|Directed by:||Marcus Nispel|
|Written by:||Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Andrew Lobel, Sean Hood|
|Cast:||Jason Momoa, Ron Perlman, Stephen Lang, Leo Howard, Rachel Nichols, Rose McGowan, Said Taghmaoui, Bob Sapp|
|Genre:||Action, Adventure, Comic Book, Fantasy|
Finally got around to seeing the new Conan and can't believe it was actually this bad.
While not a totally horrible movie it just reeks of mediocrity in most places and in others just makes all the wrong decisions. For instance blood. Blood is a huge issue in this movie because it totally utilizes it in such a wrong way that it removes the viewer from the experience and instead makes them raise their eyebrow and go 'what?'. It's like they saw that they had an R-rating after the fact and added in all this needless, unimpressive (most of it is fake CG blood) and distracting blood that just didn't make sense in most places. There's one scene when a man falls onto a pile of snow from a standing position and when his head hits the ground about a litre of blood explodes from it. It's just laughable really. It's silly, it's not 'badass', it's not entertaining and actually the opposite, it's just lame and sad to see something so poorly executed.
I love blood and gore and R-rated action movies but this is one movie that really did NOT need to be rated R whatsoever. In fact if they went with a PG-13 rating this movie actually would've been much more effective (less distracting and silly) and with that would've been able to reach a larger audience as well as have a lower budget (a lot of the CG that was used for fake blood wouldn't be there).
The story is generic and as the second and third acts go on just a bit silly and unfortunately uninteresting right til the credits roll. Because of that you never become invested in the characters to care if one dies or what, which makes the climax disappointingly uninviting and cold. Aside from that the climax itself is a major disappointment that did not make sense to me. It seemed the main villain was actually weaker in the climax than he was in previous encounters in the movie, even though he had now acquired the great godly power he had been searching for for years, which made absolutely no sense and just rendered the whole backstory and journey almost totally pointless. There is also a bunch of totally pointless CG monster moments that shouldn't have been there such as the underwhelming magic sand people or the even more underwhelming tentacle thing. These are things that I'm sure just pumped up the budget even more which is unfortunate as these moments are unneeded and just feel a bit out of place. Because of these moments the movie actually feels quite a bit like the remake of Clash of the Titans, though unfortunately in the end it doesn't even match that.
On the other end of things there is some positive to be found, and that is the first act of the film. I was surprised and delighted to see them spend a pretty solid chunk of time on a young Conan, instead of the usual disappointing 5 minute youth segments most movies give us. Strangely enough these parts are by far the best of the movie and the star of the movie isn't even in them. Ron Perlman was great as Conan's father, which really surprised me. As much as I like Perlman a lot of the movies like this that he's in seem cheap and silly. However his portions in this film only elevated the film, it felt real, it felt gritty, it just felt right. The first act still features some unneeded and totally silly uses of blood but aside from that it's miles ahead of the rest of the film.
Overall Conan is just a hugely disappointing and misguided movie. There was absolutely no reason it needed to be rated R as the elements that got it that rating actually detracted from the experience along with the budget (with a smaller budget we could've had less silly tentacle monsters, less sand people monsters, less crappy CG blood and overall just a better more focused film. Oh, and less distractingly funny and pointless Morgan Freeman voiceover work. Yeah, really.) On the positive side of things though the art direction, costumes and makeup range from good to fantastic (though plucked eyebrows and white as light teeth are very annoying, distracting and detracting from the experience) and I was really impressed by them. Aside from that and the first act with young Conan though the movie is a total letdown that could've been a very solid start to a new franchise. Not recommended.