The Great Lorax/John Carter Hypocrisy

Stephanie Zacharek already kind of addressed this phenomenon in her review, but as John Carter postmortems go, yeesh: "[W]hat's really sad is when you look at the Rotten Tomatoes pages for The Lorax and John Carter. Among 'top critics,' The Lorax has a 48 percent fresh rating, and most of the reviews I've seen have been pretty respectful. (Except for the New Yorker, which says 'The badness of the picture is a shock,' and the New York Times, which called it 'a noisy, useless piece of junk.') And critics pretty much piled onto John Carter — among 'top critics,' it's at 35 percent fresh, with people outright gloating about how expensive it was and how much it falls short. It's like there's a collective agreement that The Lorax is too big and too much of a mainstream juggernaut to call out — but the herd decided it was okay to feed on John Carter." [io9]


  • Andrew says:

    The link's not working right. Had to delete the "movieline" part of it to get to the io9 article.

    Definitely a good read. And I really do think that most of the backlash against John Carter was people wanting to see it fail solely for it's budget or other axes and had nothing to do with the quality of the picture.

    All those articles at Deadline Hollywood talking about it's inevitable failure were written with such glee that I could picture the writer cackling and twirling their mustache as they wrote them.

  • Jake says:

    Too bad too. John Carter was actually a pretty decent movie. Perhaps the hoopla lowered my expectations, but I really enjoyed the spectacle and adventure. Sure it got a little slow at times, but overall I enjoyed it a lot more than something like avatar.

    One thing was for sure, the Disney execs made things worse by not advertising anything but jumping, killing, and bantha type monsters in arenas. I was shocked to discover so much more story there. They should have trusted the story instead of looking at cowboys and aliens and mars needs moms and deciding to pull anything mars or old from the marketing. And pulling the love story aspect. They created a self fulfilling prophecy.

    • j'accuse! says:

      Yeah, if this film is a flop, I'm laying it at the feet of the marketing department, and whoever dictated the name chance. John Carter doesn't tell you anything about the picture, and even in the age of the internet, there's a huge group of people that are too lazy even to plug that into a search engine and explore. Oh, and the first trailer w/ the Peter Gabriel song was genius. The new ads? Agreed w/ you mate.

  • Ed says:

    So true. people just like to bash something that looked out of the ordinary when everyone's doing it.

    • KevyB says:

      No, people are piling on John Carter because it was obviously the beginning to a planned money-grubbing sequelfest. It's Hollywood doing what Hollywood does worst. The Lorax, on the other hand, is clearly a one-shot, it's based on a beloved author WHO'S DEAD, and it's obvious it wasn't created before the posters were made. Besides, most reviews I have read of John Carter go out of their way to say how great the action scenes are, so apparently the bad parts of that movie are just that much more atrocious than the bad parts of The Lorax. There IS a difference between mediocre and aggressively bad, right?

      • j'accuse! says:

        Kevyb, all due respect, but John Carter wasn't "aggressively bad". It was a fine picture, maybe not perfect, but a decently good one that didn't find an audience. Being that you haven't even seen it, there's no need to go off half cocked and elevate The Lorax at the expense of John Carter when you have little to no basis for doing so.

        In fact, if you want to talk about, "Hollywood doing what Hollywood does worst," you ought to be looking at the millions of dollars of merchandising done in connection w/ The Lorax, much of which some would argue runs counter to the message of the film (and certainly the book).

        Overall, dude, if you want to form an opinion of a film, go see it, don't just serve as an aggregate of other people's reviews. We already have Rotten Tomatoes for that.

        • KevyB says:

          This article was about the difference in the way critics are treating the two movies, correct? It's right up there in the title of the article after all. And THAT'S what I commented on, correct? I based mine solely on what I have read in reviews and many reviews say what's bad in John Carter is REALLY BAD. And I've read few that have really found anything as objectionable in The Lorax. In fact, a lot of the complaints about John Carter are about how unoriginal it is in both script and look, comments that cannot be made about The Lorax. Furthermore, The Lorax didn't cost a bazillion dollars to create its original look, yet John Carter did cost bazillions and it isn't the slightest bit original, ACCORDING TO THE REVIEWS. Yes, the marketing was over-the-top for The Lorax (what studio kiddie movie's marketing ISN'T?), but that's not what this article was about, correct?

  • Hiro says:

    One thing that a lot of people aren't mentioning is that -- for better or worse -- people will see movies they want to see, regardless of what the media says, and even regardless of how bad the marketing is.

    While the problems behind John Carter run much deeper than just with the marketing, if people wanted to see it despite any media thrashing or tongue-clucking, they surely would have. Look how many millions of people saw the Lorax and the Transformers movies.

    Then look at the drop in box office gross from John Carter's first weekend to its second. More than 55 percent.

    I know I'm going off on a tangent here, but to bring it all back, a 48 (even if fresh) isn't exactly praise for the Lorax.

    Maybe there's corporate politics involved in how they're not thrashing the Lorax, and the same in how they are scoffing at John Carter. Hollywood and the corporate media both create and inhabit a large, collectively weird, smelly and often corrupt world.

    One could probably write a book, or at least an essay, on the shenanigans going on in Hollywood's money world.

  • Sam says:

    Yup, this article covered it as well ( Disney is really taking on the wrong image here. It's trying to promote to boys, but it's going about it the wrong way. Oh well, I can't wait for Brave to come out!

  • Morgo says:

    I went to John Carter last night. I found it pretty interchangeable with all the other movies about a special fighting man who has to lead a war and falls in love with a princess, such as The Immortals, Conan The Barbarian, Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia etc... it was just the same old story with all the same beats, in a different place. And is it just me or is Sola one of the most annoying characters ever?

  • Max Renn says:

    I'm tired of the "marketing department failed John Carter" excuse. It was an average movie with a ridiculous production budget of at least $350 MILLION dollars. That kind of money should theoretically buy an instant hit movie, but obviously that hasn't happened. Money does NOT buy a hit movie. The lesson is given. Spend less money and more time on developing a GOOD SCRIPT.