Jarv’s Birthday Series: Conan the Barbarian (2011) and the post mortem on the whole damned mess.

 That’s it, I’ve done it! I have reached the end of this epic quest through the films released as close to my date of birth as possible. For 2011, I’m doing Marcus Nispel’s remake of Conan the Barbarian and to be honest, I was seriously worried about this one given the directors absolutely awful track record. This raises the question, though, what do we really want from a Sword and Sorcery Barbarian hero film? Personally, I think that all we hope for is lots and lots of stabbery and when there’s no stabbery to be seen, then we want every corner of the screen packed with Boob. Is that too much to ask? Well, historically, it has been- look at the abortions that are Conan the Destroyer and Red Sonja, for example.

 Before I kick off the review properly, I’m going to state the following things at the top just so I don’t need to go into it again. Firstly, I love the Conan films, and this genre in general. I can pretty much always find something to laugh about when they’re on song. Secondly, and this is just to pre-empt the usual complaint about Conan films: this is not Robert E. Howard’s Conan. Jason Momoa, who plays the eponymous stabbery merchant, is simply too, well, big. Thirdly, it will be compared to Arnold’s original. Finally, I’m not doing the review- I’m handing over to someone more appropriate.

Hello, This is Jarv’s pet rock speaking. I bet you thought we went out of fashion in the 90’s when people realised that it was a scam. However, because Jarv is a secret hipster douchebag, he’s kept me and refers to me ironically and whatnot, but he says that you wouldn’t understand that. I do like it when people make films especially for me, it doesn’t happen very often. It almost seems as if writers and directors overrate my intelligence and don’t simplify films enough. Having said that, though, that nice Mr. Bay is still making films with Giant Robots hitting each other, so there’s always going to be something out there for me. Now, on to Conan, which is right up my garden path.

OK- we all know the score for this film. Jarv informs me that this is based on something called short stories. Are there pictures to go with them, because reading too much makes my minerals hurt. Anyhow, someone called Robert E. Howard wrote lots of them about a very large and angry man called Conan. Conan is a Cimmerian, a large and angry species of Barbarian from, I presume, the North of Hyboria (which is, I believe, the shopping centre near Swindon). Whilst a lad he’s being taught by his father (Ron Perlman with a splendid beard) in the ways of Barbarianism (how hard can this be, I’m a rock and I understand that all you do is insert the pointy end of your ludicrously oversized sword in people). One day, his entire village is butchered by Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang) who is searching for a piece of the mask of whatnot (Antheon? Artheon? Oh, fuck it, something like that). Khalar Zym is basically just trying to bring his wife back from the dead, I’m not really sure why, but he needs the mask and the “pure blood” to do it. He’s also got a magic daughter called Marique (Rose McGowan from Charmed) who has very sharp pointy metal fingernails. I don’t really understand why, but I think she got the idea from Freddie Kruegar. She also has a massive, massive forehead. Even bigger than Mena Suvari’s. Anyhoo, Conan goes away and learns to be a pirate and whatnot, frees some slaves, grabs some boobs, and then sets out to take revenge. He also rescues Tamara (Rachel Nichols), who is the pure blood. Before she gets captured again. He also sees lots of boob, I like boob, and inserts pointy things in people regularly. I like films that do this. 

I don’t ask for a lot in films, really. However, Jarv tells me that I have to talk about a few things to be a proper blogger and whatnot. I’m not sure what that is, but it sounds a bit dirty. The first thing he says I have to talk about is something called acting. I like to think I know lots about films, and I’ve seen all of Overlord Bay’s movies and I’ve never encountered this yet. In Conan, however, I also didn’t encounter it either. Some very big Samoan dude called Jason Momoa plays the Barbarian. He grunts a lot, and stabs lots and lots of people. He’s funny. I like him. Rachel Nichols plays Tamara, and she gets her tits out, so I like her too. She’s also very good at stabbing people. I also like Rose McGowan, Jarv says that she chews scenery quite well, apparently, but I don’t understand this because scenery isn’t edible. Stephen Lang is a bit of let down as the villain. He’s a bit of a drip and doesn’t even have a decent moustache to twirl. 

I’ve also apparently got to talk about the writing. It’s funny. When Conan gags Tamara to make her shut up and calls her “woman” I laughed. He’s not very chivalrous. Also, Zym’s plan seems to me to be very complicated- he’s been attempting to resurrect his wife for 20 years because she has magic powers and whatnot that he needs to become a god, but Miss-teeq is already all magical and can make sand dudes come from nowhere to try to stab Conan. So I don’t understand why he needs his dead wife to come back. Jarv points out to me that it’s inconsistent as well. Some old important sounding dude called Morgan Freeman does the narration at the beginning. Jarv tells me that this is a good thing. Anyhow, he says about how one will be born from battle (He’s talking about Conan) and he is prophesisised to be the one that unites the tribes and fixes the mask. Yet he isn’t. Zym is. However, I’m a rock and don’t care about things like that. Just stabbery. And Boob. 

I’m going to sum up now, because this is getting a bit tired and I’m nearly ready to be put back in my box for a nap, but there is lots and lots of stabbery and boob here. Therefore, I really like this film. It’s very good. 

Bye now.

Murph (Jarv’s Pet Rock).

You get the idea. This is a fucking dumb film.

Nevertheless, it is  entertaining. Surprisingly so. Obviously, Arnie’s original is head and shoulders the best Barbarian film out there, but this isn’t a bad effort at all. Nispel clearly understood the mistakes that the Destroyer and Red Sonja made, so there are oodles of stabbery, and when he isn’t showing people being mangled there’s loads of nudity as well. Momoa actually compares really well to Arnie, to be fair. He’s not as big and doesn’t have the same presence, but he’s vastly smarter, handles a sword well and looks far more comfortable on horseback than everyone’s favourite politician. A very nice touch, and one that I was genuinely surprised at, is that Tamara isn’t just a screaming victim for the duration of the film. Obviously, she does need to be rescued at one point, but before that she gets down and dirty with the violence just as eagerly as Conan does. This came as a complete surprise to me, as I was expecting something more along the lines of the heroine in The Destroyer.

Clearly, it’s massively flawed, the most obvious flaw being that it is cretinous. However, if you can put that aside, and I can, then it’s good fun. There are two other obvious flaws to the film: the first is that it is also clearly an origin movie, and given how much money it has lost there is not going to be a sequel, and the second is that it strives incredibly hard to be “epic”. The narration from Freeman at the beginning is purely to add gravitas to proceedings, and the score is a big, swirling orchestral number that also attempts to craft a sense of grand scale to proceedings. This doesn’t work, and Nispel compounds the problem by searching several times for that “epic” shot, but not one of them is successful.

Overall, this is a genuinely fun time. If you can ignore the problems. I don’t recommend it for a full price cinema viewing, but on the couch with some beer and a pizza, it’ll be a riot. Conan the Barbarian is much, much better than it has any right to be, but even so, it is far too stupid to be properly considered a success. I truly enjoyed it, but that’s because of the sheer amount of carnage wrought by the film. There’s blood thrown around by the bucket load, and Momoa genuinely leaves no body part unsliced. And there’s boob.

At the end of the day, this is all I really want from this type of film, so I give Conan the Barbarian 2 and a Half King Hit Camels out of 4. Well done, and a pleasant way to finish the series.

 

Below I’m taking the chance to look back at the ride that was My Birthday Series. For those that need this concept explaining, roughly April time last year Droid hatched the half-baked idea to review a film released as close to his Birthday as possible. This intrigued me, and when I started to look at some of the films out there it was a healthy mix of films that I hadn’t seen, liked, or had been intending to revisit at some point anyway. The rules of the list mean that you are certain to hit a few stinkers regardless of how careful you are, but on the whole, I was happy with the way the list turned out.  So, enjoy as I’ve put a whole twenty minutes of thought into it.

Before I begin, here’s the list in full with ratings next to it:

Statistics time:

The films on my list had an average rating of approximately 1.9 out of 4, which isn’t too bad really all things considered. There were two films that managed a maximum and two that came very close, scoring a huge 3.5 out of 4. Against this, though, there were some absolute dogs, and 7 films managed to fail to make it up to the giddy heights of 1 Chang.

Awards and Recommendations:

Best Film:

I was really spoiled for choice here. Of the list, the best films that I was lucky enough to see again were Life of Brian, An American Werewolf in London, Blade, and Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex all of which scored 3.5 or above. After much consideration, I think the best film that I saw was the highly regarded, bona-fides classic Monty Python’s Life of Brian. 

Monty Python’s Life of Brian is one of the all time great films. This was, I have to say, a toss-up between this and John Landis’ seminal An American Werewolf in London, but in the end it came down to that I’ve rewatched Life of Brian hundreds of times and still find something brilliant to appreciate in it. A true masterpiece.

Of this list, if you haven’t seen them, I do highly recommend the following in no particular order:

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex, An American Werewolf in London, Hard Target, Teenwolf and Blade. All excellent and highly enjoyable films.

Best Performance: Male.

A tough one this. For a list as strong as this one, there aren’t actually that many showy roles for actors in it. The following are all roles that I considered, but then discarded for various reasons: Bruce Dern in The Driver, Lance Henriksen in Hard Target, Moritz Bleibtrau in Baader-Meinhof, Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson and Stephen Dorff in Blade, and Keifer Sutherland in Freeway. In the end, I considered David Naughton in American Werewolf in London. While not as showy as the other roles, his turn as David is one of many high-points in a true classic, and I also strongly thought about giving it for Greg Kinnear’s turn as Coach Dick Vermeil in Invincible. A pleasant surprise in a genuinely nice film. However, in the end, there’s only really one performance that made me sit up in surprise: Ryan O’Neal in The Driver. His utter lack of acting ability is perfectly used here, and he turns in a career best performance.

I think this might be the only film that you could possibly call O’Neal “cool” in. Astonishing.

Best Performance: Female.

This was also really tough, for different reasons. There are some genuine heavyweight actresses on display here, such as Helen Mirren (twice), Jenny Agutter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Reece Witherspoon and so forth. However, there are three contenders here. I toyed with giving it to either Martina Gedeck or Johanna Wokalek for their stupendous performances in the magnificent Baader-Meinhof Komplex, but in the end there was one winner for me. In a substandard film, this performance earned it half a chang and so full credit to Mercedes Ruehl in that bunch of arse Married to the Mob.

Best Writing:

An easy one this one. In the end it came to a straight shoot-out between Life of Brian, which is magnificent, Freeway or Blade. Freeway took little Red Riding Hood and twisted it beyond recognition and Blade is endlessly quotable and turned a d-list funny book character into a bankable franchise, but there really is no standing against Python here. Clever, meaningful, satirical, downright hilarious and endlessly quoted, Life of Brian is a script that has stood the test of time and still makes me laugh now.

Best Direction:

This is a tough one. I’m not really sure what to go for here. The Driver was sparse and tight, Class of 1984, Hard Target and Desperado were big and bold and made things go bang with aplomb. Reform School Girls was a pitch perfect parody, and Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex is also worth noting. However, at the end of the day, John Landis has had a sterling career as a director, but American Werewolf in London must be the pinnacle. Featuring visual gags galore and the finest transformation scene ever filmed, An American Werewolf in London is a fine example of a director at the top of his game, being tight, scary and an overall blast.

Biggest Surprise.

Again, quite a tough one this. There were several films on this list that I had either not heard of at all, such as The Driver and Reform School Girls, or had heard of and had little to no hope for, such as Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. Not to mention that my expectations for Conan the Barbarian were rock bottom and the film absolutely thrashed them. In the end, the one film that I thoroughly expected to bore me witless, but turned out to be a very pleasant way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon was Invincible. I’d actually written this off as being shite before I watched it.

The Shit List:

Well, this is much easier to do than the positive list, as there’s a fair amount of crap here for me to fillet.

Worst film.

Also a contender for worst film ever made, there’s one clear winner here. While Dirty Dancing was hateful, Christopher Columbus was dismal and boring, My Boss’s Daughter an abject disaster and the likes of Heartbreakers reducing me to tears of rage and hatred, there was only one film that I had THREE fucking attempts at getting through. A film so bad that it marks an embarrassing footnote on the end of a legend’s career and killed a promising career stone dead. Musicals have never been so awful. My worst film is: Xanadu.

Complete and utter shit on every level. Agony to sit through and humiliating for all concerned.

Worst Performance: Male.

There are a fair few candidates here as well. Firstly, Ashton Kutcher continued his mission to be the most pointless human being on the planet in My Boss’s Daughter, Statham forgot to turn his brain on in War, Rourke did not give a shit in Harley Davidson, Michael Beck killed his career in Xanadu, Modine embarrassed himself as the worst FBI agent in history in Married to the Mob and Hauser did a very impressive tree impersonation in The Cave, there was one performance that puts all of these to shame. However, before that, because I haven’t forgotten:  in second place,  step right up Robert Downey Junior for his excruciating and pitiful turn as the shock jock in Natural Born Killers. Having heard him butcher the Aussie accent so badly, I can’t say I blame Mickey for shooting him in the head. He deserved it.

However, worst performance of the lot, in a film that desperately needed some charisma in the lead was massive, massive dickhead Georges Corraface in Christopher Columbus. Not just bad in the film, but genuinely one of the worst performances of all time. Congratulations, fuckhead.

Worst Performance: Female.

Again, a wide range to go for. Sigourney Weaver failed as a sex symbol with a Russian accent in Heartbreakers, Dunst was annoying as all fuck in Bring It On, Olivia Newton-John was, well, Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu, Christ knows what Cheryl Ladd was playing at in Millennium, Katie Holmes performed to her usual level in Teaching Mrs. Tingle, and not to mention the legendarily awful turn from Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. However, there were two performances that stood out as being truly wretched. The first was, naturally, Tara Reid in My Boss’s Daughter continuing her career of being terrible in terrible films. However, she doesn’t win the award, because it wasn’t really her fault. The outright winner of this one, in a truly awful film, is Marisa Coughlin in Teaching Mrs Tingle. A variety of reasons for this, her one-woman Exorcist tribute leaping to mind, but what earns her the gong is that the character is meant to be “acting” at several points, and is meant to be talented. Coughlin absolutely butchers this and her overall turn is truly atrocious.

Worst Writing.

Two many to pick from, frankly. However, head and shoulders below the rest were My Boss’s Daughter, Dirty Dancing, Xanadu and The Cave. All appallingly written cobblers and all can fuck off. However, for me, nothing is worse than Bring it On. Horrible, embarrassing, awful dialogue that grates on the ears and deals in little more than stereotypes from the 1950’s. Borderline offensive, hackneyed crap and, well, I fucking hate this script.

Worst Direction.

I’ll come clean about this one. The reason I put in Best Direction was so I can include this category. The worst direction in any film in this series is Oliver Stone for Natural Born Killers. It’s a bad film anyway, but the reason this is clear loser is that the overly elaborate direction made it physically painful to endure. What little story there was was swamped under stupid techniques, daft camera angles and idiotic moves like animation. Horrible.

Worst Disappointment.

Overall, there wasn’t much in the way of shocks here for me. The only real disappointments were Cal and Fire and Ice which had  winning pedigrees and turned out to be a load of onanistic bollocks. However, one film really was a kick in the bollocks.

Natural Born Killers was a film I loved back at the time, and looking at it now? Why? What a load of utter shit, and I wish I hadn’t rewatched it.

Well, that’s this farrago complete. I will be returning with a couple of bonus reviews, such as the correct 2009 film after the minor cock-up with Baader-Meinhof.

It’s been fun, and I look forward to everyone else finishing their journeys for comparison.

Until next time,

Jarv.

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

130 responses to “Jarv’s Birthday Series: Conan the Barbarian (2011) and the post mortem on the whole damned mess.”

  1. Droid says :

    Jason Momoa, who plays the hippeponymous stabbery merchant, is simply too, well, big.

    hehe

  2. Droid says :

    Well done on finishing the series. Something I’m yet to do.

  3. Bartleby says :

    funny review Jarv. More successful than the Pilgrim review (which felt oddly obssessed with Knowles) and the pet rock thing was clever.

    I agree about Conan. I think I was harder on it than you, but I was less beguiled by the stabbery and more perturbed with the stupidity. As Xi and I discussed over at PCN, when will someone learn that a Conan movie needn’t be stupid? Even the Milius version is guilty of that.

    I’ve been meaning to start my birthday list. Problem with mine is it’s very down the middle. There’s some quite fine movies in it, but nothing that screams masterpiece/classic and nothing that is really terrible either. It’s a pretty well-mannered and reasonable list, which I suppose is appropriate. It will be nice to revisit Greystoke though, and a few others.

    • Jarv says :

      Yup, pleased with this one.

      Also, re stupidity- it’s that the villain’s plot isn’t thought out properly. He doesn’t need his wife bought back to complete his plan.

      There are a few other points of note that I didn’t cover- the first is I am fucking ASTOUNDED that this only got a 15 certificate. Secondly, the Elektra Complex stuff with Rose McGowan’s character felt, well, icky.

      Finally, I think “The Dweller” was a big mistake in the film, and actually is indicative of how badly thought out/ dumbed down it is. Conan has to bust into Zym’s palace so gets his friendly thief to help. I’m fine with this. They then bust in through the sewers. I’m fine with this. They then come out in the watery place to be attacked by a big tentacle monster. They fight it for ages, then climb to the top of the palace to see that Zym, Tamara et al have buggered off somewhere else. Next shot is of Conan walking to the cave. Having got out of the castle that you couldn’t break into without any effort at all.

      So why bother have him break in to the palace at all? It felt forced and completely unnecessary.

      Still, I had more fun than I was expecting with it.

      • Bartleby says :

        yes, it was outrageous in the violence department.

        McGowan’s arc was very icky, and I think the script smells of being dumbed down after the fact. I think the plot was supposed to be: Zim is actually obsessed over his dead wife, and justifies his obsession by saying he needs a powerful witch. Meanwhile the daughter has spent years trying to be the powerful witch dad needs (to win his affection as a daughter initially), and eventually discovers that it isnt just the sorcery he’s after, and starts twisting her own feelings to match it. That would have at least been something, and covered the ‘stupidness’ of his plan. It’s emotion clouding reason. But no, it’s just dumb and creepy as it appears here.

        The ‘dweller’ thing and castle is easy to explain. The entire movie is thought of in terms of set pieces not story. You need the castle and the sewer and all that because it’s a good atmospheric set piece, and he has to leave the castle to get to the next set piece. It’s definitely a lazy way to do things.

        Oddly, Howard was mostly very good at finding his way around action pieces and keeping them from happening just for the sake of something.

      • Jarv says :

        I agree, it does lurch from set piece to set piece.

        It also does smell of being made more stupid after the event- the shining example being the fact that the prophecy that Freeman reads out is clearly not met by events of the film.

        I hate saying this, and I never do it, but really in this case, dial back expectations and it is a good time.

      • Droid says :

        You’re assuming people have any expectations whatsoever.

      • Jarv says :

        Whoops.

        Silly me.

  4. Jarv says :

    PS- I did like this film, I’m not attempting to sound like I’m sneering too badly at it here. Although I am a bit. It’s pure dumbhouse.

  5. Jarv says :

    I knew it tanked, but not quite how hard: 22 million back to date. Mind you, there’s been fuck all marketing for it.

    So, being kind, they’re 70 mill in the hole. They’ll never get that back.

    • Bartleby says :

      That’s because they screwed the release dates. Well not solely, but that’s part of it. This would have fared well as a March or April release. Right at that pre-summer buzz part of the year. This tactic worked for The Scorpion King which was a much worse movie than Conan 2011. The same is true of Fright Night and Dont Be Afraid of the Dark. Those are both late October or early November releases. You lot got the Dark date right anyway–right in October.

      • Jarv says :

        I wonder what they were hiding it from at this time of year?

        It’s fucked anyway. Which is a real shame, because it’s screaming for a sequel.

      • koutchboom says :

        Naw it would’ve done the same anytime of the year it came out. Fright Night MAY have worked in Jan or Feb, Conan was always fucked, especially with those trailers jesus. It may have fared a little better next month, but not by much, it was doomed from the start. Fuck look at the original Conan numbers it was hardly a hit.

      • koutchboom says :

        Depending on where you look Original Conan:
        Wiki:
        Budget $17.5–20 million
        Box office $100 million which is good.

        Box Office Mojo:
        Total Lifetime Grosses
        Domestic: $39,565,475 57.5%
        + Foreign: $29,286,000 42.5%
        = Worldwide: $68,851,475

        Which isn’t that great.

      • Jarv says :

        I’d go with Box Office Mojo. They’re usually quite accurate.

        Is that adjusted for inflation? Because if it isn’t then it is quite good.

      • koutchboom says :

        I mean really though if it cost around 20 million, and only made 35 million in America that’s not very good, that’s not adjusted for inflation. I was thinking Conan was some 100 million Dollar hit are some shit. I wonder if you take out True Lies and Terminator if Sly has a better boxoffice record? Lemme seeeeeeeee…….

      • koutchboom says :

        Well just going off initial Box Office Mojo stats (which only includes American BO)
        Arnnie: Average: $70,519,146
        Sly: Average: $66,289,239

        But lets take a deeper look into this shall we.

      • Jarv says :

        $68m off a $20m budget isn’t bad at all, Koutch

      • koutchboom says :

        That’s world wide though…and BACK then when world wide was still fucking expensive not like it is today. I mean in the end with everything added to the budget it probably came out even and of course it became a cult hit through the years and eventually probably a huge hit. But initially it was the 17th best grossing film of that year….and those films usually don’t get sequels. I mean The Dark Crystal beat it and it didn’t get a sequel.

      • koutchboom says :

        I mean why do you think the sequel went PG-13 instead of R?

      • Jarv says :

        The sequel went PG didn’t it.

        Mistake. Huge. There should have been MORE boob and stabbery,

      • koutchboom says :

        Heheh WHOA! Whats the deal with 1982 look at all the movies that came out then that are getting remade/rebooted/sequeled finally:
        Tron
        The Dark Crystal
        Conan
        The Road Warrior
        Blade Runner

        and there been talks of a new Porky’s. And First Blood came out that year….as well as E.T. jesus that was a manly fucking year. First Blood/Road Warrior/Conan/Blade Runner/Tootsie/48Hours, easily the most manliest year in cinema?

      • Jarv says :

        That’s one of the best years ever in Cinema. 1984 as well.

      • Jarv says :

        It may eventually make the cash back on DVD. I still wouldn’t bet on it.

        Those trailers were awful- actually put me off the film.

      • Droid says :

        Conan will have made a lot of money on home video over the years as well.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah but the Conan sequel came out 2 years later the original probably wasn’t even out of theaters then…..I mean I understand the reboot….I just didn’t realize it was in the Tron category of box office initially, I though Conan was some huge success back in the day, as it stands its just barely a success, only aided by years of video rentals.

      • Droid says :

        The Dark Crystal is a pretty self-contained story. It’s not really crying out for a sequel. Plus its a pretty big undertaking, and no doubt Hensen and Co wanted to stick some humans in there for their next one to make it easier.

      • koutchboom says :

        I’d say The Dark Crystal and Conan are about even in terms of world creation and self contained stories. I would’ve loved to see tons of shit in that Dark Crystal world, I’ve always heard they wanted to make a sequel but couldn’t get the funding…I mean there is a sequel coming out now.

      • Jarv says :

        The difference with Conan and Dark Crystal is that Conan ends with him travelling around Hyborea to eventually become king- loads of potential there. Whereas after the crystal is unified in Dark Crystal that’s story complete.

      • koutchboom says :

        Heheheh I didn’t remember how Conan ended.

      • koutchboom says :

        OK so it made money but it wasn’t some giant hit:

        Conan grossed more than $100 million at box-offices across the world. It was a commercial success for its backers, although the revenue fell short of the mark that would qualify the film as a blockbuster.

        All I was saying was that I thought Conan was one of the biggest movies the year it was released, when it clearly wasn’t, that’s all. I mean I wonder if there ever was a way to compare all the other movies that grossed more than it to see just HOW MUCH more they as well have grossed over the years. Say even Tron or Dark Crystal what were those release and dvd sales like? I’m just curious.

      • Jarv says :

        Maybe they’re trying the same thing with this one? Hoping to get about half budget back in the cinema (It won’t make it) and then basically allow a cult audience to build up. Not to mention that it’s got the added bonus of allowing a cynical cash-in re-release of the original.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I’d really like to see some in depth study on post theatrical release sales these days to see how viable of an idea that still is.

        I mean what’s odd to me is that cd sales STILL outnumber digital music sales, I think maybe recently the number one single actually had more digital sales then physical cd sales? And while yes digital movies are still a ways off, I would be interesting to see the figures. I mean the best web site I can find for dvd numbers blows, so it’s hard to gauge.

      • Jarv says :

        Because, despite what the technogeeks say, people still like owning physical media. Hence books, Discs (CD/ DVD) etc aren’t going anywhere

      • Jarv says :

        Me too.

        Assume in the case of Conan that it makes it back to $50m. That’s still, being generous, $40m in the hole.

        So therefore, they’d try to make it back on DVD sales. They would need to make 4.5m worth of sales to break even. That’s a hell of a lot.

      • koutchboom says :

        ALSO no one is giving straight answers as to what Conan cost, some have it at 90 million or more. It keeps changing.

      • Jarv says :

        Tell you one thing though, they spent fuck all on Marketing it.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I agree there. I mean its hard for me to tell sometimes since I KNOW WHEN movies are coming out so I notice TV spots here and there. And I watch the SyFy channel a lot which always has tons of ads for genre movies. But my wife had no fucking clue about the movie coming out, she saw the star on Conan and thought he was funny and told me she had never heard of the movie.

        Also an odd this with the trailers….it sounds like it just says THE BARBARIAN at the end, and they just kind of mumble Conan though the TV spot then the voice over comes in and says THE BARBARIAN. It’s a shittily put together trailer, actually that fan made trailer…if it hadn’t used shitty heavy metal would’ve been an awesome trailer….that’s were Expendables succeeded, they came out and said “THIS IS A DUMB GUYS MOVIE FUCK YEAH!” Conan tried to play it like it was something serious still.

      • koutchboom says :

        Here this trailer:

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah but they will slowly all become vinyl just for douchey assholes with too much money to blow and not enough of their priorities straight. And I’m not talking about 40 something mid life crisis dudes who go out and blow 100 bucks on the original Blah Blah vinyl. I’m talking about Scott Pilgrim’s who ONLY still listen to new music on vinyl…..in 20 years from now those will be the people still buying cds/dvds. Books…..ehhhh that’s more up in the air mainly because i find it’s still good to only read things you are ok with using as a weapon if needed.

      • Jarv says :

        Books are the model that music and film should be following. They aren’t though. For example, it would be a piss easy to get digitised copies of books- they’ll have them on file already and it’s just releasing a PDF. However, they haven’t done this.

        I don’t know what the industry thinks it is playing at.

        I agree with you about the Scott Pilgrims, though.

      • koutchboom says :

        Wait are you saying you like the way books are doing it? Or not?

        I really don’t…only because I ran into this problem yesterday. There is this training book that you can only get through Amazon’s kindle store. And my buddy bought it and is looking to make some copies for some classes he teaches…but since its in that Amazon kindle file format he can’t do shit with it. If it were a PDF he could print out some pages he wants to use. I was looking up to see if there was some easy way to convert the files and pretty much you need to pay $30 for some program.

        NOW imagine if you went out and bought some book from WH Smith and you couldn’t make a copy of some pages for some reason…its (and I’ve stolen this from someone else) like your able to read your book in the kitchen but not in your bedroom. And its annoying. NOW imagine is CD’s and movies did this. Say you bought a Sony DVD player and the only dvd’s that worked on it were SONY Movies (which…kind of happened with Blu Ray) but imagine it it were just different for EVERY movie company out there, think of how annoying that would be.

      • koutchboom says :

        Well here this explains Conan:

        Conan has been frequently released on home media (VHSs, DVDs, etc.); the sales of which had increased the film’s gross to more than $300 million by 2007.

        Slow and steady wins the race.

      • Droid says :

        I’m not saying that you can’t make a sequel. I said it isn’t “crying out for a sequel”.

        Conan, however, has established material it can call on, and the big lug can easily wander off to some other region to take on another villain. With TDC it would be more challenging.

  6. Bartleby says :

    getting ready to start a movie a day series for science fiction starting tomorrow. Trying to do scifi I havent seen or havent seen in years. Any obscure or interesting suggestions? I

    have the first few movies picked, but need some after that. Heading to Maine for a week on Friday so was looking to take some stuff with me to watch during the insomniac portions of the evening.

    • Jarv says :

      Primer leaps to mind

    • koutchboom says :

      Yo pop in Echo, you see I finally saw Mars Needs Mums?

      • Bartleby says :

        Yea, I saw you did. I liked it more than you. Agree about the sloppy elements, but it does work well for kids. Showed it to my star wars obsessed nephews who are irritatingly condescending towards ‘kiddie movies’. They are blissfully ignorant of the fact all Georgie Pordgie makes are kids movies.

        But they actually came out of it enjoying it and getting the story. Unlike Tron, which they gave the most succinct review ever.
        ‘That looked really cool but made no sense.’

        I’ve seen Primer. Several times actually. I have queued up Summer Time Machine Blues though for a dash through the fun of time paradox.

        It’s hard finding good scifi–or any really–that I haven’t seen.

      • Jarv says :

        Splice.

        2033

      • koutchboom says :

        I was surprised with how physically dark it was. Glad I didn’t see it in 3D. I prefer Battle For Terra over Mars. Mars was ok, just too many shots of them falling down, and needed a better alien design….though the same could be said for Terra as well. As least Terra had an array of Aliens Mars just had one, the mom jean wearing thing with wide hips either with dreds or without dreds.

      • Bartleby says :

        I forgot you panned 2033, and watched it on Netflix the other day.

        Dear lord, that was painful. Rubbish.

      • Jarv says :

        That’s not taking the piss, either. I’ve never heard of a lot of those before or since, so one or two of them may be worth a gander.

      • Bartleby says :

        again, just rewatched that one–would be good suggestion otherwise. It’s really damn good. Better than I remember. Perfectly pulpy.

      • Droid says :

        Dreamcatcher!!!

        I was watching that movie on tv last night. Up until the magic retard, then I remembered how shitty it was.

      • koutchboom says :

        I DUDDITS!!!!

        I like Dreamcatcher magical Droid and all.

      • Jarv says :

        Kloipy’s review of that was fucking brilliant:

        All looks like it is lost until Duddits yells “I Duddits!” and for no good reason except to let down the audience, turns into an alien himself. He covers himself and Mr. Grey in web of failure and they implode.

        Hilarious.

      • Droid says :

        I like Dreamcatcher magical Droid and all.

        There’s a surprise.

    • Droid says :

      How about…

      A Sound of Thunder!!!

      • Bartleby says :

        Sound of Thunder…sigh… that’s a movie that should have been good dopey fun but was mostly dopey.

        Hyams did a poor bit of thievery on that. The monkey-saurs are clearly bad rehashed models of the Kothoga monster from Relic, and when they are climbing the building it’s clear it’s the same cgi model replicated several times and moving in unison.

        I cant open those London scifi links for some reason. odd. Is there a list or something there?

      • Jarv says :

        Yup, and the 2010 ones was a lot of Eastern European stuff.

      • Bartleby says :

        not something you can easily cut and paste here can you?

      • Jarv says :

        I can post a JPEG. I think. Give me a mo.

      • Jarv says :

        OK- This is 2010:

        OPENING NIGHT FILM
        • Splice SOLD OUT!
        CLOSING NIGHT FILM
        • Cargo SOLD OUT

        UK PREMIERES
        • Earthling
        • Depositarios
        • 2033
        • Eraser Children
        • One
        • Radio Free AlbemuthSneak Preview
        • Transmission
        • 8th Wonderland
        • Drones SOLD OUT
        • Timer SOLD OUT
        • Nothing SOLD OUT
        • Vampires
        • Hunter Prey HOT TICKET! 70% Sold
        FOCUS ON POLAND
        • The Hospital of Transfiguration
        • Test Pilota Pirxa
        • Golem

      • Jarv says :

        This is 2011

        Opening Night Event
        Your Days Are Numbered – The Maths of Death
        Closing Night Film
        SUPER
        Gala Event
        Arthur C. Clarke Award
        International Premiere
        Beyond the Black Rainbow
        The Corridor
        Recreator
        The Truth is Out There
        Pig
        Zenith
        World Premieres
        The Gerber Syndrome
        We Are All Cylons – dystopian TV revisited
        The Arcadian
        Let There Be Light: THE ODYSSEY OF DARK STAR
        UK Premieres
        Gantz
        The Show Must Go On
        Blubberella
        NYDENION
        Atlantis Down
        DER GOLEM with live soundtrack by SAWCHESTRA
        Lunopolis
        Transfer
        Maximum Shame
        SUPER

      • Jarv says :

        What the hell is Hunter Prey?

    • tombando says :

      Hey Jonah Bart, enjoy your trip to Maine. What part of my Sainted home state are you headed to–rocky Coastal, Tourist trap-infested or interior, Trailer park infested? Either way, take your movies, your meds and your bugdope. Being from scenic (and lovely) Presque Isle originally I can tell you you will need all in equal measure.

  7. tombando says :

    Now I of course share some of the film-tastes as Jarv’s pet Rock (who we’ll name da Murph just for giggles)-esp. the parts where da Murph delves into all things Mikey Bay and Giant Robots (who hit one another frequently). Yes indeedie those do, in fact, keep youse entertained.

    ………….Some of these movies-Bring it On, Natural Born Killers, etc I have blissfully managed to avoid in my time. I generally like Oliver Stone-JFK, Nixon, etc—so will one day inflict NBK onto my noggin like it or not.

    Might I suggest another go round w/ In Bruges Jarv? It’s good for what ails you.

  8. ThereWolf says :

    That pet rock bit is genius…

    Very pleased to hear Rachel gets her tits out. This’ll be a rental though, sounds like that’s the best place for it.

  9. Xiphos0311 says :

    Between your review Jarv, Jonah’s and one over at Bale I’m starting to see a positive sort of trend developing and it makes me kind of happy it seems like this flick got some of the characteristics of Conan a lot correct then in Milius’ version.

    Unfortunately they once again fucked the dog when it comes to the Cimmerians. There is no way any large force would survive inside the boarders of Cimmeria. It’s quite clear that the Cimmerians are unconquerable they fuck up anybody that tries, they are like the Fremen of Dune in that regard. Also fuck that horseshit with Picts raiding inside Cimmeria. They wouldn’t have lasted. Why can’t they just make Conan like the book? by age 15 he was known around the council fires of the Cimmerians for his exploits in battle and hunting and distinguish himself at the sack of Fort Venarium, Aquilonia’s(arguable the most powerful kingdom of Hyperboria) one and only attempt to colonize southern Cimmeria. Later Conan got caught raiding with the Aesir and promptly broke out of the slave pen and headed south into the “civilized” world. THAT you stupid motherfuckers is how you make an EPIC character back story and not this horseshit about Cimmerians getting wiped out and Conan being a slave.

    Why do you think Momoa is too big? Physically He looks more like how Howard described Conan(minus skin tone and eye color) then the Terminator did.

    The Tamara character sounds fairly faithful to how women are portrayed in Howard’s stories. They are usually strong willed and survivors. The good ones and evil both. For these kinds of story Howard went against the grain with females. Sure they needed Conan to save them but at least they weren’t soft, simpering, weak willed chumps.

    Lastly I must continue the meme I’m claiming to have started, if you want to make an awesome Conan movie and a fantastic movie in general, adapt Beyond the Black River. MAKE SURE YOU KEEP CONAN’S OATH MADE AT THE END OF THE STORY YOU KNOB JOCKEYS.

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers Xi,

      The raiding thing- they don’t survive. A teenage Conan butchers them (best bit of the film). Also, it’s a full invasion force going village to village- Zym knows that he can’t take on the Barbarians so does them one at a time. Perlman tells him and he agrees that if the tribes unite, then he’s getting a kicking. He isn’t a Slave at any point of this film- he’s on a mission to slaughter the people that killed his village.

      I don’t, actually, think Momoa is too big in the context of this film. He actually looks relatively svelte. However, he IS 6 ft 4 and 200 pounds. That they cast the rest of the film with dudes as big, if not bigger, than him doesn’t change that. I think he was really, really good here. I’ve thought about it for a bit, and while he lacks Arnie’s barbarian screen presence, I think he’s better than the Governator. A lot better. For a start, a sword doesn’t look like an alien contraption to him. He doesn’t punch out a camel though.

      Cheetoh is wrong about Nichols, by the way. The problem is that the exchanges trying to establish her as feisty don’t work. However, when she’s allowed off the leash to get involved in the stabbery she’s absolutely fine. It isn’t a great performance, but it’s a good one. A far, far, bigger problem is Lang who doesn’t have any of the gravitas of James Earl Jones or insanity required as the big baddie of the film. Conan only loses the first fight to him because McGowan cheats. McGowan does much better as the evil in the film- because she seems genuinely unhinged. Cheetoh is also wrong about the metal nails. They are stupid, but McGowan doesn’t fight men. She uses them to cut and torture women. She’s a witch- that’s it.

      Conan IS also a pirate in this for a while, and he does lead the raid on the slave camp (purely for the tits, I think). Also, there’s a serious level of cunning involved when he gets himself arrested. The whole scene beforehand is ludicrously macho, but has him cheating to win an arm wrestling gig etc. It’s clear that he’s meant to be calculating.

      This is an excellent Beer and Pizza movie. However, it narrowly misses being an excellent film full stop. I’m actually looking forward to seeing it again.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I’m never going to get over an invasion in force inside Cimmeria sorry there are somethings from the books that have to translate to film, if not then you are throwing everything about the character out the window. That was one of my biggest beefs with Milius version that and Conan being a slave.

        Momoa has been playing a version of Conan since Stargate Atlantis and on that show his character wielded a sword a lot so he has had a lot of training and experience. Then of course there was Games of Trying to Stay Awake and this movie. I see that Mamoa did beef up considerably for the role.

        All in all I am quite happy with what I am hearing about this movie. If they showed Conan to be smart that is a victory right there.

      • Jarv says :

        “Smart” is overstepping it a bit. Cunning is probably better. A hell of a lot smarter than Arnies.

        For a start, Conan plans the initial invasion of the slave port, secondly the getting arrested thing, thirdly payback on the fat guy, his plan at the hostage exchange (although it didn’t work) and the eventual defeat of Zym. Lots of cunning on display in all of these.

        Also, ruthless and not averse to a bit of solid Barbarian heroing- tying the guy to the Catapult to deliver the message was genius.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I can settle for cunning, smart would be better but I’ve learned to pick my battles.

        I’m looking forward to seeing this. i figure it should be out around Christmas so i just have to stay on task and avoid all the holiday calls that day except for two, load up on the Chinese food and watch a bunch of movies I have missed. Although like normal I’ll probably end up taking duty shift so i might end up watching it with whichever new Lieutenant gets stuck as the duty officer.

      • Jarv says :

        Yup, this is a good takeaway and no beer (in your case, because I know you don’t drink) film. It rips along at a rare old pace, there are laughs, boob, stabbery, some scenery chewing and it’s an all-round good time.

  10. Bartleby says :

    Yea it is a good time. My rating did take in to account how it was adapted, and the story. But it is fun. I think if they take Momoa and sort of tweak the character to be smarter and get the Black River story, we could have the Conan movie to end Conan movies..

    • koutchboom says :

      So your saying they should just totally remake the first Arnold Conan movie?

      • Bartleby says :

        no, how do you read that?

      • koutchboom says :

        we could have the Conan movie to end Conan movies..

        Which is something we already have in Arnold’s first Conan movie. So by that reasoning you are saying Mimosa makes a better Conan than Arnold, so just duplicate Milius’ Conan with Mimosa, fuck you could probably get James Earl to redo his role as well. And I know Sven is looking for a pay check….no Mako though so that’ll be a loss.

      • Jarv says :

        Momoa is better than Arnold in the role.

      • koutchboom says :

        Bahahahah yeah and $1 is better than $1,000,000.

      • Bartleby says :

        See, I dont think of Milius’ movie as Conan. It’s just a dour better than average barbarian movie. Truly, even the most hyperbolic individual could probably cede to the statement I just made. I gave Conan 2011 a C. I’d probably give Conan 82 a C+. I don’t find it any great shakes personally, outside the camel punching.

    • Droid says :

      By CROMMMMMMMM, you lie!!!

      CROMMMMMMMM!!!!

      • Jarv says :

        Although he doesn’t king hit a camel, so I’m clearly talking arse.

        It’s a different Role though Koutch. Arnie is more of a plank than Momoa, Momoa is better with a sword and better on horseback. Arnie looks like he can crush your head with his hands.

      • koutchboom says :

        Ok good, so yeah like you just said Arnold is better in the role. Thanks.

      • koutchboom says :

        Soooooo does Mimosa ride English or western saddle then? Also when welding a sword does he use the much more prefered Anglo Grip on the Knights Grip? Seeing as that we are actually judging a character based on technical abilities which obviously are not shaped and formed by movie makers.

        Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sandahl Bergman did their own stunts, as suitable body doubles couldn’t be found.

      • Jarv says :

        Don’t be daft.

        Arnold looks hugely uncomfortable on horseback. The horse doesn’t look to happy to have a giant Austrian on it as well. He’s also not exactly elegant with the sword.

        Momoa “looks” more natural riding and using a sword than Arnie.

      • Jarv says :

        No. I said Momoa is a better Conan than Arnold.

        Arnold isn’t playing Conan, though. Everyone knows this- It’s Milius big Viking bastard coincidentally called Conan.

        I like Arnie in that film, but he’s not a good Conan. He’s not articulate, whereas Momoa is.

        Oh, and they hardly ever mention Crom in the film.

      • koutchboom says :

        Whatever you want Conan to be….it won’t top Arnold. See that’s the thing he’s soooo good at it he surpasses whatever dork fantasy’s fans of the book’s may have had, rendering them useless.

      • Jarv says :

        I like Arnold in the film, but this is hardly an unreasonable point that it’s a piss poor Howard adaptation.

        I’d give original Conan 3 Changs. Destroyer/ Red Sonja 1 chang each and the 2011 2.5

      • koutchboom says :

        Whose this Howard fuck? You act like these books are some Harold classic that everyone’s read, no one gives a shit about that Conan IS Arnold. As far as everyone’s concerned it’s never been based off a book.

        As for how he looks riding a horse……I just wrote maybe the gayest thing ever on this site a couple of minutes ago…but it’s not half as gay as caring about how well someone wields a sword or rides a horse….and again…..how many stuntmen did Mimosa have compared to Arnold…………………………….so whose to say he’s really better.

      • Jarv says :

        Christ on a moped. How many times?

        You can spot when someone is a bad rider. It’s not hard to spot. Arnold is not happy on horseback.

        You can also see when someone isn’t any good with a sword- Arnold is lumbering and slow.

        Neither of these are gay statements.

        Now, I like Arnold and I fucking love that film, but he’s not as good as Momoa as Conan. Although he does look like he’d win in a fistfight, he looks like he would lose in a swordfight.

      • koutchboom says :

        Naw caring/noticing how well anyone is on a horse unless it’s suppose to be pointed out it pretty gay….and I used to ride horses. Who gives a shit. Just because Mimosa has some scene where he jumps off a riding horse? Wow given that training techniques for films have vastly improved since the 80s it would make sense. But yeah in the end Conan will always be Arnold, this Mimosa fuck peeked with a failure and will never see a leading role ever again.

      • koutchboom says :

        Crom is always in my heart. That’s why I’m right.

      • Jarv says :

        This you Koutch:

        Fuck me, why is it gay/ controversial to say that one actor is better with a sword than the other? Oh, and Momoa has peaked with a failure, yes, and it’s a crying shame because this is a good film.

      • koutchboom says :

        Well it failed because it focused too much on Conan’s sword play and horse riding abilities not his ass kicking abilities. And no I looked more like the last time Christopher Reeves rode a horse when I was riding.

        And seriously you can’t see how someone leaving a movie about Barabarian’s and then saying…”Wow he handled that horse right nicely, what do you think that was? An Anglo-Arabian? Maybe a Clydesdale? I didn’t think it moved much like my favorite the Basque Mountain Horse, but it certainly had a lovely main.” Isn’t gay/lame? Come on Jarv I know your British…but you aren’t THAT BRITISH.

      • Jarv says :

        Don’t be such a dick. Conan is a fucking barbarian, expert swordfighter etc etc etc.

        Arnie wields a sword like a baseball bat.

        This failed for a few reasons, lack of ass kicking is not one of them.

      • Jarv says :

        Just go and see it, it’s good and worth $10.

      • koutchboom says :

        When you can kick ass like Arnold you don’t need to wield a sword like some roided up martial arts master. I’ll probably see it seeing as that people are saying Not Another Teen Orgy is just bland rather than uber gross out and full of scat jokes, at least Conan 3 looks like it’s got some balls to it….granted they are those tiny roided up balls but still balls none the less…..and they probably belong to Rose McGowan.

      • Jarv says :

        Well, Momoa scores high on the Barbarian heroing. Kills 4 cunts when he’s 13. Then spends the rest of the film hacking everything he can reach that isn’t a boob.

      • Droid says :

        I watched a video review of Conan from the guys at Red Letter Media last night, and they said they laughed all the way through.

      • Jarv says :

        So did I.

        It’s potentially a cracking beer and pizza movie and I’m seriously considering buying it when it hits DVD

      • Droid says :

        Oh, and they hardly ever mention Crom in the film.

        Which explains the box office. Crom was not pleased.

      • Jarv says :

        Crom was angered.

        Not to mention that there was some sacrilege by Zym describing Cimmerian’s forge as their temple. Crom demands a temple.

      • Droid says :

        Crom’s a brilliant bloke to have on your side, but he’s quick to get pissy. He’s used to a certain lavish lifestyle and doesn’t take kindly to some upstart auctioning off his pad.

      • Jarv says :

        I wish he’d come down and smite some sense into Koutch at the moment.

      • Droid says :

        But the thing that really goads Crom, is that he’s a bitchin’ horserider and kicks ass with a sword. So he was really open to this Momoa chap worshiping him and yelling his name and whatnot. When he didn’t really do that, he took it like a slap in the face. Crom vowed that whenever anyone thinks the name Conan, they will think of a lumbering dimwit who punches camels, awkwardly straddles a horse, and cautiously wields a sword. Because that Conan has the respect to worship CROM!!!

      • Droid says :

        It failed because only a very small percentage of the population give a shit about Conan and giving the film a $70-90m budget was a ridiculous mistake. These films never should be more than $30m. Centurion was made for $10m or thereabouts. Even Solomon Kane, made for $40m, was too much.

      • Jarv says :

        The marketing on it was atrocious as well. That fan trailer Koutch posted yesterday is a lot better than anything they did here.

      • Jarv says :

        You should be all over this film like a rash Koutch, it’s the most “manly” film in ages.

        Boob, stabbery, boob, shouting a lot, hitting people, stabbery.

      • koutchboom says :

        Bahahah jesus Kane cost 40 million? Fuck me. I thought that was some back woods eastern European 1 million dollar thing.

      • Jarv says :

        I was surprised at that. It’s deceptive though, because it was part of a three film package, and they were relying on (I think it was Dr. Parnassus) to make the bank to cover Kane and the other one- which never got made.

        Still, though Kane 2 is coming, so there’s hope.

      • Droid says :

        Well, that company also makes the Resident Evil movies, so those shitfests can have a point if they keep making money that allows awesome movies like Solomon Kane to be made.

      • Jarv says :

        Huzzah!

        All praise Resident Evil….

        er…

      • koutchboom says :

        I need to see Kane damnit.

      • koutchboom says :

        I wonder if it’ll be better than that Russian Wolfsomething movie. That movie was pretty good.

      • Jarv says :

        That’s a good film as well.

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