Thursday, May 05, 2011

Finding funny words to rhyme with "Conan" is harder than you'd think

Here's the easiest prediction I or anyone else will make all summer: Come August, the most obnoxious strata of the nerdscape by far will be the folks swearing that the awful-looking Marcus Nispal directed "Conan" movie - which has a new, awful-looking trailer below - is in some way superior to John Milius/Arnold Schwarzenegger "Conan" on the grounds that it's "closer" to the original Robert E. Howard "Conan" stories.

I'm not myself 100% sure how one GET'S "closer" to REH's work unless it's a direct adaptation of one of his actual stories - which this new film isn't. The original "Conan" canon is many things (awesome, for example) but what it's NOT is imbued with a particularly dense continuity or consistency. For the most part they are united solely by the fact that the main character (whose profession and disposition change from tale to tale) is named Conan.

Oh, I'm sure that it'll be chock-full of REH references - it's a given that someone calling himself Thoth-Amon will turn up, and that Howard's myriad fictional civilizations and peoples will get name-checked as it goes, and maybe they'll toss in some of the more public-domain-ish Cthulhu jargon if they want to really work people up... but no, that's not enough to make this look like anything beyond the mid-level "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" knockoff it continues to resemble.

Also: Jason Momoa looks like a guy who fronts "totally-brutal" local metal band in Wisconsin but on weekdays works the key-making station at Home Depot - dunno why, but that's the impression I get.


TheDVDGrouch said...

If the music in the trailer is any indication the score along with pretty much everything else in this new Conan won't be able to stand up to the original.

And don't forget if they are make nods to the fans Conan will probably punch a camel at some point.

Scott Glasgow said...

Please, someone superimpose Conan O'Brian into this trailer. It would be an epic laugh fest!

genguidanos said...

Didn't this guy use to have a magical talking phoenix that loved pomegranates and lived inside his shield? Or am I thinking of something else?

Tim said...

Come on Bob.

"They're bonin' the legacy of Conan"

See Bob? It's not hard.

Euler d'Moogle said...

The trailer looks like a really good video game to me. While this would be good if it was for a video game, that's a terrible thing to say about a movie trailer, and since a movie trailer's only job is to try to get me into the theater and watch the movie, this particular trailer has failed in it's task.

Stefan Sasse said...

Well, Momoa ist great in "Game of Thrones", that's for certain :)

MagnaParvusFilms said...

Honestly, outside of Jason Momoa looking terrible and nothing like Conan I'd ever imagine (I'm thinking of the Frazetta covers), I'm happy with the trailer. It looks epic, full of action, plenty of fantastic creatures and enemy, and just a good sword and sorcery movie.
However, I'm still not holding my breath and thats just because of Jason Momoa.

A.J.crowley said...

I'm getting a strong Clash of the Titans vibe from this. I'm not getting my hopes up.

Pity, since I actually think a Conan remake is a good idea. I never really thought the original Conan was that great. For someone who loves himself some violence John Milius is shockingly inept at putting it on screen. The production design is nice, the score is wonderful and the audio commentary with Arnie is pure comedic gold but the action scenes, which is what a film like this lives and dies on, are pretty bland and forgettable.

Chris Cesarano said...

Actually, every analysis I've read from major Robert E. Howard fans in regards to this movie is "God dammit, why?"

biomechanical923 said...

I'm a pretty big fan of Robert E. Howard, and I have no immediate aversion to seeing this. I'm not saying it's gonna be good, I'm just saying we'll see.
Summer action movies have always had an underlying campyness to them, that's kinda part of what I LOVE about summer movie season is that it's not meant to be taken seriously. It's nothing but cheap self-insertion fantasy violence for teenage boys (and that's exactly what the books were for Howard).

It looks like some strange cross between The Mummy / Scorpion King, and 10,000 BC. All awesome (awesomely cheesy) summer action flicks that I have fond memories of.

Dave from canada said...

I'm pretty confident this film will suck just as much as the original conan movies did (and they did suck. Most Arnie movie sin the 80s were terrible. Most arnie movies period were terible. Most 80s movies were terrible.)

What I bet will do the character in is them trying to make him sympathetic. The whole point of conan is that he's largely unconcerned with the outside world, and just wants to do his thing...which can consist of get treasure, kill dudes and bang wenches depending on his mood.

The biggest problem with CONAN films is that they already made 2 pretty decent ones already. Only they were set in space and the main character was called Riddick.

@ Chris

SHH! We aren't supposed to notice that. Just like we aren't supposed to realize Bob is trying to use this as a way to frame loyalty to source material as a bad thing.

A trope I expect bob to invoke many times over the next year and a half.

Dave from canada said...

@ Gen

I think that was Conan the adventurer. The ill advised 80-90 saturday morning cartoon show based off the movies.

Either that of pirates of dark water.

Blue Highwind said...

This trailer really loves that stock scream from "AHHH!! Real Monsters". They play it like three times.

No ARRRnold, no me, I say.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Well, since my expectations are in the toilet, I wasn't disappointed by the trailer or what will be a forgettable movie in general. Looks like it would be a fun way to pass a couple of hours, though. I'm sure it'll be like removing your own fingernails with a pair of pliers to Mobivebob, but I know he's strong enough to take it

Joe said...

I'm reasonably certain that like every other film, TV and animated adaptation of Conan, this film will have very little to do with REH's work at all. Pretty much all of them were terrible. Only the first Milius/Schwarzenegger film was good (thanks in large part to one of the best film scores ever composed), and even so, it was good as a sword & sorcery epic, but not as a Conan story.

All of these want to make Conan into a grim, brooding figure trying to avenge his family. REH's Conan was boisterous and full of joie de vivre, but I guess an ale-and-wenches-motivated swashbuckler/rogue who gets caught up in events beyond his understanding just doesn't appeal to modern film audiences.

Nevertheless, we don't get many sword & sorcery flicks these days, so I'll probably check it out just for that.

Chris Cesarano said...

Also, to who said Momoa is bad at his role in Game of Thrones: I dunno, a role where he just has to look angry and not talk seems like the sort of thing the guy was born for.

Joe said...


Yeah, he's pretty much playing Drogo from the book to the letter. Can't really disagree with that.

ZAENGO said...

mamoa's good in game of thrones. i dont have an opinion about this movie.

Smashmatt202 said...

I recall hearing that just because a movie is more faithful to its original source material, that doesn't make it a good movie.

Ryan said...

Audiences must be groanin'
After seeing the trailer for Conan
The Howard fans will be justly moanin'
After Nispel gives this franchise a bonin'

Rhys said...

It almost took 30 years and we've still fucked up, I can't believe we are still hearing electric guitars in fantasy film trailers, god I hope they don't let that into the score. (95's Kull the Conqueror anyone?) the best we can hope for at this point is renewed interest in the franchise eventually leading to a King Conan film, Kurt Busiek updating Milius' unused script from 2001? with Arnold playing King Conan in the late film scenes? I can dream.

Lee Kalba said...

Co-nin O'brian, Co-nan of Summaria. Those don't rhyme at all.
Words that rhyme with Conan (the latter):
spam (sort of)
You get the idea.
I wonder if the animated version of Red Nails was any good.

Dave said...

Jesus Christ, Bob! It's a few minutes of edited-down footage! Do we really see enough to judge? No, so quit yer bitchin'. By your logic, the film is "awful-looking" because of what little we've seen so far of a movie that's at least 1.5 hours long. Yeesh. By that logic, movies like Bayformers are bound to be awesome because they have really purty-lookin' trailers.

But of course, you won't admit to that logical fallacy because you're being selective on which trailers are OK to bash for being pretty or ugly and which ones aren't.

So cut the crap, Bob. We barely see enough to judge.

Other than that, I've never really cared about Conan so I honestly couldn't give a shit either way, but I'll see the movie if I've got time to kill and nothing else is out that's more worthy of my money. Then I'll judge it on its own merits AS A FILM, and not give a shit either way how true it is to the source material.

That's called "being objective".

Yeesh, people...... :/

Joe said...


You're right. The best adaptations are the ones that recognize which elements from the original medium will work on film or TV, which won't, and which need to be approached differently. TVTropes (warning! TVTropes link!) calls this Pragmatic Adaptation.

But good adaptations maintain at least the essence of their source material. You can say that about the Harry Potter films, the Lord of the Rings films, the Watchmen film. Even bad adaptations can get that part right.

The Conan films and TV adaptations have nothing to do with Howard's stories. They use the names of places and a few characters, and ape Frazetta's art style (which itself, while brilliant and iconic, also took liberties with the source material). But they explore themes that are very, very different to REH's. It's like Starship Troopers, only the filmmakers don't realize they're making a satire.

Like I said, I still really like the first Milius film, and Destroyer is good for a laugh. But they're Conan in name only.

Martín Cerón said...

Like Dave from canada said, the Riddick movies seem to better grasp the original (from the books) Conan character ethos.

And like Euler d'Moogle said, looks like a good video game trailer.

I'd say The Witcher answers that idea like Riddick does the movies.

akkuma420 said...

This looks awful... I wish they would just get Arnie to make "King Conan" and just make everyone happy and be done with it. This is crap and will NOT be seeing this... in theater at least :).

CraftyAndy said...

Someone care to explain how this movie looks anything less then bloody violent entertaining.