My friend Leo Grin is fan of film as well as an expert on Robert E. Howard and Conan. He saw the new Conan movie last night. Here’s his snap review (sent by email):
Saw Conan the Barbarian last night. Revoltingly stupid, incomprehensibly plotted and edited, and overflowing with the kind of quasi-erotic torture porn (seemingly pulled wholesale out of a serial killer’s wet dreams) that’s become a staple of both fantasy literature and Hollywood films this century. Easily one of the worst films I’ve seen during decades of painfully slumming through mediocre genre fare — I daresay even Uwe Boll (the ham-fisted director commonly seen as the modern era’s answer to Ed Wood) has never made anything this irredeemably rotten. As you know, the best of Robert E. Howard’s pulp tales of the 1930s — which in recent years have been reprinted everywhere from academic presses to Penguin’s prestigious Modern Classics imprint, and which the various silly comic books and movies resemble not a whit — cry out for the cinematic talents of a Akira Kurosawa or a Sergio Leone, men possessed of the same operatic poetry, grandeur, heroism, and thematic depth found in Howard’s original stories. Perhaps someday. Until then? Well, the audience I saw the movie with seemed to have cheerfully low expectations, yet even they didn’t so much leave the theater as recoil from it. You’ve been warned.