Sunday, August 28, 2011
My personal opinion is this: If, after watching this film, someone genuinely thinks it's a steaming pile of crap, they think so based on preconceived notions. As a movie, it was good. I enjoyed watching it. The action was suitably intense, the acting was fine (with a few minor foibles), and the visuals were astounding. It wasn't a movie that required you to turn anything off, other than rabid-fanboyism (regardless of what you're a fanboy of).
That being said, it was definitely made to be a rehash of the 1982 film in many ways. The revenge plot has been done, and I would have been happier without it. However, it was done well this time. Unlike the 1982 film (which I loved), the raiders who slaughtered Conan's village had a real reason to be there. Not some vague notion about "searching for steel." And in keeping with that, it provided a motivation for Conan to do what he did. Personally, assuming that the events that happened to this Conan were to happen to REH's Conan, he would have acted in the same manner. Throughout the movie, it was never a "quest to save the world." It was always personal. Just because his personal vendetta ended up saving the world, it's still just an unintended consequence. We are shown through some narrative that Conan has been traveling and adventuring for years, without any attention given to this revenge "quest" beyond a passing thought. Basically this movie is an origin (obviously meant to both set up the rest of the film, and also to wipe away the origin presented before) that jumps to a story that takes place in the middle of his career. The story picks up when he sees something that brings to mind the fate of his village. That's when it becomes a revenge tale. And when it's all done, he moves on. His work here is done, now on to bigger and better things.
Most of the details that people point out as weaknesses are minor points, meant to strengthen a weak argument. My only irritation was the design of the Cimmerian swords. They were ridiculously large, and when Rose McGowan hoisted dad's sword, it looked even more ridiculous. You could see they were made of wood or aluminum. An actual iron/steel sword that big would probably weigh about 25 pounds. But, meh. It's a minor complaint. Over all, it didn't detract from the movie itself. The good thing was that they were consistent. Which was actually one of the film's strong points. For good or ill, everything was consistent.
So, there you go. The opinion of someone who was introduced to Conan through the 1982 film, started reading the Lancer/Ace editions, and then Savage Sword of Conan. I feel I got my money's worth.
I laughed, I (almost) cried, I cringed, I cheered, and I am content.
I just wish more people would have seen it. I would love to see a sequel with Mamoa.