse of your body and the evil that steals your soul. You are darkness, I am light, where you take, I will give. If you extinguish my flame another will raise to take my place."
And finally from his innermost being Tars shouts "ARE YOU FEELING LUCKY TODAY PUNK, WELL, ARE YOU? I, TARS TARKAS, CHALLENGE YOU FOR LEADERSHIP!!!!!
Well, Tal Hajus is feeling extremely stressed and uncomfortable at this moment. Stressed because he knows deep down in his two hearts that Tars can and will kill him. He is uncomfortable because when Tars was done speaking he peed his pants. There was only one thing he could do to save himself and so he speaks.
"Horrible Tars Tarkas, you Ugly and I am going to make you Uglier." He is thinking, "Hey I will just go into my nightclub act and everyone will be having so much fun and forget about Tars wanting to kill me dead"
However Tal Hajus didnít take into account JC. JC picks up a huge rock and loads it with C2 explosives and throws it right below Tal Hajus throne. The C2 attached to the rock blow away the cliff under the throne of Tal Hajus and he lands face first before Tars and JC.
Slowly Tal rises to his feet. It takes awhile only because his gut is protruding like a woman who is 46 months pregnant.
Standing before Tars, JC and all the Tharks, Tal Hajus looks around and says, "Why canít we all just get along?"
It is to no avail because it is the "Moment of Justice" and Tars goes through Tal Hajusí defenses like a "Tornado through a Trailer Park."
Taps are playing in the background and then the bugler realizes that he hated Tal Hajus and starts playing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". The "Tharkdrew Sisters" come out and start singing and dancing and everyone is rejoicing because Tars Tarkas is the new leader of the Tharks.
In the meantime a mysterious figure is running away from the scene of conflict. Who is this "Mysterious Figure"?
Where is the Princess?
Why is Billy York taking so long to finish the story?
Next ó The Final Chapter!
THE FINAL CHAPTER - POM WORLD PREMIER
When we last left the Princess she was being taken to the "Tal Hajus School of Beauty". Even though Tal Hajus is very fond of females of any color, there is just one thing he cannot stand in reference to having them hang around his "Magnificent Being".
You know how some men appreciate the beauty of women can at the same time not be attracted to them because of one little blemish that may in their minds overshadow the overall appearance of the woman? Cindy Crawford is a good example of an extremely attractive female, however if you look closer you see a small mole on the left side of her lips. Now for some guys it gets to the point where this is all they see and to them it is like a big neon sign that says, "Hey this is the same kind of mole that witches wear on the end of their noses!"
"Look at me, look at me!"
Well unknown to almost everyone, Tal Hajus is the same way. Tal Hajus has this terrible aversion to "Belly Button Lint". He just canít stand lint in a femaleís belly button. Every single female in his Harem is certified "Belly Button Lint Free".
Against her will the Princess is held down by a Thark with a swarm of Talís females beginning the "Belly Button Cleansing Ceremony". When the ceremony is over all females are given an autographed picture of Tal Hajus and a certificate stating that they are official members of "Tal Hajus Belly Button Bimbos"quite an honor.
Some people have the mistaken belief that somehow the "Belly Button Bimbos" are made blind by this action. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is just that after that females get a good look at Tal Hajus is when they go blind. It is all psycho-somatic. This also accounts for the eye makeup so crudely put on. The eye makeup smeared all over the face doesnít bother Tal Hajus one bit, it is only the belly button lint as we have already mentioned.
One of the "Belly Button Bimbos" is just about ready to pour the vase of "Formula 409 Belly Button Lint Dissolver" into the Princessí belly button when Sola approaches and pulls out a knife. She tries to give the Thark holding the Princess a shave. Unfortunately, for the Thark, Sola had only got to Chapter 2 of the book "How to Shave a Thark Holding Down a Princess", and she accidently cuts too deepresulting in the death of the Thark. This was OK though because in the Thark mindset this was very funny and he laughed all the way to the cold barren floor.
Sola knows that a dead Thark is nothingbut messing up the "Belly Button Lint Removal Ceremony" meant "Big Trouble"! Sola had no option but to grab the Princess and hightail it out of there.
In the meantime JC has met another combatant in the "Arena of Death". He is brought before JC and it is revealed that it is none other than Sarka, who is now known as Sab Than! Sarka tells JC he arrived before him on Barsoom because he was going to "Camp Guantanamo" in Cuba and he hates Cuban Cigars because having been a smoker in the past he just canít stand to be around smokers so he transported himself to Barsoom. JC tells him he doesnít have to worry about smokers on Barsoom because he is going to cut his lungs out.
Sarka just laughs and tells him he has been fooling everyone by hiding his secret "Super Hero Power". He then runs into a phone booth and tears off his "Arm Pit Stained Top" and reveals his Super Hero Costume with the letters SHJM on it. JC has no idea what SHJM means. Sarka says it stands for "Super Hero Jumper Man". JC thinks that is a pretty lame super hero name but before he can tell him Sarka jumps away. JC starts to jump after him, determined to show him it isnít only Sarka who has super jumping powers. JC is thinking he could be a "Super Hero", too. A little known fact about JC is that he has a great singing voice and used to be in a singing group call the "Bonanza Boys". JC thinks that with his hopping ability and his singing voice he could call himself the Super Hero name of "Hop Sing".
Sarka jumps until he find the Princess and tells her he fought valiantly beside the side of JC, but in the end though he saved JCís life over and over again, killing millions of Tharks all by himself while JC was going to the bathroom, it did not help because JC was dead. Sarka then tells the princess that JCís last wish was for him to tell the Princess what a hero Sarka wasand that the Princess should immediately start "Making Out with Sarka".
After hearing what happened to JC the Princess has a pained look on her facelike "Someone who has been Constipated for 83 days". Sarka says he loves her all mushy like, and the Princess tells him her heart has already been filled with the love of another and has no room.
Sarka tries to convince her that his real name is "Jell-O" and that there is always room for Jell-O but the Princess has no idea what he is talking about. She then says she has got to get to the atmosphere plantso Sarka and her journey in that direction.
When they get to the atmosphere plant there is a huge crowd of Tharks around the front of it. These are just a bunch of "No Good Losers" who donít like to work or contribute to Thark Society so they have decided to become "Professional Protesters" because it gives their pathetic lives a feeling of importance. They want to be important Tharks that the rest of the Tharks look up to without having to put in the time or the work to be respected for their accomplishments.
There were three groups of Tharks protesting. First are the "Air Atheists" who claim that since they cannot see the air it must not exist. They are offended just knowing that an "Atmosphere plant" in the middle of nowhere exists. Just knowing this offends them so much they cannot live a normal life even though they may never see it or come anywhere near it in their lives.
The second group is "Atmosphere Deniers". Even though there is testimony, evidence, pictures, and documentation of an Atmosphere Plant, because of their hatred of the "Red Men of Mars" they deny that any Atmosphere Plant ever existed. They are led by their infamous leader "Tharkmadinejad".
The third group is the "Global Atmosphere Plant Warning" group. They go around warning everyone about the atmosphere Plant and how terrible it is and how it is important that everyone spend lots and lots of money to correct something that in reality does not need correcting. They are lead by their leader and high priest, "Tharkgore", who is actually a "Holy Thern" in disguise.
When the Princess and Sarka arrive the door is locked but not to worry because the Princess just happens to have a "Tuning Fork" handy in her waistband. All Princesses of Helium carry this because not only does it help to open the Atmosphere Plant but it also helps to tune the piano for big "Princess Parties" for the "Disney" toy line. The Princess hits the tuning fork and inserts it into the handy dandy tuning fork place holder in the door. This works like a door bell and pretty soon someone comes to the window and says, "Hey Princess! How are youand who is that Big Yummy Man with you?" The Princess says, "Just open the door you "Big Fruitcake!"
Well "Big Fruitcake" opens the door and it turns out he is the guy who has been at the atmosphere plant for the past 700 years. He is wearing a "Lovely Chiffon Blue Layered Dress with Diamonds, Laced Embroiling, with a Mid-Thigh Cut". He explains to the Princess that he just finished the dress and he plans on entering the reality show called "Barsoomian Project Runway" and he really wants to know if it brings out the "Glitter Side" of him? The Princess thinks he looks "Really Sweet" in it but she is more interested in the Atmosphere plant and if he has been having any problems with it? He says that the atmosphere plant runs itself and that it gives him plenty of time for his "Fashion Passion".
The "Big Fruitcake" shows them the room where a hologram image of Barsoom is before them. Sarka asks what would happen if the motor stopped working? "Big Fruitcake" says not to worryif that happened there is a back up system. Well at that moment Sarka goes all "Jihad" and rips the radiator hose off the radiator and throws it into the hologram, causing everything to shut down. "Big Fruitcake" is having a "Hissy Fit" and starts running to the "Back Up System" which was very hard to do in "5 Inch Spike Heels".
Meanwhile JC found a way into the Atmosphere plant and saw everything that happened. He was unable to stop it so he follows "Big Fruitcake", Yummy Man Sarka, and the Princess as they Sashay and run to the back up system. When they arrive "Big Fruitcake" tries to tell Sarka something but Sarka has a point to make, which turns out to be too sharp and too deep and it cuts "Big Fruitcakeís dress so devastatingly that he passes out dead.
In the meantime Barsoomís atmosphere is slowing dissipating. JC finds Sarka and tells him, "Hey! Like I know you want to rule the world and stuff but All Work and No Play makes Sarka a Dull Boy." Sarka sees the wisdom in this so he asks JC what does he suggest? JC says, "Letís play Sword Fighting! You hold up your sword and I will swing mine back and forth from one side to the other and it will make a really cool sound!" Then Sarka sees the Princess and says, "Letís jump to that crosswalk way up high and then we look all heroic in front of the Princess and everything." JC thinks this is a swell ideathey play sword fighting on the cross walk while the Princess looks on with "Googlee Eyes".
All this fun has attracted a "Flying Spider Ant Thing". It is all alone on the planet and is looking for some friends to play with and have over for lunch. While the guys are play fighting it is flying around trying to join in on the fun. JC and Sarka decide to impress the Princess with how high and far they can jump. So they jump real far from each other and JC is having so much fun that he shouts "Group Hug!" JC and Sarka jump in the air and meet each other with a hug and then the Flying Spider Ant Thing wants in on the group hugging too and it flies right on the back of Sarka and gives him a "Big Old Bug Hug"! JC can see that "Two is Company and Three is a Crowd" and leaves. The "Flying Spider Ant Thing" likes Sarka so much that it decides to take Sarka home for lunch and one of them lives "Happily Ever After".
JC is now with the Princess and they realize that the atmosphere is slowly dissipating. So they decide to put their heads together while Tharks are falling to the ground like "Ripe Fruit in a Windstorm". They both look like they are unconscious when JC says, "Day by Day, Night by Night, Keep the Air Clean and Bright". The Princess says, "What did you say?" JC starts to repeat it when the Princess says, "No, Donít, if I ever heard anything that is so retarded like that again I think I will Barf." JC explains that he heard it from the guy who was mostly dead on the airship that was shot down when they first met. With that information the Princess jumps up and says now she understands and runs to the big hallway. In the hallway there are doors with nametags on them. One says "Office" another one says "Restroom" and on and on until she gets to one that says, "Day by Day, Night by Night, Keep the Air Clean and Bright". This is the door to the back up system. I have no idea how she knows this stuff but you donít become a Princess without opening the right doors.
In the "Back Up System Room" the Princess starts waving her hands over some keyboard like things. She learned how to wave her hands and mumble stuff when she ran away from home and joined the "Barsoomian Gypsies Club" for a summer and made her money by being a fortune teller. It came in handy because pretty soon a new Barsoomian Holograph appears and Barsoom gets all it Oxygen back. The Princess smiles and shows her teeth and then the Princess smiles again and doesnít show her teeth. This is too much for JC because he has never seen the Princess smile before and it makes him feel a little uneasy and dizzy and passes out. When JC wakes up, he is in the "Mummy Outfit" he was wearing before he came to the "Planet of Barsoom".
JC regains his health and feels so good about being alive and healthy that he goes back to killing. But he carries sadness about him because he misses his Princess and Tars and the great "Giant Maggot Food" and all the "Great and Groovy" things he did on Barsoom. Will he return? Will he get another tattoo to show off to the Princess? Will he get to play Sword Fighting again?
So with tears in my eyes we close this chapter in the life of:
"John Carter and his Middle-Aged Princess of Mars!"
Notes of Interest.
Why Sarka? Mark Atkins told me that he felt there wasnít anyone who could match JC on Mars. He felt that even though Tal Hajus was a villain he still wanted a villain to match John Carter as an equal. The only way to do it was to bring someone who is his opposite from the planet earth.
Sword Fight. Mark Atkins said that Antonio Sabato had Martial Arts training but Chacko Vadaketh who played Sarka had none. Mark said they did not have time to practice the sword fighting scene very long and Chacko was very uncomfortable with the sword. The best he could come up with while filming was to have as he said, "Very wide swings of the sword with Chacko basically just holding his and letting Antonio clang against it." The swords were real.
Mark said as he was trying to edit the sword scene, he and the people who were with him were rolling with laughter because it was so terrible. What we saw on the screen was the best footage he could put together.
And finally the question everyone wants to know. Will there be a "GODS OF MARS"?????!!!!!! And the answer is MAYBE. Mark told me he really really wants to do, "The Gods of Mars" and will try to convince Asylum to put it on their schedule. WE CAN ONLY CROSS OUR FINGERS AND HOPE!!