Now that the first teaser trailer is out for the new Conan the Barbarian (2011) I feel it's time to say a few words.
I don't like to say anything if I don't have anything positive to say, but....
Since there has been a trickle of photo stills from the sets of the film I can't say that I've been much impressed with what I've seen. I'll admit that these are pre post production shots meaning that lighting and tinting can be altered after the fact. I can't help but think Si-Fi original TV movie (that's Si-Fi and not Sci-Fi). I think that even more-so with the teaser trailer.
This time 'round, Conan is played by Jason Momoa (from Stargate Atlantis). Mamoa may be a decent actor and he's not as 'bulky' as Arnold, a plus in my book (like my friend Mike says, "he's a warrior not a body builder"), but every time I see Mamoma's Conan I just don't quite see the character of the Cimmarian. Don't get me wrong, he's no-name enough (for me anyways) to play the part (no typecasting here) but that may be less Momoa's fault and more of the director Marcus Nispel (and through him, the art direction, set design and costumes).
Now maybe the film-makers will tint his eyes a steely blue in post, I'm crossing my fingers.
Say what you will about the 1st flick from the 80's but one thing you have to (hopefully) agree upon is that the art direction by Ron Cobb did set a certain Hyborian mood with it's Frazetta influenced sets. Sure, the movie itself may have been more Kull than Conan but the bulky Arnold did work to some extent in the role of the character (in a more Buscema kinda way). And John Milius' took the Howard vision (as a whole feeling and mood) to heart (IMHO) to a great extent. Was that the perfect Conan movie? I'd have to say not but it did get some things right.
Now Hollywood has to break away from the burly barbarian heavy metal over-sized sword concept of the character and redefine it more closer to Howard's powerful yet cat-like thief-warrior-king. I hope they try to do that in the new movie but from the teaser trailer I don't get that impression. Do we have to leave this up to fan films to do right? Has Hollywood failed again? We'll know in a few months.
All Conan fans have a different impression of the character and that may be hard for any one actor or director to satisfy. But get it in the ballpark at least or let it be.
It's a great character, with fantastic gritty stories. Only time will tell if the new movie even gets close to that.
Can't say that I'm overly excited for this one at the moment.
Oh and speaking of everyone's individual impression of Howard's barbarian, my first exposure to the Conan character was when I was about 5 years old when I had the Marvel Treasury Edition of Rogues in the House and Red Nails so I have a very Barry Windsor Smith vision of the one day king.