“Howard Suber’s understanding of film storytelling fills the pages of this wise, liberating book. Much of it is surprisingly contrary to what ‘everyone knows.’ A remarkable work.”
— Francis Ford Coppola
“Filmmakers, scholars, and anyone else with a serious interest in film can rejoice. A fascinating and thought-provoking work.”
— Alexander Payne
“Those whom the gods wish to destroy,
they first make mad”
… ancient Greek proverb
I would add my own corollary to this: those whom the Gods would destroy, they first cause to believe they are gods.
I assume you’re getting tired of reading about John Carter, so I promise this is my last commentary on the subject. The press and the web are full of people trying to explain why the film failed. There’s an article in today’s Los Angeles Times “Calendar” section titled “Crash Landing” (online, the title was changed to “Why did Disney’s ‘John Carter’ flop?”) that focuses on studio leadership – or lack of it.
Yesterday’s New York Times Business Day section had “’Ishtar’ Lands on Mars” that splits its focus between the executives and Andrew Stanton. The web site vulture.com has what I thought was the most interesting of the three articles, “The Inside Story of How John Carter Was Doomed by Its First Trailer” and focuses much more on Andrew Stanton’s role in dooming his own film.
I’ve thought further about my comments in an earlier blog in which I referred to that Great Hollywood Copout, “Nobody knows anything.” If that’s what you really believe, who does know something? Well, the gods of course. Read more
As much research has demonstrated, creativity in the arts seldom consists of producing something entirely new, but in putting together two or more elements that had not previously been brought together. A very large percentage of the elements in film storytelling are to a large extent based on what has come before.
But this does not mean you can willy-nilly combine elements in any which way The New York Times article linked below refers to the 1912 source material, A Princess on Mars (notice the gender shift in the film’s title), as “a bewildering mash-up.” Having now seen the film, I’d say that, if you don’t concern yourself with plot, character, and dialogue (something large portions of foreign audiences without a strong command of English don’t) and just surrender to spectacle, the film is often entertaining. Read more