Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Conan the Disappointing

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

First off, let me state that the title of this post is just for fun with the old pastiche titles. The movie was disappointing. Conan, as played by Jason Momoa, I really enjoyed.

Finally saw it tonight.

Pretty much what I expected and how I expected to feel about it. I did really enjoy Jason Momoa as Conan - far more accurate than Schwarzenegger ever was.

The young Conan stuff was great. After that - not so much. Way too much riffing off other fantasy tropes. I don't mind pastiche, I can take pastiche if I can't get Robert E. Howard, but I need good pastiche that feels like Conan's world, not some other place. I want a story of Conan in Hyboria, not some run of the mill fantasy riff. The story was far too loose.

The opening narration was far too similar to Lord of the Rings. They damn near lost my attention right off the bat.

I could make a list, but let's just say one other thing that got to me - and I don't know if it's been riffed on much - was the sorcery. The Sand-Dead-Warriors whatever the heck they were. Hyborian sorcery should be treacherous, black candles, chambers in the bowels of the earth, flitting shadows. That 'spell' was pure The Mummy meets Jason and the Argonauts.

I would enjoy Momoa as Conan in a tighter, more faithful story.

Current box office numbers might mean that is a pipe dream.


  1. You're right Paul, I completely missed the sorcery in my gripes.

    Robert E. Howard's sorcery has a cost, nobody just mumbles away and creates fantastic things out of nothing.

    IF Marique could do something that powerful-why not do it all the time?

  2. @David; Exactly. Fantasy Storytelling 101. You can establish any rules of magic that you like, but they are rules and you need to be consistent. Never mind REH - the story wasn't consist within itself.

    The only (lame) excuse I can think of, for a lack of magic at the end, is that Marique was prepared for the ambush at the temple, but not for an attack by Conan at the end. Which, of course, is a glaring hole because they took Tamara and they did nothing about Conan - knowing he would come after her & Zym?

    And many threads unravel from there...

  3. I definitely like his look as Conan. So much more accurate than Arnold. Good to hear he has the acting chops too. One of these days we'll get a really good one.

  4. @Charles; some detractors say Momoa was stiff, but I don't see that (and hell, who could be stiffer than Schwarzenegger?) I also heard Nispel is a one-two takes director, and you're dealing with a t.v. actor who probably expected more takes to nail down the lines.

    Helluva lot of potential.