Thursday, January 1, 2009

Conan the Barbarian

Is a fucking great movie. It is awesome pulp fantasy.

Movies are the sum of many parts; music, costuming, writing, art direction, cinematography, sound design, location scouting/set construction, physical performance, fight choreography, stunts, special effects, editing. One or a few of those being bad don't condemn a movie. If you say CtB has shitty acting I don't agree(it's not good for sure) still I can accept that's your opinion and it's valid. But if you say CtB is a horrible piece of crap solely or primarily because it has shitty acting my response is that you're a shallow twit.

Note how accuracy to source material isn't even on the movie parts list. Cause accuracy to source material doesn't matter one whit to the art and appreciation of movie making. It's a creation of academics and fans so they can show others how very knowlegable they are. I don't give a flying fuck if CtB portrays Conan the Cimmerian "correctly"(whoever gets to decide that? Oh, it's you, self-appointed fantard), follows the plot of any story written by Robert E. Howard, or even if it has the "spirit" or "style" of the Conan yarns. No ZOMG! his hair isn't black! Look it says right here on page one! "He ran his fingers through his streaming black mane" If I want Conan as R.E.H. envisioned him I go read R.E.H. It's completely fucking stupid to expect a different art form with the creative input of dozens to be an exact copy of what you perceive the source material to be.

I can't fathom how someone's opinion of a movie depends on its title and name of main character? If your argument against CtB depends on it being called "Conan the Barbarian" vs "Rogar the Barbarian", you're way too much of a pretentious anal fanboi. And I bet if it had been named the latter you'd be whining about how the writers of RtB ripped off Conan

Conan the Barbarian would be just another ok fantasy action flick except for Basil Poledouris. His blood pumping, soul stirring score elevates CtB to awesomehood. Battle of the Mounds fucking rules, I literally can't stay still and seated when I listen to it. Star Wars is another movie that wouldn't be nearly as great without its excellent score.

Regarding pulp fantasy: ancient snake-god, snake cult, orgy, cannibals complete with giant pot of body part ghoulash, black lotus, thievery, debauchery, brutal & bloody, few against many, fast-paced and action rich. How can you not see it?

Quit putting your expectations onto something and then bitching when it doesn't meet them. Enjoy things for what they are and in return get more enjoyment out of life.

Contemplate this on the Tree of Woe.


  1. Yep, it's pretty much a kick ass movie. Definitely a high water mark in the S&S genre.

  2. I've always enjoyed my films as "escapism" and entertainment as well, although I think there is some relevant thought that movies make up a huge part of our "mythology" much as plays, poems and writing do - hell, there's even a valid argument for comic books being a mythology telling device for our time. Anyway...

    The one person I really love watching in CtB is James Earl Jones. I get the sense watching him that he had a helluva lot of fun making that movie. He always has a presence around him and Thulsa Doom is how I'll forever see an evil priest.

    And I have used that same phrase more than you might think ;)

  3. I definitely agree that faithfulness to the source material is not a deal-breaker. CotB is full of great ideas, memorable one-liners, and impressive set pieces. That's good enough for me.

    If you dig Basil Poledouris' score for this (and who wouldn't?) you might want to check out 'Flesh + Blood,' another sword bashing film from the era. It's more of a historical fantasy than pulp fantasy, but I thought it was an interesting film. I think the DVD has a feature on Poledouris as well.

  4. Glad to hear I'm not the only fan. This was mostly in response to a couple of posts bemoaning no good fantasy movies (and a few more total rants about random other stuff that put me in a pissy mood.)

    @dan Flesh + Blood: I'm a total unabashed Rutger FanBoy. I dug how muddy, miserable, and violent it portrayed commoner life to be. I hadn't realized Poledouris did the soundtrack.

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  6. totally rocks, and yes the score is brilliant. I have the CD and have used it as thematic background for gaming for years.

    As for authenticity, who cares? Just accept it as a ripping yarn. If you want cannon dogma (as good as it can be), well "there is a price Barbarian..."

  7. A-fucking-men, brother!

    Just like Poledouris' score, your post has got my blood pumping. I've seen a lot of people spouting off about how horrible this movie was, about how un-Conan it was, or about what an aberration it was, but I've never understood it. I first saw it at the age of 16, and it's been one of my favorite films since. (And I'm a big REH fan - so it's not like I have no clue "how Conan should be.")

    Thank you for putting my thoughts into words.

  8. This movie does indeed kick ass. Thursday was REH's birthday and I put up a column on my blog Friday about how this movie is a great example of the classic Revenge plot.

    Despite the criticisms of the canon crowd, I'd like to think that if you could pull REH forward in time to watch the movie with a few beers and some good company, he'd agree that it's a hell of a lot of fun.


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