R, 1 hr. 52 min. Directed by: Marcus Nispel. Release Date: August 19, 2011.
I never loved the original Conan, although I thought it had some neat fighting scenes and a couple of quotable lines. Who else is thinking about the lamentation of their women? I hope it's not just me. That would be embarrassing. It wouldn't go down as a favorite, but I understood why people liked it. I even thought it was okay to watch it from time to time, although I think I haven't watched the original since college and my buddy Cyprus popped it in.
This has a very different perspective on who Conan should have been and how he should go about his chosen business. It's actually a part of the major problem I have with the choice of star. Someone who's really training with a big ass sword is going to have what I call functional muscle: a man who'd spent his life doing physical labor puts on muscle in a very different way from a man whose physical training comes in the form of a gym membership. I currently live in a small town, one that's filled with farmers, and you can spot the laborers right away. Big guys, yes. Ripped guys? Not usually. Momoa was a nod to the ladies getting dragged to see this, and probably wasn't the best choice as far as casting. Not only was he the wrong build for this role, he wasn't very believable as a barbarian. He was too... pretty. I struggle to support a Conan who looks like he gets a regularly mani/pedi at his local salon. They did scary him up some, but it just wasn't quite enough. He was possibly believable as a stoned barbarian who had recently gotten botox, but he lacked the emotional range that the Governator had. Like fresh botox. You know, when someone's face is so full of the crap that they can't make any facial expressions other than one that might be reminiscent of surprise.
I also struggled a bit with Rose McGowan. She was a bit sexy, a bit strange, and a lot off-putting pretty much throughout the movie. While I suspect that was the point of her character here, I have serious fears that this is how she's going to play Red Sonja next year. Come to think of it, she'll be doing what Ah-nold did: moving from Conan to Sonja, playing different parts for each. I think that sense of the strange and macabre detracted a little bit from the actual danger that her character brought to the story line... and I'm still trying to figure out if there was some sort of Elektra deal going on between McGowan's character and her father.
However, if you, like me, enjoy 80s fantasy, this pretty much keeps to those roots. This wouldn't be the best example of that particular part of the genre, but it's got all the right attributes: there's the strange, exotic, and beautiful locations, the random sword fights, and the kind of Skinemax-ish, soft core sex scene the likes of which I haven't seen since the term "psychological thriller" stopped being soft core in the early aughties. Some of the settings are really nice, although I noticed frequently that the moon is moving in the sky with the clouds (visibly) while the camera angle isn't changing... so someone goofed.
I didn't love this, but there are probably worse ways to spend two hours. I was forced to see this in 3D, which was only a little bit wasted, since the movie makers threw us an occasional 3D bone. It wasn't like Avatar in 3D, where the scenery leaped out at you, but it was better than My Soul To Take in 3D.