Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Conan the Barbarian

In the summer of remakes, sequels, unnecessary 3D, and comic book films the latest is "Conan the Barbarian" as the remake of the 1982 original with Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones and Max von Sydow. With the remake we get to see Jason Momoa as Conan and his samurai style of sword fighting. For those not familiar with the story, Conan is on a quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the Cimmerian warrior. What exactly the purpose of this quest is jumps from a personal vendetta against the man that killed his father to a romantic angle, but never focuses on the fact that the antagonist is trying to take over the world. It appears that Conan doesn't realize the magnitude of the battle he is in.

The film comes from director Marcus Nispel who is getting a reputation as the director that only does remakes. The script was taken on by a large group that explains why there are so many jumps in the story leaving it disjointed and requiring a voice-over from Morgan Freeman to piece the story back together. The best part of the film was the opening sequence featuring a young Conan and his father (Ron Perlman) that I have included below. Unfortunately, once Jason Momoa takes over the film falls flat. Even with the beautiful Rachel Nichols, as the pure blood Tamara; and Rose McGowan, as the evil witch Marique, there wasn't enough character development or dialogue to carry the film.

The use of 3D was added in the studio and with many other films that take this cost cutting approach in an effort to capitalize on the higher box office ticket sales it just simply doesn't work. There were many times that the film was lacking brightness so I took the 3D glasses off and it looked the same.

The motto that Conan lives by is to "live, love, slay and be content"; unfortunately at the end of the film I was anything but content. There isn't much that could have saved this film, however I do applaud the effort. It could have been done with the style of "300" or other graphic novel films, but instead it falls closer to a Renaissance Fair. Anything more than a 1 Quack rating would be too generous. This isn't as bad as the others that have received this rating, but it is close. The film attempts to leave things with the option of a sequel, but I would really be surprised if one ever gets made.

(screening date 8/16/11, release date 8/19/11, location Regal Gallery Place)

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