Sunday, November 11, 2012
The ex-porn queen in the Princess Leia cosplay contest at the Olive Gardens of Mars!
Before Disney's ill-fated John Carter, there was Princess of Mars(2009), a very low budget direct-to-DVD film made by The Asylum, and is not authorized by the Burroughs estate. They could do this because the novel itself is now in public domain. The Martian ruins were obviously an old western set, the Martian landscape was a hours drive outside of Los Angeles, and the Martians themselves were a poor combination of rubber masks and some old costumes left over from some old gladiator film. No more than six or so martians were seen in any one shot, close up, so they must have had only six decent rubber masks. The rest must have been much cheaper and were only shot from a distance.
Let me be clear I love their films. They are horrible, but fun. And free on SyFy Saturday nights.
Some favorites just off the top of my head...
Mega Python vs. Gatoroid
Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus
Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus
And my personal favorite, 2010: Moby Dick. Former Xena sidekick, Renée O'Connor stars and utters that iconic first line, "Call me Michelle."
Well nearly the iconic line.
Many Asylum films, are designed to be very sinilar in content to a big budget counterpart, Snakes on a Train, Almighty Thor, AVH: Alien vs. Hunter, The Da Vinci Treasure, The Day the Earth Stopped, Paranormal Entity, Transmorphers, Pirates of Treasure Island the list goes on forever. They often take advantage of public domain, Journey to the Center of the Earth, War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave, Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls and of course Princess of Mars.
Last summer as Disney released their John Carter on DVD, Asylum RE-RELEASED their version of Princess of Mars(2009). Obviously hoping to take advantage of the big-budget version's coat tails with their low budget mess, they even retitled it "JOHN CARTER OF MARS." I laughed out loud when I first saw the dvd at my local Target, "Apparently hoping to take advantage of all the financial success" And of course they were, the situation made humorous only because of the outrageously unfair criticism the film received. Listen we can argue all day whether or not it was a good film or not, whether it was a good adaptation or not. But many critics called it the worst fill they had ever seen, and said many people walked out. I've seen worse films. I saw worse films that were in the theater at the same time as JC. I'm not saying Ghost Rider 2 was the worst film ever made, but it certainly wasn't any better than John Carter, and it certainly wasn't the worst film ever made either. Battleship, Green Lantern, Cowboys & Aliens, Conan, Tron? No Oscar winners either but arguably no better than John Carter, at least in the same ballpark.
When a critic says a film is walk-out-of-the-theater-bad. I don't expect to see people walk out AT THE END OF THE MOVIE, muttering, "...that was kinda fun, what was so bad about that?"
Many fans, and online peer review sites have liked it very much, many enjoyed the film, despite flaws, and no one I know who has seen it, says it was the worst film they have ever seen. Most liked it.
So this brings me to my point.
I was at Target again last week and I saw the Asylum John Carter DVD marked $5, next to other crap, and even big budget theatrical movies marked down to $5, $7 even $9.99. No copies of Disney's John Carter to be seen. And it occurred to me, that this might actually be the first time, Asylum's product will pass for the mainstream counterpart because of all the unprecedented criticism. People sitting around watching it, thinking, "Wow, this really was as crappy as the critics said it was." As they look at the Olive Garden sets, used gladiator costumes and six rubber masks, they will never get the deeper meaning. There is a deeper joke in there somewhere, that not many will ever know. Asylum finally made a film that will be able to pass as it's Hollywood counterpart, even if only for the critics perception of that Hollywood version movie and not the movie itself.
Who has time to explain it to them anyway, when there are dozens of Asylum movies to stream on Netflix!
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