Princess of Mars (Review)

Princess of Mars

Directed and written by Mark Atkins

The Asylum are the masters of the Mockbusters, the films released on DVD the same day that films with similar titles open in the theater. We got Transmorphers, The Terminators, and Dragon. Thanks to the magic of the public domain, the first couple of Barsoom books are copyright free in the USA, thus allowing Asylum to get away with this cash in. Surprisingly, this is not a mockbuster of John Carter of Mars, the upcoming Pixar film due out in 2012, but is a mockbuster for Avatar, complete with mentioning Avatar on the DVD cover.

Now, a few of you will not be that familiar with the story of the Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter books. A brief explaination: John Carter is a Virginian and former Confederate soldier who is wandering around the West and goes in a cave, and ends up on Mars, called Barsoom by the natives. He’s captured by Green Martians, who are 14 foot tall green Martians with tusks and four arms, who admire his great strength and hopping ability (a gift from his Earth muscles on the lighter gravity of Mars) and train him up to be a warrior. They also capture some Red Martians, who are human-like except for their red skin. Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, is the main captive, and Carter falls for her and soon they are escaping and lots of fights happen. And everyone on Mars is naked all the time. Guess which part is not in the film! Most of it, actually.

Barsoom – planet of substandard emissions standards

So here at TarsTarkas.NET we have a vested interest in Princess of Mars because there is a dude named Tars Tarkas in it. He’s played by Matt Lasky, who has also left comments on the blog, so we got that going for us.

But the question is…is Princess of Mars a good film? Ha! It’s not the worst thing Asylum has churned out, but it is far from a masterpiece. It isn’t awful, but parts make absolutely no sense. I would have much preferred that they just went with an original story, but, whatever. I can say it is the best Barsoom movie ever, because it is the only Barsoom movie! Yet. I will not rag on some of the CGI or costumes (except when they get really bad…) because at TarsTarkas.NET, we forgive small budgets. We don’t forgive bad writing, so expect that to get pointed out.

Enough jibber-jabber, let’s do this thing, Martian style!

John Carter (Antonio Sabato Jr.) – John Carter is a Marine sniper who originally was from Virginia but gets sent to Mars 216 thanks to the military doing….something….for some reason….never explained. So, yeah, he’s on Mars 216, hopping around, and kicking butt and naming names.
Dejah Thoris (Traci Lords) – Dejah Thoris is the Princess of Mars and Princess of Helium. But since the natives call Mars 216 Barsoom, shouldn’t she be the Princess of Barsoom? Or the Princess of Mars 216? Questions, questions. Traci Lords is not the raven-haired, red skinned Dejah Thoris of the novels, nor does she have the tough, proud warrior independent spirit, instead protraying Dejah Thoris as a more somber, introspective princess.
Tars Tarkas (Matt Lasky) – Tars Tarkas is a Green Martian warrior (Green Martians are Tharks) and befriends John Carter of Mars. Tars Tarkas eventually takes over the Thark clan, because Tars Tarkas rules. The Tars Tarkas costume starts deteriorating as the film progresses, so keep an eye out for that. The Green Martian heads look like artichokes or asparagus spears or something.
Sarka (Chacko Vadaketh) – Sarka betrays John Carter in Afghanistan and is partially responsible for Carter being sent to Mars 216.
Sab Than (It is a mystery!) – Who is the mysterious warrior Sab Than, who is sort of the Princess’s bodyguard, but not really?
Tal Hajus (Mitchell Gordon) – The fat Jabba mofo who runs the Tharks and is totally evil. He also hates women with eyes. Yeah. He gets sliced and diced.
Sola (Noelle Perris) – Sola in this film is just a random Green Martian lady who is friends with Tars Tarkas. She does some pivotal rescuing.

Continue reading

Princess of Mars trailer

UPDATE – Read the TarsTarkas.NET review of Asylum’s Princess of Mars!
The trailer for The Asylum’s Princess of Mars hit the web yesterday, the one day in the past month I DIDN’T check The Asylum’s website for news on the trailer. So once again, The Asylum finds a way to screw me over, this time not even involving making me watch a horrible film! Damn crafty, those Asylum blokes. And they know I’ll be watching Princess of Mars, so they win again. Asylum! Gah!!!

So, anyway, the trailer is here. You need Quicktime, or Quicktime Alternative, which is better. Or just watch this YouTube version of it!

Traci Lords IS Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium

UPDATE – Read the TarsTarkas.NET review of Asylum’s Princess of Mars!
God help us all…

I am sure Jabba the Hutt wants his slave babe Leia costume back!

More Asylum Princess of Mars

Asylum's Princess of Mars poster!

UPDATE – Read the TarsTarkas.NET review of Asylum’s Princess of Mars!
The poster for the DVD of Asylum’s Princess of Mars is up. It’s got giant spiders (Woola?) and the first glimpses of Traci Lords as Dejah Thoris. And notice the Avatar namedrop on the cover.

Asylum's Princess of Mars gets stills!


See John Carter of Mars! And the first Tars Tarkas that will make it to a completed film. Barsoom makes it to movie form! Take that, Pixar! You couldn’t deal with the small fact of public domain! That even means TarsTarkas.NET could make a Princess of Mars film, even though it couldn’t be shown in the UK because it is still under copyright there, IIRC. But, whatever. Asylum is no stranger to doing ERB works, having done The Land That Time Forgot earlier this year (and coincidentally enough, I forgot to bother to review it!)

Production stills uploaded to the Asylum page show us what we can expect from Princess of Mars…

John Carter and Tars Tarkas:

It is beefcake Antonio Sabato, Jr. as John Carter, Doctor of ER! Or something…

That’s a pretty Earthy Barsoom…

Sure, Tars Tarkas has only two arms, but Matt Lasky, who plays Tars Tarkas, has posted comments on TarsTarkas.NET. Let’s see Willem DaFoe do that!

No images of Traci Lords as Dejah Thoris, or any knowledge if she will be red, or if she will be naked. The mind wonders, because Traci Lords is totally not associated with nudity….

Thanks to Undead Backbrain and Avery