Before we get started, I'm going to try to post a new Demise of Film every Wednesday.
When I started Demise of Film, I was a very angry young man annoyed by the rapidly declining quality of modern Hollywood movies. Over the last ten years, I've become a very angry old man who is still annoyed by the even more declining quality of modern Hollywood films. That's what we call character growth, ladies and gentlemen.
However, as more time has gone on, I find myself annoyed with myself and not discussing films that I enjoy.
It probably seems crazy that I had never seen Conan the Barbarian before, especially since I'm a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, there is very good reason for it. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Arnold, he was my favorite actor. I saw almost all of his 80s and 90s movies. However, my parents told me to avoid Conan because it was his first movie and it was terrible. I heeded their advice for years until I got to an age where I realized my parents have no taste.
Upon finding out that John "Red Dawn" Milius was responsible for Conan, I decided to check it out. Now, I haven't read any Conan stories, but I have read all of the Solomon Kane stories, so I feel like I have a good idea as to what Howard is going for with Conan. My favorite thing about this movie was the visual storytelling. Yes, there's a narrator, but I felt he was unnecessary and actually damaged the film if anything. The visuals conveyed things much better that the narrator did and I wouldn't be surprised to find out this was due to studio meddling.
The complaint I had with the Solomon Kane movie was that I felt Solomon Kane was a very mysterious force. I never questioned where he came from and just accepted him as this enigmatic figure that always was and always will be. That movie took that away and tried to give him a backstory.
Conan's backstory is that his family was killed when he was a child, he was put into slavery, eventually he becomes a gladiator and that's why he's awesome at killing dudes. The movie then goes on to tell the story it wants to tell. I really like the sets and the practical effects. This movie is just stuffed to the brim with pulpy elements and that's probably why I enjoyed it so much.
If you like action movies where the dudes escaped Manowar album covers and the chicks escaped Gor novels, you'll probably enjoy this movie. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend you rectify that immediately.