Posts Tagged ‘Tars Tarkas’

Friday night, I took my daughter Sarah to see “John Carter Of Mars“.  This is the new movie from the eleven volume JCofM series written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  The movie is based on book one:  “The Princess Of Mars“.  It follows the book fairly well – as well as can be expected.  The movie is a Romance /Sci-Fi / Fantasy / action genre and it does well at all of those levels.  Is it “great” cinema?  How many action / fantasy / romance movies are?  Is it entertaining?  Definitely!!!
Do you have to read the book to “get” the movie?  No, but you’ll probably enjoy it (the movie) more if you see it first, read the book and then see it again (DVD).  I’ve read the book twice and the entire series once (just finished in anticipation of the movie).  Does it do justice to Burroughs’ JCofM concept?  Yes, I think it does.  How’s the acting and “pace/direction” of the movie?  Hello??!!??  Action movie…!!!  The Princess (Lynn Collins) is suitably gorgeous.  JC (Taylor Kitsch) is remarkably Timothy Oliphant-ian (is that a word?).  They both start out stilted, but warm to their roles.  The two “stars” of the movie are the “dog” (a calot) named Woola and the four-armed green Thark – Tars Tarkas.  They both add surprising moments of humor – the book is NOT very funny.
All in all, I found it to be a surprising entertaining / fun action movie and well worth the price of admission.  I WILL be buying it when it comes out on DVD.
Other news:
Today, Hil and I took a trip up to Sacramento to visit our daughter Rebecca and help her start to move to her new place.  She’s moving from her studio close to the Capitol Bldg, to a one-bedroom a little farther away and on the other side of the Capitol Bldg.  It’s an old, Victorian style and it’s really nice.  We both think she’s really going to enjoy her next couple of years there.

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This week I completed the last four books in the John Carter of Mars series written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  The books are titled:  “Swords Of Mars” (#8) (1934©);  “Synthetic Men Of Mars” (#9) (1939©);  “Llana Of Gathol” (#10) (1948©) – originally published in four novelettes in 1941;  and, “John Carter Of Mars” (#11) (1964©) – published posthumously.
As mentioned in previous blogs, this was a series recommended to me by an Army roommate, way back in the mid-1970’s, which I’ve just gotten around to reading.  I read the first one back then, but never got around to the rest.  About two years ago, I looked at them and said to myself, “Enough already, just read them…”  I re-read the first and burrowed (pun intended) through the next four.  I then got bored and put the rest aside, until last year when I read number six.  It still didn’t catch my taste, so I again put the rest aside.  Now, with the movie coming out next month, I decided (again) to bite the bullet and complete the series.  I read number seven last week.  Now I’ve completed the rest.
In a way, it’s a strange feeling to carry a series of books around for 30-plus years (over half your lifetime) and then finally to complete reading them.  Kind of a combination of accomplishment and loss at the same time.
Here’s the full list from the series:
1)  “A Princess Of Mars” (1912©);  John Carter wakes up on Mars, meets his future spouse (Dejah Thoris) and a lifelong green Martian friend (Tars Tarkas).
2) “The Gods Of Mars” (1913©);  John Carter discovers the Gods of Mars are legends of evil men.
3) “Warlord Of Mars” (1913©);  John Carter (again) saves Dejah Thoris and ultimately becomes Warlord of Helium (and Mars).
4) “Thuvia, Maid Of Mars” (1963©);  Carthoris (John Carter’s son) must rescue his future spouse; originally published in 1916.
5) “The Chessmen Of Mars” (1922©);  The story of Tara of Helium (John Carter’s daughter) and her spouse (Gahan of Gathol).
6) “The Master Mind Of Mars” (1963©);  A second Earthling (Ulysses Paxton) comes to Mars, becomes Vad Varo and must rescue his future spouse.  Originally published in 1927.
7) “A Fighting Man Of Mars” (1930©);  Tan Hadron of Hastor meets and saves his spouse, a slave girl who is actually a princess.
8) “Swords Of Mars” (1935©);  John Carter must save Dejah Thors (yet again), but at least he’s back to being a main character…
9) “Synthetic Men Of Mars” (1939©);  Vor Daj (one of John Carter’s lieutenants) must save his future spouse.
10) “Llana Of Gathol” (1948©);  first published in 1941 as a serial format as four separate stories; Llana (John Carter’s grand-daugther) meets and must be saved by her future spouse.
11) “John Carter Of Mars” (1964©);  two novelettes consolidated into a single book and published posthumously;  John Carter fights another “super-intelligent” synthetic man who has (in turn) created a giant synthetic man of his own;  and, the start of a new series which starts a war with the inhabitants of Jupiter.  The series is never completed due to the death of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  The two works were originally published separately in 1941 and 1943 respectively.
The first three volumes make up one complete story.  They are pretty good to very good.  The middle section, volumes four through seven are so-so.  The last four are pretty good again.  Are any of them “realistic”?  No more than the “StarWars” or “Indiana Jones” movies.  Are they entertaining anyway?  Yeah, they are.  I’m very much looking forward to the movie release on 9 March 2012 of the first book.  They are supposed to make the trilogy if the first movie is a big enough hit.  Here’s to smash hits…!!!
One interesting final note:  there was approximately 30 years between the publishing of the first volume and the last one.  It is ironic that it took me a similar length of time to go from one to eleven.

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