Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Conan Trailer

Alert reader Shane pointed me toward the just-released trailer for the upcoming Conan the Barbarian movie.


There's not much in the way of substantive commentary I can offer just yet, but I will say three things that come immediately to mind:
  1. I'm glad this movie has a very different visual look than the 1982 movie, since it -- foolishly in my opinion -- shares the same title with it.
  2. Jason Momoa doesn't look too bad as the Cimmerian. He's still not quite right (no blue eyes that I could see), but he's closer to Howard's character in my mind than Schwarzenegger.
  3. At least they're pronouncing his name properly.
Beyond that, I didn't see much that made me think this will be anything more than a swords-and-sorcery B movie with a famous name attached to the title. If we're lucky, it won't do active violence to Howard's world and characters, thereby leaving open the possibility for better sequels, but I'm not holding my breath.

37 comments:

  1. That's the coolest trailer i've seen since "Clash of the Titans." Oh, wait…

    I think we (which is to say, Howard fans) need to be honest — if it was announced that they had selected four of the original Conan stories as the basis for this film, we'd all be complaining that they should have picked different stories. It's a given that the look of this film is going to go way beyond the dramatic palette that REH employed (i stopped trying to keep track of things exploding in the trailer). However, reading between the lines of the preview, i think the potential for capturing the proper feel of the character and Howard's world is there. Whether the film meets that potential or not will have to remain to be seen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I retract all my previous comments on this film, this trailer (always iffy to rely on their accuracy) has me at least interested in this film.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. REH always described Hyperborera with a mix of cultures and time periods, so in that sense I think the art department looks like they did a good job. I also like there's some bits of hong kong style to the action choreography ( I can definitely see some Jet Li/ Tsui Hark influences in a few shots). But man, does Momoa's acting look absolutely atrocious. That alone kills it for me to fork over $12 bucks to see it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I say that as long as its not one of those films that they put EVERYTHING that is worth seeing in the trailers it has good potential.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If this movie does nothing except put a little tiny dent in the number of people pronouncing his name Co-NAHN, I will count it a triumph.

    I'm looking forward to it as an S&S movie. I figure if I approach it with that attitude I will give it a fair shake to entertain me. And if it actually turns out to be a movie about REH's Conan I will only be all the more excited.

    I will say, though, that I'd love to see any fantasy movie -- Conan or otherwise -- that embraced the scope of the Conan short stories instead of going for EPIC, EPIC, EPIC.

    I'm thinking something even more focused in its scope that The Thirteenth Warrior: Take one of those Conan stories where it's just him and the girl or him and a pirate crew against some unspeakable horror. You could really ratchet up the tension with something like that.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awesome!!! Pretty stoked that this guy came out of Hawaii. Lots of talent from the islands have finally been making it to the mainstream.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Meh. The Hyborian Age (not necessarily Hyperborea as crowking above suggested) has so much to offer. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow; they used that "YOURAGG!" scream at least three times in that trailer.

    For reference: http://youtu.be/hf6_hok4-lo

    ReplyDelete
  10. Why do the women roar like lions when someone pulls their hair?

    I don't know what it is about this trailer that I don't like, perhaps an over-reliance on action? It definitely reminds me of the Clash of the Titans remake for some reason, but also makes me think Gladiator. Honestly, if that woman hadn't said "Conan!" I wouldn't even know that was what this move was about.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Are those old "Rome" sets at 0:33?

    I think, pass. I already saw all the films the director is ripping off.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm sure it will be fantastically mediocre. I'll Netflix it someday. I've seen Mr. Momoa in "Game of Thrones", his acting style resembles that of a block of wood.

    "At least they're pronouncing his name properly."

    I didn't know there was a general problem pronouncing "Conan" (rhymes with "low man"), which probably means I'm pronouncing it wrong. One thing you can count on in fan circles is that if you are not aware of a controversy you are on the "wrong" side of it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well it certainly seems more interesting that Scorpion King I or II. Hopefully it will be much better than Clash of the Titans. As someone who teaches mythology for a living as a university professor, Clash of the Titans was...painful, if I am being kind.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jason Momoa has the acting talent of Schwarzenegger, without the ability to deliver "Arnoldism" one-liners. So there will be little difference in the leads between the two films.

    The fact that people want Conan to be anything other than a B-movie fails to account for the fact that REH didn't write literature, he wrote PULP FANTASY.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What's wrong with B-movie fantasy? That's what I grew up on! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Production values-wise, it looks excellent, but I really wish they hadn't gone for the overblown epic-fantasy "the fate of all Hyboria hangs in the balance" thing. I guess they feel that, if it worked for LotR, every fantasy film, to be successful, has to have that kind of scope and those kinds of stakes-- source material be damned.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'll enjoy it for what it is and not get too worried about the rest.

    Minor quibble: I do really hate the "whole of Hyboria" line (admittedly without full context). Although REH described the time-period of Conan "The Hyborian Age" that word described a group of people descended from common linguistic and ethnic roots... *not* a land-mass, empire, etc.

    There was no common 'Hyboria' in REH's tales. Each country considered their own political interests and fought amongst the other 'Hyborian' nations as well as the non-Hyborian ones.

    The reason it was the 'Hyborian Age' was because the various Hyborian peoples dominated the socio-political landscape.

    If they try and portray the continent as one vaguely unified 'Hyboria' (even in basic conception and not political reality) it will greatly water-down the world they're trying to portray.

    But I will say: Tentacles=GOOD! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. "I didn't know there was a general problem pronouncing "Conan" (rhymes with "low man"), which probably means I'm pronouncing it wrong."

    You should pronounce it the same way you would for anyone else named Conan - e.g., the talk show host or the guy who wrote Sherlock Holmes. For some reason many people insist on over-pronouncing it, like the name is more exotic than it's intended to be :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. @cibet: yes, you're pronouncing it wrong. It's pronounced exactly the same as Conan O'Brien's name. Rhymes with "Bone in".

    I am back to sheer pessimism after being enthused in the teaser to hear a line straight out of Queen of the Black Coast.

    But this is nothing more than the bog-standard fantasy trope of "evil army sweeps across the world and a hero rises."

    Conan is not a hero. He never was. The scenes in this trailer don't even look to be a good representation of the world. The original two movies I could justify by pretending it was a different Cimmerian named Conan, because at least the WORLD was well-depicted.

    Sigh. We'll see. But this is depressing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @Osskorrei: hear, hear! "Hyboria" is my second-biggest pet peeve about people's perceptions of Conan these says (the first being that awful mispronunciation of his name).

    THERE IS NO WORLD OF HYBORIA. THE PLANET IS EARTH. IT'S THE HYBORIAN AGE.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You should pronounce it the same way you would for anyone else named Conan

    Succinctly stated.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sigh. We'll see. But this is depressing.

    Strangely, though I'm not exactly cheered by this trailer, I'm not depressed by it either. I think it's clearly going to be a B-movie action film that just happens to borrow elements of REH's stories in a haphazard fashion -- which, frankly, is a step up from what I thought it was going to be.

    ReplyDelete
  23. THERE IS NO WORLD OF HYBORIA. THE PLANET IS EARTH. IT'S THE HYBORIAN AGE.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm thinking something even more focused in its scope that The Thirteenth Warrior

    That'd be awesome, but Hollywood will never do it. They seem hung up on the idea of "epic" films when it comes to fantasy. I blame Star Wars for this fixation.

    ReplyDelete
  25. 'The fact that people want Conan to be anything other than a B-movie fails to account for the fact that REH didn't write literature, he wrote PULP FANTASY.'


    Seriously? So, because the author was writing what you consider to be base tripe, bad filmmakers can just run roughshod over it in an effort to 'elevate' the material? Or, they can just phone it all of their effort, since there's nothing deep or involved within the story?

    I seriously hope that I misunderstood you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Agreed, CC. Speaking as someone with a degree in English, I abhor this idea of "literature" vs. "Genre." In my experience, so-called "literary fiction" or "great literature" quite often isn't that great; it's only declared so because people have been declaring it thus for decades.

    The idea of assuming a haughty, superior, holier-than-thou attitude about Howard's fiction because some stuffy intellectuals in academia haven't declared it of literary significance is abhorrent to me. I've heard PhD's define "Literature" as "fiction that examines the human condition." If that's the case the Conan stories are every bit as literary as Moby Dick or anything Dickens ever wrote--certainly they're as rich in theme and subtext. The medium through which they were published and the tropes of the stories told are moot.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I mentioned this here before, but I was defending this movie because I know someone who worked on it, and he's really good at what he does, so I had high hopes.

    I mentioned to him the last time I saw him that I was defending his work, and his reply was, "Please don't. It's not really my work any more."

    Apparently, as usual, "the suits" got ahold of it and turned it into something that was never intended.

    Typical Hollywood.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Yikes, was that a Howie Scream at about 0:50?

    When will people learn to stop using that?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Looks like it will be an entertaining S&S flick, and there's nothing wrong with that. I grew up on them. This will be worth a rental and a bowl of popcorn for late-night viewing on the couch.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I will expect it to be a big disappointment, and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Like some others here, I thought that even if the 1981 film missed a bit on Conan himself (and I don't especially agree that it did), Milius at least pegged the world dead-on. If you showed me this trailer and didn't tell me it was about Conan or the Hyborean Age, I wouldn't have guessed it.

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  31. Personally, I love the REH stories... among my favorites. However, I (shamefully) admit that I enjoyed the original Conan movie. The new one looks slightly more true to the "character", but I'm sure that the story is a typical Hollywood mish-mash of various Conan short stories. I've set my expectations VERY low, so I'm sure that I will actually enjoy the movie to some degree. I would simply suggest that everyone else do the same, since swords and sorcery movies are few and far between (...thank god for books!).

    Word verifiaction: "Comen"... no kidding.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think we (which is to say, Howard fans) need to be honest — if it was announced that they had selected four of the original Conan stories as the basis for this film, we'd all be complaining that they should have picked different stories.

    Yes, we would. But that's what happens with ALL adaptations, and it doesn't stop filmmakers from attempting to faithfully replicate the plot, characters, setting and themes. When The Lord of the Rings came out, of course you got Tolkien fans complaining that Legolas should have dark hair, or that they cut out the Barrow-Downs, even the Bombadil supporters - but they at least had a story that was recognizably based on the book, character you can tell were meant to be characters from the book, and settings based on settings from the book.

    What are we getting here? A vague sense of a fantasy world that could really be anywhere from Howard's Hyborian Age to a post-apocalyptic future earth, featuring characters not found in any Howard tales, in a storyline completely invented for the film. I think there's a profound difference between that and even Jackson's alterations to The Lord of the Rings.

    I also like there's some bits of hong kong style to the action choreography ( I can definitely see some Jet Li/ Tsui Hark influences in a few shots).

    Gotta say, when I'm reading Howard's action scenes, I'm not imagining wire-assisted Wuxia action choreography...

    If this movie does nothing except put a little tiny dent in the number of people pronouncing his name Co-NAHN, I will count it a triumph.

    YES. A thousand times yes. You have no idea how many commentators think Rachel Nichols is "mispronouncing" Conan, and even attributing the "new pronunciation" to Conan O'Brien.


    I will say, though, that I'd love to see any fantasy movie -- Conan or otherwise -- that embraced the scope of the Conan short stories instead of going for EPIC, EPIC, EPIC.

    I'm thinking something even more focused in its scope that The Thirteenth Warrior: Take one of those Conan stories where it's just him and the girl or him and a pirate crew against some unspeakable horror. You could really ratchet up the tension with something like that.


    I call it Epic Syndrome: the mistaken assumption of filmmakers attempting to emulate the success of The Lord of the Rings by copying all the wrong things - i.e. that it's the sense of scope and scale, and Ultimate Evil that Threatens the World, and An Unlikely Hero Must Undertake A Quest, and all that.

    Now, there are some Conan stories that are definitely quite grand in scale, but these tales are when he's a general, warlord or king, and the stakes are naturally on the army/kingdom/world scale: in the early thief stories, it's far more intimate and contained.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Why do the women roar like lions when someone pulls their hair?

    Erm, it isn't the women, it's the seven-foot man-beast played by Nathan Jones. (Forgive me if that was the joke and my sarcasm detector needs a tune-up)

    I didn't know there was a general problem pronouncing "Conan" (rhymes with "low man"), which probably means I'm pronouncing it wrong. One thing you can count on in fan circles is that if you are not aware of a controversy you are on the "wrong" side of it.

    As has been stated before, Conan is pronounced in the same way anyone with the name Conan is pronounced. It's a real Gaelic name. For whatever reason, the 1982 filmmakers decided to pronounce it differently from the way one pronounces Arthur Conan Doyle, Conan O'Brien, Saint Conan, Detective Conan, and the various Dukes of Brittany. Not to mention this is how Robert E. Howard himself pronounced the name.

    There's no controversy, only the people who are wrong and the people who are right.

    The fact that people want Conan to be anything other than a B-movie fails to account for the fact that REH didn't write literature, he wrote PULP FANTASY.

    Oh, joy, one of my favourite fallacies. May I direct you to this video:



    Howard wrote pulp fantasy, pulp fantasy is literature, ergo, Howard wrote literature. Even if you mean great literature, well, Howard's work is collected in the Library of America and Penguin Classics, which are two organizations dedicated to collecting and publishing the very greatest in American and world literature respectively. I think they know a little something about great literature.

    ReplyDelete
  34. "...that word described a group of people descended from common linguistic and ethnic roots... *not* a land-mass, empire, etc."

    Technically the land mass the Conan stories took place on (which was an earlier and arguably somewhat smaller version of Eurasia and Africa) was called "Thuria" by Howard. So the line probably should have been "all of Thuria" or something like that. I guess I can see why the writers might not have wanted to introduce another weird word, though.

    ReplyDelete
  35. BTW I believe they just should have filmed "Hour of the Dragon." That story has it all.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Fantasizing here - I'd love to see a skilled trilogy of adaptations (i.e., faithful to intent and content except for when the medium of film requires changes...not dictated by suits, commercial concerns, etc.) of these three stories:

    Queen of the Black Coast (for a younger Conan with piratey goodness)
    People of the Black Circle (for a more mature Conan, psuedo-Vedic mysticism, and the Devi Yasmina)
    Hour of the Dragon (for King Conan in all his glory)

    With "Beyond the Black River" being the encore fourth film.

    It'll never happen but the thought makes me happy.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.