By Crom! Well, looks like trailer week here at eclectickle. It’s all I have time for, really.
Here’s the new Conan movie, all flash-cut with dramatic music and implied gore. Will it satisfy the fans of the classic Arnie movies? I’m not sure that’s possible. Let’s take a peak anyway:
Well, what I can say for the trailer is that it’s leaning toward the feel of the original movies with maybe an even better emphasis toward the original material. Yes, that’s right, Conan was once a character who only existed on the page. However, Cimmeria and the rest of the Hyborian Age lands had a particular look and feel which was formed over decades of illustrated fiction.
Where the ‘original’ movies were a bit of a let-down was that setting. It was the age before world-building in fantasy movies had reached a level beyond simply filming costumed characters in exotic settings. There were no cultural touches on the level we saw in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the RIngs trilogy. Now, that level of art design is a given expectation in today’s fantasy movie-going audience.
So, this Conan looks like it’s going to deliver something approaching that cultural immersion, with the promise of grit and fleshiness. And I like the look of the effects, which are relatively muted (except the flailing thingies) and appear, in the limited frames of the trailer, to make an effort to stay within speculative physics. All of this is important in selling the accepted style of Conan’s world.
But even if this all ‘works’, it will be disregarded unless the real set piece of this movie — Conan — makes the grade. And there’s the mountain they must climb. Will Jason Momoa stand up to Arnold Schwarzenegger? I don’t know. I can’t really say. I know very little of Momoa and have no critical basis on which to make a judgment. Which of course means: I’m going to pass judgment anyway.
I say: No.
He may do a fine job but, much as we slam Arnie for being a wholly sub-standard actor, separating his performance from the character of Conan is an Herculean task. As far as the collective movie consciousness is concerned, Cimmerians have an Austrian accent.
EDIT: Apparently The AV Club agrees with me. However, they are less kind.