Tuesday, May 31, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 16

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Today is "A Movie that is a guilty Pleasure".  Truth be told this was originally going to be yesterday's entry of "Mean Girls" because of the stigma attached to it at the time and the fact that I am not by any means its target audience, but I realize that I don't really feel guilty about liking that movie, and prefer to endorse its consumption rather than be conflicted about it.  I am not really a herder and have the capacity to hate things people consider classics ("Bladerunner" which I reviewed a bit later in this series) and I have no problem liking things people consider to be goofy ("Wayne's World"), dumb ("Road Trip"), just incredibly far fetched and awkward.  Today's entry fall into the category of far fetched and awkward, it is "Conan:The Barbarian".

Nostalgia Critic's take on the movie, and its shitty sequel.

            I am a big fan of the concept of character distillation, this is when you take a character with a lot of continuity and artistic iterations and rather than try to get everything exactly right you instead focus on the core themes of the character, and then do your best to present an original direction for them.  "The Dark Knight" does this with Batman, it presents him as a sci-fi detective that utilizes his martial arts and the bat totem to fight crime, he does not murder and does his best to preserve the lives of even the most evil of adversaries.  By focusing on these core elements they can add characters or vary the role of the supporting cast on the story to create drama, by making Gordon, Dent, Rachel, Fox, and Alfred all go through a variety of personal conflicts and arcs while still having the big conflict of Joker remain at the center.  This also allows new bat mobiles, new gadgets, new back story, and new character looks to happen while still remaining true to the core of the character mythos.

Get used to me referencing this movie when it comes to adaptations.

            "Conan: The Barbarian" while at its core a silly action movie has big shoes to fill.  Conan as a character predates Batman and has been portrayed in short stories by legions of writers and at numerous periods in his own life, and in the life of his mythological world of Hyperion.  He has been a pirate, a thief, a king, a warlord, an exile, a bandit, and a drunken lover of women.  Creating a movie that would represent all of this would be thinly spread and disjointed, instead "Barbarian" focuses on him doing what he does best, killing wizards who represent the oppressive nature of theocratic domination of man.  He also bangs a lot of chicks and punches acamel which is cool.

Also, lots of snakes.

            This movie is immature at parts with boobs, and random encounters with plot pointless bad guys, a lot of supernatural weirdness for the sake of weirdness and at one point there is a giant vat of split pea soup that has human hands and heads added, presumably for flavor, so that orgy goers will have something to munch on.

And there is the main bad guy with the captive princess.  This came out the year before "Return of the Jedi".
            Most people also look at Arnold Schwarzenegger as both a good and bad pick for the role, being physically correct, but his accent leaving the audience wondering where Austria is in the Hyperion era of fictional history.  Strangely I don't have this problem, and I never do.  In spite of the fact that I do lots of voices and accents when speaking, leaving some to think that I have multiple personality disorder, I don't really pay attention to them or care about them unless they are some kind of plot point, they aren't here, so I ignore it as it doesn't get in the way of Conan telling his god, Crom to go to hell.
            It isn't a perfect movie, and I hope that the new iteration of this character coming outlater this year is well done and successful, but I think this movie is a good bit of fun that shouldn't be taken too seriously and enjoyed for what it is, an objectivist rant against theocracies.

Also, the bad guys totally work in my opinion.

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