By Popular Demand – Disneycember

Doug looks at Mars Needs Moms, Muppet Treasure Island, and John Carter.

By popular demand, Doug takes a look at one of the most requested movies to be reviewed by him, Mars Needs Moms.

By Popular Demand, Doug takes a look at Muppet Treasure Island.

By popular demand, Doug takes a look at John Carter.

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

45 comments

  1. I felt like I enjoyed John Carter pretty well. You have to go into it with the mindset that it’s based on early science fiction like stuff like Flash Gordon and that it’s basically a superhero story along the lines of Superman, but I thought it was a pretty enjoyable fun film and while I can see why it didn’t get popular, I kind-of do wish it would have gotten more attention than it did.

    • Actually, John Carter set the precedence for stuff like Flash Gordon, Superman and Star Wars. The Barsoom Saga was highly influential to countless writers and artists of pulp fiction, fantasy, science fiction, comic books and even real-life scientists and astronauts. Basically, Edgar Rice Burroughs took an otherwise stuffy genre form England that was full of overt social commentary, and Americanize the %$#@ out of it. 😉

  2. I actually really enjoyed John Carter (enough to buy the Blu-ray). While it does stray from the storyline of A Princess of Mars to some extent (based on what I’ve read so far, anyway), I think to a large extent it HAS to. I haven’t finished reading the novel, but I have read At the Earth’s Core, Pellucidar and The Land that Time Forgot, and I’m not really sure you can stick to the book stories too closely when making a film.

    The issue is that Burroughs serialized these things, so they’re written as very episodic narratives. Adapting the story to a film requires changing it enough to give you a three act structure, which I felt the movie did that rather successfully.

    Is it perfect? No, but I certainly never felt it deserved to be one of the biggest bombs of all time. It’s cliched of course, but when the source material is a century old…well, yeah, that’s going to happen. I think a large part of the movie’s problem was that by the time it was made, a lot of people didn’t even realize there WAS a book, and I don’t think any of the trailers even brought up Burroughs’ name, so instead of being looked at as an adaptation of a classic, highly influential piece of sci-fi, it was instead just looked at as a cliched summer blockbuster.

    This is all just my opinion, of course, and for those who hated the movie, I’m not trying to say your experience isn’t just as valid as mine.

    • From what I hear, John Carter fell victim to another example of studios learning the wrong lesson. They cut ‘of Mars’ from the title because other recent movies with Mars in them bombed and they decided moviegoers weren’t interested in Mars. They missed the fact that those movies bombed because they SUCKED! Thus we got simply ‘John Carter’. Not exactly a title that inspires you to go see a movie.

  3. I recommend this. Like the books? Eh… the books were… like they were. Amusing, but schlock. Like the film. So, it’s in the spirit.

    Did you like Stargate? You’ll like this.

  4. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    OK. I saw the ending and the last few minutes of John Carter and its seems like something I would enjoy and it sucks that it didn’t get much love(probably because it was a pg-13 Disney action movie and parents despised to take there kids to it like The Lone Ranger which is stupid and I don’t really get how people didn’t mind star wars the force awakens but guess that’s just me givin it was a huge success but I still liked it).

    Muppet Treasure Island definitely seems like it would be one of those direct to DVD Muppet flicks if they made it today and I’ve been meaning to see it since Ursa’s video came out but guess now is as good of a time as any to see it.

    But yeah definitely not seeing Mars Needs Moms,Like,EVER!!!!!

  5. HOW ABOUT A NEW RULE?

    No one is allowed to bitch about the “cliches” in adaptations like ‘John Carter’ or ‘The Three Musketeers” because those are the classic stories THAT THE CLICHES ORIGINALLY CAME FROM.

    If a story originated or was an early adapter of a trope, it is not being derivative. Rather, its the plethora of other stories that came after that are copying it.

    • I agree. Unfortunately, it seems this crop of critics on the Internet like Doug Walker, sometimes Lindsay Ellis, even Chris Stuckman occasionally, think they know everything and if they don’t it’s not worth looking up.

  6. WHERE. IS. HOMEWARD BOUND I AND II?!

    CRITIC…..!!!!!

    • First of all, it’s Doug Walker, not his character.
      And second of all, I think he doesn’t really care about it. Even if he did care, it would still not fit, because there are only THREE popular demands a year.

  7. Kind of a shame that “Mars Needs Moms” destroyed the motion-capture techniques forever. Because I had this great idea for a Disney film based on some other book that I have longed to make into an actual movie someday using the motion-capture technology (believe me, I would’ve used it to its advantage). Or, who knows, maybe they might find a way to bring it back and I could actually use it again at some point. Or who knows if I would have to rebuild it to use it myself. But oh well, I do hope it comes back at some point so I can make the film I want to make.

    The really sad thing is, I actually PAID to see this movie with my family for Mother’s Day, and I kinda felt for it!
    After seeing reviews of it, I can’t believe I actually watched this film in theaters!

  8. Re: John Carter: SOMEBODY CALL THE DOM, GET HIM TO DO A “LOST IN ADAPTATION.” :p

  9. Doug, do you ever read anything? I mean, just in general?

  10. That lizard-dog thing reminds me of Bizarro-Krypto from Superman TAS.

  11. I’m a big fan of the Treasure Island story, so I do have a lot of the adaptations on dvd and, like many often adapted stories, they all have their strenght and weaknesses. And still my favourite Long John Silver IS Tim Curry.

    He’s just perfect for the part. Curry truly embodies the term “devilish charm”. And in a lot of ways, John Silver is a devil type character, tempting Hawkins to the sinful way of life and manipulating people. But of course, Silver also has a redemptive streak (“I always liked you boy. Hope you didn’t think I lied about THAT”). Hey, he’s one of the all-time greatest villains played by one of the alltime greatest villain actors. Like you said, Doug, a match made in heaven.

    (Btw, as for my favourite version of Treasure Island I must say that the one with Christian Bale as Jim Hawkins is probably the technically best one, though I find it faltering in parts in the most important aspect, which is the relationship between Jim and Silver. But hey, it also has Christopher Lee as Blind Pew. And that’s awesome times ten).

    • The 1990 version is my favorite version as well. Its definitely got my favorite Ben. (Who was a major flaw of one of my other favorite versions, Treasure Planet.)

  12. I enjoyed John Carter enough as a fan of the books, I really didn’t even mind the changes they made to the world. What I could NOT was John Carter himself!

    This guy was supposed to be a boisterous, cunning, jovial, knightly, Herculean badass that made Saxton Hale look like Kangaroo Jack! The guy was a crusader that would take up a cause at the drop of a hat. Instead they turned him into Connor Mcleod’s emo cousin! I wanted to see a square jawed old school hero, by modernizing him they ironically made him typical and removed what would have made the character interesting. If you want to update an older Gary Stu pulp hero by giving him flaws and imperfections, fine, but when speaking it aloud “his family was killed” probably should have been there signal to go back to the drawing board.

    • That being said, yes Doug is right, the connection between Tars Tarkas and John is very believable. That was such a key part of the book that when John found his friend again in the second book, it was actually kind of a touching moment. That such a friendship can spring not only between species and vastly different cultures, but under such strained conditions is part of why I ended up rooting for the both of them more than Dejah and John’s romance.

      . . . Okay I’m not shipping Tars and John (what would that even be called, TarCarter? CarTarkas?) just that I really think that part of the adaptation worked really well.

      Again, I did enjoy the overall movie, just really took issue with the changes to the eponymous hero.

  13. thatchickwithlonghair

    When I heard the synopsis for Mars Needs Moms, I was shocked and couldn’t believe Disney would even go there. Just……NOPE. Terrible idea.

  14. I haven’t read the book but I did read one of the comics, and I can see where the movie might have been better if it was more like the comics.

    In the comic, the Green Martians are basically orcs with 4 arms and the Red Martians are pink. And everyone is half naked.
    In the movie, the Green Martians look pretty good but the Red Martians are… Slightly tan. “Slightly tan” is NOT an alien species!

    As for the title. Princess of Mars is interesting. Hey, sexy alien girl! Maybe she’ll fuck Kirk or something. But “John Carter?” If the poster for that movie is the first time you’ve ever even heard of the Princess of Marss books, that name means NOTHING!

    Imagine if Captain America; The First Avenger was titled “Steve Rogers”. Who the hell is Steve Rogers?

    Having said that; eh wasn’t bad.

  15. Seth Green was originally the voice of the kid. (It was pitched up.) He made it to the first trailer. Then it was redubbed with a real kid. I’m guessing people responded very negatively to his voice on the kid.

  16. I quite liked John Carter, to be honest. Sure there was nothing spectacular to it, but there was nothing really bad to it either, it was just a fun little B movie that knew it was a fun little B movie so simply gave us the jumpy shooty alieny action we wanted.
    I think its problem comes from its source material. The John Carter books are around a hundred years old, no exaggeration, which meant a lot of the tropes they used and passed on to the film were fresh and original then but feel stale and overused now because so many people have copied them. Called John Carter derivative is like calling the Lord of the Rings trilogy derivative; it -invented- those cliches, everything else is derivative of -them-

  17. I’m surprised John Carter has mixed reviews and people find it average. I thought the movie was hated critics and audiences which was why it didn’t do well.

  18. What I find funny is how john carter presents mars’s gravity better than the martian,a movie that is supposedly hard sci fi.

  19. Come to think of it, wouldn’t this make John Carter to Mars what Superman is to Earth? And Carter was created some three decades before Supes.

    • Yes…funny that…not like one was an inspiration to another or something…that’d be like the funny books taking influence from the pulp rags like Doc Savage or something…

  20. 2 things I liked about Mars Needs Moms:
    The fact that the alien he teams up with speaks and acts like a chilled out hippie because she learned English and about human culture via hippie comedies from the 70s.
    Despite the uncanny valley problems I found some of the emotional scenes very effective. I especially liked the moment his mom comes out of her sleepy haze and realizes where she is.

    For me, Muppet Treasure Island is aaallllll about those awesome songs!

  21. Mars Needs Moms has one of the fucking weirdest design choices when it comes to the female aliens, because for some odd reason, they are all packing the same booty as Nicky Minaj. No, seriously, once you noticed this, it won’t go away, I watched this movie about a year ago, and it still bogles my mind how they look weirdly sexual with their asses.

    Also, John Carter has one of the most interesting, well designed and cool aliens i’ve ever seen. You just see so much love and dedication being put into this green race of aliens, their culture and customs, traditions, religion, seriously though, i wanted the whole movie to be about them. Then come the humanoid martians, and it all goes to hell, but hey, the green aliens are a constant throughout the whole movie and the guy that portrays Carter is kinda cool. Only the princess was lame, and cliched up the ass, but regardless, i’m quite fond of this movie.

    • Meh. The books (the three that I read) were the same, with many different shapes of Martians (or Barsoomians as they would go by…), and several more that didn’t factor in here. And the movie didn’t even get into stuff like the air purification factory or the eponymous “Gods of Mars”.

      Gonna have to disagree with you on John and Dejah. Ms. Thoris was at least adequate, Mr. Carter was a bland lead that was largely uninspiring.

  22. If the animation wasn’t so creepy, I would probably check out Mars Needs Mom.

    I actually haven’t read Treasure Planet but since I saw Treasure Planet, I know the story. LOL. I might check this out sometime though.

    I actually LOVED John Carter. I saw it in theaters. I wish that it did better.

  23. Glad you didn’t hate John Carter. I have to agree with you on the…fine opinion.

    Was hoping we’d get Mighty Joe Young this year, but oh well. Maybe next time.

  24. I list Muppet Treasure Island and The Three Musketeers among my favorite movies. I’ll watch those until i die.

    I was able to catch a bit of the middle of John Carter before I had to go to work once and it was really cool.

    Just my two cents.

  25. Mars Needs Moms, didn’t see it and from your description it’s more of a commentary on sexism taken too far as anything that is not of your gender is less than you are.
    ANYTHING that has the word “Muppet” or “Muppets” to me imediately looses all interest, I’ve never been a fan of the muppets and the closest I came to liking them was Muppet Babbies and literally the ONLY TWO things I remember about that show was you never saw the nanny above her waist, and the episode where they got grounded to the couch there were long beeps as it scrolled through all of them sitting on it ending with Miss Piggy having the last half of a rant.
    John Cart I feel gets a worse rap than it deserves, it’s visually appealing, it’s story is there and complete, and overall it’s a decent movie. It coul dhave been done better, but compare it to a similar movie with a similar theme, Avatar (Ahem Fern Gully in Space), and John Carter clearly stands out as just an overall superior film. Is it a very good film? No, but it’s still a better one and it just needs more people to appreciate it more and the other a bit less.

  26. Yeah, me and my sister watched John Carter on for the first time a month or 2 ago and we both thought it was a pretty fun romp.

    Shame it did poorly, it wasn’t anything new but it was far from bad.

  27. Didn’t you already review “Muppet Treasure Island”? It seems so familiar. I thought it was pretty good (the movie). John Carter was just okay. I think you thought the same thing. I haven’t seen “Mars Needs Moms”, but I shouldn’t expect you to just review every bad movie as the Nostalgia Critic.

  28. The thing with John Carter of Mars isn’t just that it’s an old story series, it is THE old story series. Most of the tropes of modern sci-fi and superhero stories come from it in some way. I liked the movie too, but I guess since it had a such a legacy to live up to it couldn’t help but disappoint.

  29. Ya know what I wanna see next, a Disneycember of the Disney channel. I wanna know Doug’s thoughts on stuff like That’s So Raven, Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana, that sort of thing. That’d be awesome if he could do that.

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