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Scoring MI4 and John Carter [Upd: MI4 SpecEd. BluRay Extras]

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Re: John Carter/MI4 Scored [Updates: JCM Clip, Interviews, A113]

Postby miafka » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:36 am

Just saw John Carter tonight at a screening on the Disney lot (sorry, NO spoilers of any kind).

Having seen it in bits and pieces while scoring it, it was nice to finally see it all the way through and complete -- and to tell you the truth, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

I never read the books (so I don't know the source matieral), and to be honest, if I wasn't involved with the project, I don't know if I would have gone to see the movie (especially with the advertising campaign Disney's been running for it). But in a way, it's kind of a hard movie to market. It's basically an old-fashioned pulp scifi story (the books were written years ago) and because the books influenced so many other movies, I can see someone watching it thinking it's similar to, for instance, the original Star Wars.

There's an article in this week's Newsweek saying that with its $250 million cost, it will have to make $400 million just to break even -- and the writer compared it (without having even seen the movie or waiting for it to open) to Waterworld or Ishtar (two expensive flops).

Knowing all that, I went into the theatre tonight not sure what to expect. And I was pleasantly surprised. The movie IS what it is -- but that's not a bad thing at all, for I found myself really enjoying it. It'll be interesting to see what the reviews say when they start coming out.

As I said earlier, I might not have seen the movie if I hadn't been involved with it (especially with the marketing it's had), so I have no idea how the box office will be. But if you go in willing to accept the type of movie that it is and the spirit it was filmed in, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised too. I thought Andrew Stanton did a great job.

We saw it in 3D, and like recent Pixar 3D films, the 3D adds the other dimension, but isn't overused or obtrusive.

Score was great, and honestly, I thought Michael did a bangup job -- a nice, soaring thematic score.

To the Newsweek writer (who never saw the movie), I don't know how it will do at the box office, but even if it should underperform, my strong sense is that -- unlike Waterworld or Ishtar -- years from now people will still be renting, buying, watching and enjoying this movie. I plan to see it again when it comes out.

EDIT: So far the early reviews from reviewers who are not embargoed to wait until release date have been overwhemlingingly positive (4 or 5 stars out of 5 from what I've seen so far, matching my own opinion of the movie), but Disney seems not to want to change course with their terrible marketing of it, even though it's their most expensive movie of the year, and from a director who has had a perfect track record, including making the most successful animated film of all time (Nemo) when it came out. Once again, it'll be interesting to see the reviews from the major critics soon -- and I'm willing to bet you that along with what will I think will be more overwhelmingly positive reviews, there will be included many words written of Disney's terrible handling of the movie.
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Re: John Carter/MI4 Scored [Upd: John Carter Screening/Reviews]

Postby miafka » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:34 pm

Just a final PS to this thread...
Well, the reviews for JC have been mixed. I have to say that I'm surprised, as I thoroughly enjoyed it. I tried very hard to think about the movie as if I hadn't worked on it, and as if it wasn't a Pixar director helming it -- that it was just some movie I went to go see when I had some time. Would I still have enjoyed it? I have to say, very much so, yes. My one criticism would have been that it of course seemed somewhat dirivitive of other movies -- but as we all know by now, in reality it's the other way around, with more recent films having taken their inspiration from the story that created this one. I still feel people will be discovering it and enjoying it on video in the coming years.

I picked up the soundtrack on CD as well, and for those who bought the soundtrack online (without the pamphlet), here are the messages from Andrew Stanton and Michael Giacchino. I think a lot of us can identify with Andrew's memories of the past, when we were kids...

For me, the '70s/'80s were the golden era of movie soundtracks. It seemed that with each movie came an accompanying soundtrack album, released in advance, to herald the way for a unique cinematic event. Your mother would drive you to the record store (ask your parents, kids), you would rush home, throw the LP on your family turntable (again, ask your parents) and try to will the unknown images of said movie into existence as your ears consumed the themes, the leitmotifs that were as instantly memorable as the latest Top 40 hits on the radio. I mistakenly took this exchange for granted and assumed it was some unspoken promise between moviemakers and moviegoers. Then, over time, these types of scores just seemed to vanish. I know for a fact that Michael Giacchino grew up the same way and wishes this wondrous experience on every budding filmgoer today. Well, it's one thing to say you want that to reoccur, but to be able to actually make it happen is a miraculous feat. And Michael did it. No other score in recent memory has captured me back to that "soundtrack lover" side of being as his score for John Carter. For that alone, I am eternally grateful to him. But more importantly, his music has elevated this picture to a level of adventure and romance I had never allowed myself to believe possible until now. I truly hope there's at least one kid out there soaking up every one of these tracks in advance of the movie, trying desperately to guess the images they're attached to. If there is, they get to experience the very fire that ignited both Michael and I to make movies. Go get 'em, kid. ANDREW STANTON, Director of John Carter

I've always wanted to travel to Mars. I never knew, however, that it would take a 100-year-old book, the imagination of an incredible director, sharp as nails producers, a supportive family and a music team equivalent in guts and talent to NASA's original space pioneers to get me there. Gratitude and love to you all!! MICHAEL GIACCHINO 2012

Well, that about wraps up this thread, I guess. We had two Pixar directors making their first live-action movies. It will be interesting to see what their next projects (Pixar, or non-Pixar) are.
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Re: Scoring MI4 and John Carter [Upd: Special Ed. BluRay Extras]

Postby miafka » Fri May 11, 2012 10:54 pm

Just a short post for those interested in special features on the video...

For some reason Paramount decided to put only a few extras on their normal BluRay release of MI4 Ghost Protocol, so the normal 2-disc BluRay/DVD Combo Pack has only a few extras on it.

However, a colleague informed me that Best Buy in the US (and apparently FutureShop in Canada) were selling an exclusive limited edition 3-disc BluRay/DVD Combo Pack with tons of additional extras on it (basically, the entire 3rd disc is a BluRay extras disc). But the only place you can buy it is at Best Buy in the US, or FutureShop in Canada. Having first picked up the normal bluray set from Amazon, I then got one of these BestBuy exclusive ones as well, and sure enough, it's definitely worth it if you like the movie and want to see a lot of extras (especailly because as of right now, the exclusive 3-disc set is the same price that other stores are charging for the bare-bones 2-disc BluRay set: $19.99).

There are a whole bunch of short featurettes on this exclusive edition, and one of them is one called "COMPOSER". Filmed by Giacchino's son, it's a good 10 mins, and follows Michael around first to orchestrator/conductor Tim Simonec's house, then onto the scoring stage at Fox, and even includes Tom Cruise getting up to conduct the MI theme.

For those who are interested in extras, please note that BestBuy is selling BOTH the bare-bones normal 2-disc bluray set and this excluse 3-disc bluray set right next to each other for (currently) the same price. So if you go into the store looking for the version with all the extras, make sure and look for the ones with stickers on them that say "Best Buy Exclusive Limited Edition 3-Disc Set With over 1 Hour of Exclusive Bonus Content"
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