Tuesday, October 30, 2012
More Ah-Nuld Conan!
Though the original Conan film has its hand-wringing detractors, I have always loved it. And I love me some Conan books. But growing up a comic book fan, I learned the hard way that the less you worry about how a film adaptation of your favorite pop culture item is going to be true to the original property, the happier you’ll be. You can enjoy each universe on it’s own merits. And the Arnold Conan had many, many merits. Sure, it didn’t feature a Conan like the R.E. Howard superfans might have liked. He didn’t run around spouting Shakespearean witticism, nor would I have wanted to see that. What I wanted was for them to capture the look, feel, and heart of the stories and setting, and I think they got that in spades. And Arnolds Conan had both mirth and melancholy, just like the suicidal wanna-be cowboy Robert E. wrote about. My friends and I went to Century City to see it for the second or third time as young teens, slamming beers in the car before going in, jumping with excitement to see our favorite movie with our best pals. We were young D&D geeks going to see our favorite movie. It was the best of times in terms of our love of the fantastic and mythic. Conan the Barbarian hit the spot.
Marvel did up a really great King Conan series many years ago, featuring political intrigues and the machinations of his slightly fucked up family. I would hope they would dip into that well for great ideas for the film.
There are all kinds of ways a King Conan film might be bad, just like any other property turned into a film. But it is hope that springs eternal. One of our favorite parts of the original film was the end, with Conan the King sitting melancholy on his throne, while his wizard buddy paraphrases the words of R.E. Howard. We all said “Man, I hope it won’t be long before we see that!”