Monday, August 22, 2011

CONAN: Movie Review with me and the kid.

I took my oldest son with me to see Conan over the weekend.

Shut up. It was in 3D and after the first 20 minutes he wouldn't wear his glasses so he missed stuff (like slave girls). He did get a little scared when Ron Perlman (Conan's father) died.

Anyway, I wasn't going to take him but he was dying to see it. After it was over I asked him what his favorite part was.

The squid monster. - I knew he would say that, he is a sucker for Lovecraftian monsters.

What was you second favorite part?

The squid mask that the bad guy wore. - I should have known considering his propensity for squids and its squiggling when he put it on... (the battle standard looks almost the same as the mask)

OK, besides those things what was your favorite part?

When Conan was a kid and beat up the Picts. - That I can get behind-I'm just proud he knows who the Picts are.

I'm going to try and stray away from comparisons to the old one-they're different enough and the should'a beens for REH's works-all of us that know, know it should have just been an adaption of REH but it wasn't so...

What I liked - Costumes were great and looked real/used/functional etc etc. The action was relatively good and the fight scenes were well choreographed. Momoa was an able Conan-not great, but able. Stephen Lang was good, as a bad guy, and a lot of the extras were reasonably good too.
The settings were epic (reminding me of LOTR in some scenes) and that is all relative in that I am glad we saw real sunshine and not the fake matte 300esque look that I have come to despise. It was alright for 300 but that was trying to mimic Frank Miller's graphic-but other movies should not keep following that look.

As a Sword & Sorcery film (and not a purists vision of Robert E. Howard's Conan) it was all right.

What I didn't like - I am not comparing this to the old Milius/Schwarzengger Conan but...that one had the most excellent movie score by Basil Poledouris-one of the best ever. Conan 2011 had a score that was simply there-it wasn't terrible, but is anyone ever going to recognize it? NO, it will get used  (or was used) for some other movie and no one will ever know.
The heroine (If she can be called that) Rachel Nichols is about as forgettable as they come-I'm glad Conan rode away leaving her behind at the end of the film. She wasn't even convincing as a damsel in distress. Rose McGowan at least you know she is a bad girl-I can buy that, but Nichols? Meh.
The storyline was like one of the lamer Savage Sword story lines except that it had to be a full orgin story and thus dictate the main characters entire lifetime thus far. Meh. Why, oh why, must Hollywood think we have to always have an orgin story? Give us a break.

And what really got my goat-what was with those pronunciations? How did Acheron become ASHeron?
Conan = CoNIN? Cimmeria - SIMMER-ia?
Reminded me of the old Bakshi animated Lord of the Rings when all the characters started called Saruman = Aruman? Like we are gonna get him mixed up with Sauron.

And what was with Morgan Freeman as the narrator at the beginning? Was he bringing some kind of grandfatherly dignity to the prologue? That could have gone to anyone with a good voice and then that doubtless dumptruck load of money could have paid for a better composer for the score.

And finally though I didn't want to bring up comparisons to the old one-the 1982 film had several iconic moments, and lines...the 2011 doesn't. Nobody is going to quote anything from the new one, the lines just aren't there. There is no "What is best in life..." quotes.

I do have to admit that director Marcus Nispel has improved over earlier efforts (that should have been good but weren't = Pathfinder). I am going to chalk it all up and say, I would watch it again someday (but I rewatch lots of movies), I would welcome a sequel - that in theory should be superior. This is ultimately a guilty pleasure movie, but not a great movie, even for an avid fan of the genre.

Now go watch IRONCLAD.


Paul R. McNamee said...

Sad to admit, but I just couldn't get enough enthusiasm to go see this over the weekend.

That says a lot.

The reviews are all over the board, I guess I won't know what I think or have much to say until I see it. I am getting a "retread" vibe from most of what I've read - whether that retread is other movies or video games.

Thanks for your review. Probably best you did bring your son, probably made it more enjoyable for you.

Charles Gramlich said...

A well thought out review with the kind of detail that really helps viewers. Too often it's just "it sucks" or "It's amazing." I will probably see this one, but most likely on ppv.

David J. West said...

Pretty much Paul, he was on the verge of tears when he thought I was going without him (which I was)- his incredible excitement does make things more bearable-same with when we went to Clash of the Titans.

Charles-I wouldn't blame you. But hey I got to see the John Carter preview in 3D.

Mikeyboy said...

I jus finished IRONCLAD and was delighted at the Historical true depiction of the unwavering cruelty by certain English despot Kings over the years. We know that they were all mostly power mad...HENRY VIII and Longshanks and King John...cruel tyrants all.
I did not have a favorite scene...I enjoyed the entire film as a whole. It's History. The final battle where the sword is broken by the axe and then used to triumph anyway...I wish we could have see more of JOHN suffering after all the horrors he wrought.
But dying of disentary is no easy way to go.
CONAN...I will give my opinion in a review soon enough.
My recommendation for you...ARN...another historical film...I do believe the film "Kingdom of Heaven" was loosely based on the real life events depicted in ARN...check it out. ( Unless you have already? )

David J. West said...

Mikeyboy-excellent. IRONCLAD had a shoestring budget (Are you paying attention LIONSGATE?) It would have been cool to see more of Paul Giamatti but I read that he was only on location for like 3 days!

I have Kingdom of Heaven and thought it was reasonably good.

Bruce D. said...

If you haven't, check out the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven. It adds 45 minutes of material, including a complete subplot deleted from the theatrical release. This version raises the movie from average to very, very good.

As for Conan. No comment. I'm Conan'd out :)

David J. West said...

Bruce, I hear ya. I saw the directors cut and meant to buy it but have yet to-I'll make it a better point to track it down now with your recommend.

as for Conan...we kinda knew what we'd get. I'm trying to look on the brightside.