John Carter prologue rides into the hills

Disney has released a ten minute clip from its upcoming fantasy adventure film, John Carter.

The ten minute scene covers the exposition in the opening of the film, explaining where John Carter comes from, and what brought him to the mysterious circumstance under which he was teleported across space and time to an ancient Martian civilization. I don’t consider revelation of the exposition to be spoilers, but in case you do, be warned.

The release may be in response to some of the criticism of the trailers, which have so far shown very little about John Carter’s life before Mars, but whatever the reasoning, it’s a good compliment to the clip we saw last week, in which we watched Carter fight in the arena alongside Tars Tarkas.

We get to see that some touching up has been done to the opening of the story, adding a bit to Carter’s character, making him more gruff, and giving him some more elaborated motivation for his general apathy at the human condition, a trait he must overcome throughout the story.

In the original A Princess of Mars, John Carter, an American Civil War veteran turned prospector, is set upon by natives in the wilderness of the American West. Left for dead in the brush, John is whisked off to Mars, Dorothy-style. There he meets the Martians, who are vying for control over the scarce resources of the dying planet.

There have been a lot of rumors lately, mostly started by rival studios, that Disney was throwing away money on the production of this film, but the more I see, the more I’m convinced this isn’t the case. Plus, the multiple featurettes and trailers the studio has released over the past couple weeks are sure to generate more visibility and buzz.

The latest synopsis is thus:

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes “John Carter” – a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). “John Carter” is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. 

The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.

John Carter, starring Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights), Mark Strong (Green Lantern), Willem Dafoe (Miral), and Lynn Collins (Drift), his theaters on March 9, 2012.