Sunday, August 21, 2011

Conan the Barbarian Movie Comments


I'm going to be nice and give this film a B minus, mainly because I am not a major Conan fan and I'm not sure how the true fans will feel about it. I'm more of a Solomon Kane guy and REH's horror and other pulp adventure stories. There are some things I liked about this Conan. However, it just doesn't quite deliver.

I like the guy playing Conan, yet I don't. He certainly looks right, but my impression of the character has always been a bit more of a harder man, mature beyond his years. This actor playing Conan isn't bad, but he could have been better to enough of a degree to have made the movie better. The love interest character isn't bad and though they push the line of the 'woman equal to her man' motif, they manage to stay just on this side of the usual annoying Hollywood depiction of said theme. There was never a doubt that Stephen Lang would be without flaw as the villain, however I'm a bit disappointed in the character Rose McGowan plays. They really should have pushed this one to the limit, with the twisted sexiness and the sadism. It could have been a role that she redefined her career with, but alas it

was not. There is an aspect to the story that requires the pure-blooded priestess (Conan's aforementioned love interest)that I think they could have done better. I won't spoil it, but the pure-blooded gal should have merely been needed for a sacrifice and what they were trying to do through her would have made the movie better if they tried to do that same thing through Rose McGowan's character. As a matter of fact, there is a scene that hints at the theme that would have made the story pop and sizzle, but they blew it. Anyway, if you see the movie, you should catch my logic...

Visually and viscerally, the movie delivers, certainly. I think REH would have approved of those elements, and also the R rating. That I give them kudos for, having the balls to depict Howard's work on the level it was intended. However, the story suffers for the overemphasis on the fighting. Conan isn't Conan without the fighting and violence, but neither is it Conan when the story gets blurry because of it. It was a nice little kick to see so many bare breasts, because Conan's origins are in pulp and boobs are every bit as much a part of that tradition as the gristle and swordplay. This is a movie for boys and men, after all, but smart women with a sense of humor and an understanding of the genre will appreciate it on some level. Nitpicky moms and peace-loving feminists will not enjoy this movie. That's one of things I like about Conan!

I would say that the great Conan movie is yet to be made and will honestly be somewhere between this new film and the Arnold version of the 80s (which also has its flaws). This Conan may be acceptable to fans, but it clearly missed the crowd-pleaser objective.

That said, if they make a sequel, I will give it a chance...

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