I know what you're thinking: 'I don't want to see John Carter! Jumping around Mars? Who is this John Carter? I've never heard of him and I don't want to. Not interested.' Right?
Well you should be interested because you owe a lot of your life, your personality and how you view the world to John Carter. Not with me? Well let's all agree that he movies you saw as a child and subsequently later in life might have in some small way affected who you are? Is that right? I know I will not sit down on the bowl before checking it for sharks since Jaws. Just sayin'.
Still not with me? Well, since we know that movies have shaped your life, surely the things that made/influenced those movies shaped your life too? What if I was to tell you that many of the movies you hold dear are all thieves? You're favorite movies stole from or were directly influenced by a little movie that you don't want to see called John Carter. John Carter is based on a novel called A Princess Of Mars that was written in 1917, predating nearly all forms of 'modern' entertainment. I'm going to show you which ones would not even exist if they hadn't done just that! Here's Moviepilot's list of 5 Movies That You Love Which Would Not Exist Without John Carter!
(Also since this article is talking about plot points you might consider this whole page a bit of a SPOILER!)
Number 1 is the biggest movie of all time! Avatar. And yes while I assume you might already know this but Avatar stole from a lot of things! But nothing more than John Carter. The whole structure of the movie is built around the central structure of John Carter. Take for example the fact that when Jake Sully enters Pandora in his Avatar body, he leaves behind his human form. It just sits there gathering dust in a shiny coffin. So does John Carter. When he heads on over Barsoom (Mars) he creates a copy of himself—or Avatar—of himself if you will to run around Mars for him.
Interesting. Also going on here is the simple idea of a stranger fighting for the indigenous people, emerging as a champion among them and ultimately leading them to victory. Remember Jake Sully capturing the giant bird and taking out all the humans? Well John Carter rode giant robotic birds and lead an army of natives to repel the foreign invaders. Pretty similar.
Next up its:
Ah a real classic! Flash Gordon! This movie defined the genre didn't it? Alas, no, sorry. That'd be John Carter again. A transposed hero on a distant planet, joining many different factions and uniting them against a common threat? Yeah, Flash Gordon's entire plot is a small part of John Carter. Sorry Flash, missed the punch by a couple of years. Still John Carter has no winged bearded men, that's something eh Flash?
Uh oh. Say it 'aint so! Superman has been around for hundreds of years! There's no way John Carter came first. Well sorry Supes it looks like you only arrived in Action Comics #1 in 1938. Bit late on that one. 'But hang on,' you're saying to yourself, 'Superman is NOTHING like John Carter, for one thing John Carter is on Mars!' Well that's where you'd be wrong.
Take two aliens from a distant planet. (Krypton/Earth) throw them into a new environment where nothing like them has ever been seen before (Earth/Mars) give them the awesome power of strength and jumping great distances (Supes/Carter) and write tons of serials detailing their exploits of saving the natives. (Supes/Carter) Wow, perfect fit right? Let me explain why it is. The planet stuff I think we can all agree on, but we all know Superman can fly! And has heat vision! And many other powers! Not when he started out he didn't! In Supes's first appearance all he could do was jump really far and act really strong, sound just like JC (John Carter) doesn't it?
What about the tons of serials business? Superman has had thousands of adventures published. Well, so has John Carter. Over the course of 11 novels John Carter has had thousands of adventures too. Whew!
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Hear me out on this one. It's The Graduate. Yes there is not a lot of pan-generational hooking up going on in John Carter but there just so happens to be the original wedding scene where John Carter rushes to the church of his beloved to stop her marrying a man that just isn't right for her! Sound familiar Mrs Robinson?
'Oh no, Moviepilot, you did not just go there.' Yep I did. Sorry folks but it should come as a surprise to no one that George Lucas isn't 100% an awesome guy. Yeah Star Wars (all of them) owes an awful lot to John Carter.
A hero with powers like none before him? Check. A galactic empire bent on enslaving all the peoples under them? Check. A wicked mysterious cloaked figure who is manipulating all nefarious events through a previously kind soul-puppet? Check. A small band of rebels with the help of a savior fighting their way to freedom and never giving up? Check. A princess kidnapped and forced to wear a gold bikini? Check. An arena of gladiatorial games filled with monstrous space creatures? Check. An endless bitter war between tall, spindly things and humanoids? Check. Oh, I'm sorry I was talking about John Carter. What's that? All of those things are in Star Wars? Ah I guess that's my point proven then?
Don't misunderstand me folks. I'm not slamming any movie here. I LOVE these movies, all of them! And the fact that they stole plot points from a 100 year old novel is no bad thing. It's an AWESOME thing!
That's what makes these movies great! It's what has made them endure through our lives and shape our tastes and personae in really awesome ways! There is nothing wrong with taking some influence from a source material, especially when its as awesome a story as John Carter. So don't be disappointed in these movies, or me, or Moviepilot, I just wanted to show you that this silly looking movie that you know nothing about is actually something a lot more personal. It already has a place in your heart whether you go and see it or not—you just don't know it yet.