Tuesday, 17 April 2012

2 Weeks of Movies - Conan the Barbarian and the Disappointing Lack of Camel Punching

I love talking about the things I love - get me on the subject and I'll analyse a game or movie for hours. My husband and I will sometimes get into geekilicious debates about the true nature of the Force, or exactly what the ending of Mass Effect 3 is all about, or why we really hate Duncan, then suddenly find that half the night has gone.

So, when I joined the local Blockbusters and was informed that I could now enjoy a free movie rental every day for two weeks, I thought reviewing them would be a great start for my blog. 14 free movies! A great opportunity to watch a bunch of things that look interesting, safe in the knowledge that if they fail miserably, at least I haven't lost anything except my time. And no movie is ever really a complete waste of time. Or that's what I thought, until I rented 'Monsters'. But more on that one later.

For now, on to the (not so) good stuff... my first film...

Conan the Barbarian - 3/10

(potential spoilers)

Yikes. Not a good start to my movie fortnight. This film was awful.

Where to begin? Well, Conan himself was all wrong. Sure, he looks like a barbarian. He’s got muscles. But that’s about it. He didn’t have the Conan charisma. And what was with the eyeliner? He felt more like a ‘pirate Conan’ than anything else, but a bit of a boring pirate if we’re honest. Many people seem to be saying that at least he looks a better Conan than Arnie did. Not necessarily true, as Conan comes from the land of Cimmeria, which would roughly be equivalent to our Britain or Ireland (Conan is an Irish name, and the Cimmerian gods also have Irish names. Conan’s creator said that the Cimmerians eventually became the Gaels, the ancestors of the Irish and Highland Scots). So he should really look like an ancient Briton, right? Jason Momoa has a great look for Khal Drogo, but not necessarily Conan. Still, that doesn’t really matter to me, if he’d fit into the role well. But he didn’t. And the character itself was badly written. A bit whiny and irritating, a little self-righteous... basically everything you get in the typical modern action hero, which is an antithesis to everything Conan should be.

So, Conan himself did not go down well with me. Neither did the story. It was lazy, boring at points, and often did not make much sense. In summary, evil bad guy and his daughter (Rose McGowan – it doesn’t help that she will always be Paige to me... I kept waiting for the leprechauns to pop out) are looking for a powerful mask that will make them unstoppable. They’re going to use it to resurrect their dead wife/mother, by putting her soul into some pure blood woman of an ancient race who tried to stop the wife/mother in the first place, or... something. When they did finally get the mask, however, it didn’t really seem to do anything. And for some reason they felt the need to get an army to drag a giant boat/battering ram through a forest to harass a bunch of scared girls and one really old and rather useless monk. That kind of overkill just makes villains look stupid, not scary. As do the camp costumes.

Ok, I’m afraid that I’m making this sound like a ‘so bad it’s good’ cheese-fest of a movie. It isn’t. It’s actually kinda boring. Which is not a good thing with a Conan movie. There were so many fight scenes that there was no time for characterisation or plot. I mean, I expect this to a certain extent. I am, after all, watching a Conan film. But this was beyond bad. You find yourself switching off while you watch it.

Nothing really pulled this one up. Not the acting, not the visuals, not the fights, not the music, nothing. It gets three points for being just-barely watchable, and for not making me want to physically throw up. And for not being ‘Monsters.’

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