So, I went through a very important Geek Milestone yesterday. I watched, for the very first time, Conan the Barbarian.
. . . hee hee hee . . .
I didn’t feel like writing out a full-on review for Conan, but I couldn’t help but jot down a few spoiler-free notes, listed here:
RANDOM CONAN NOTES
1.) Oh, voice-overs. I need to make the list of voice-overs that work and voice-overs that sucks monkey ass. Conan‘s voice-over? Yeeeeeah. It’s like the voice-over narration in 300, only 85,000 times worse. And I didn’t like 300‘s.
I particularly liked this bit of helpful (and paraphrased) narration as dozens of orphaned children are marched across the desert: “This is story of woe.” Like, no shit, Sherlock. My beef with voice-overs are when they tell you things that are patently obvious or that you just saw on the fucking screen. I don’t need a voice-over to tell me that a hero has tragedy in his past when I just saw his family and entire village get murdered. (And no, this doesn’t count as a spoiler. It happens in the first five minutes, and it’s in almost every plot description of the film I’ve ever seen.)
Of course, if there hadn’t been a voice-over narration, there pretty much wouldn’t be any sound. The first 30 minutes are practically silent, save for some evil operatic music and the sounds of Ahnold grunting.
2.) Ugh. Speaking of Ahnold grunting . . . Conan the Barbarian should really be renamed Conan the Fornicator or Conan the Porn Star. Seriously, Arnold gets the ladies in this film . . . which, good for him, except that the sex scenes really skeeve me out, particularly the one with this witch lady, Jesus. I tried to disintegrate into my couch just so I wasn’t subjected to their ickiness anymore. There are things I never need to see again, and those things include Arnold and the luv-makin’.
3.) Valeria=Awesome. Valeria is WAY too good for Conan. If I had the body, I would totally consider donning a blonde wig and dressing up in black war paint for Comic Con. Okay, if I had the body, I’d probably pick Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, crazy hair and all, instead. But still, Valeria would make the short list. Valeria= AWESOME.
4.) James Earl Jones also = Awesome. James Earl Jones + Short Little Bangs = RUN AWAY FOR YOUR LIFE! Creepy! CREEPY!
5.) Not sure how long the original film was (we got a version with some additional footage, apparently) but there is absolutely no reason that this movie should be over two hours. Period.
6.) Look, I don’t have childhood nostalgia going for me on this film. I’m not prepared to defend it to the death the way I would for other, cheesetastic films (Mortal Kombat for example.) So, I like it, and I don’t. I read someone else’s review trying to sell me on how deep this movie was, and I prepare for flames here, but deep? Sorry, buddies, this isn’t deep. It doesn’t need to be deep. It’s Conan the Fucking Barbarian. Who’s looking for philosophy here?
On the upside, this is what I do like: Conan The Barbarian isn’t wink wink, nudge nudge. It’s not cartoony, and it’s not for kids. It’s a swords and sorcery fantasy for adults. It’s kind of hard to find fantasy for adults, at least lately. We got LOTR and that’s about it. Later Harry Potter films, maybe. When it comes to 80’s fantasy, I prefer Ladyhawke, personally, but I do dig the serious violence Conan‘s got going for it. There’s some brutal stuff in here that is pretty awesome.
On the negative side, it’s just . . . it’s long. I know I said this already, but it’s reeeeallly unnecessarily long. There are about 8,000 montages in it that easily could have been shaved down, and I think it would have been a better movie if it was even twenty minutes shorter. Because I was amused, definitely, but I was also creeped out and sometimes, bored. I’d definitely watch it again with friends to giggle, but I don’t think I’d ever buy it.
7.) Also? CONAN PUNCHES A CAMEL IN THE FACE. Love.