Thursday, May 26, 2011

Conan Films (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

"Conan! What is best in life?" Conan answers, "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!"

In anticipation of the "re-boot" film, I am reviewing the original Conan movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as our muscle-bound, barbarian hero...Conan. The first movie was the best, even though it had the worst acting. The second movie had better acting, but just seemed to fall short of the first. In the end, the movies give due credit to Robert E. Howard's creation, and the character Conan has survived the test of time (Conan was created and first published in 1932).

Conan The Barbarian. Shows the origin behind our hero, from small boy who watches his father killed and his mother beheaded by a sinister band of marauders who take him into slavery, building him into the man of muscle and violence he will become through gladiatorial games. His only memories are a conversation with his father who explains the "origins" of mankind, and their tribe's god, Crom. His father explains never to trust anything but the sword.

Once free from slavery....Conan finds a sword, has "fun" with a witch, meets a fellow traveller, they become thieves, and meet a pretty woman thief while trying to steal a jewel from a temple and a giant snake. But it belongs to the snakehead cult led by Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones). Thulsa Doom; as recognized by Conan, was the leader of the Vanir Raiders who murdered his parents and enslaved him. Conan; seeking revenge and the rescue of brainwashed princess, along with a sorcerer, and his thief friends attack Doom's castle stronghold.

Although victorious in the end, Conan loses the love of his life (female thief Valeria) and is filled with grief and rage that cannot be quenched by the vengeful beheading of Thulsa Doom. A little known fact about this film: it was co-written by Oliver Stone.

Conan The Destroyer. Basic Plot: Save the virgin, Save the world. In the sequel, Conan isn't the biggest Wilt Chamberlin co-stars with Arnold as the bodyguard (Bombaata) to the virgin Princess Jehnna. The band of travellers come together for various reasons to steal a horn that will bring Dagoth to life. Dagoth; the dreaming god, is worshipped by the sorceress Queen Taramis.

Conan figures out the plot too late, has a lackluster fight against Bombaata, and kills Dagoth. He then rejects the new Queen Jehnna's offer to be King and heads out for further adventures.

Consider for a moment that Conan has been around since 1932.....that is BEFORE SUPERMAN!! His comic books are still going strong today (published by Dark Horse Comics) and his new movie is in theatres! Robert E. Howard's creation continues to go on.....searching for adventure, beautiful women, and glory....hopefully well into the future!

I leave you with the best of the Conan movie quotes: "Conan! What is best in life?" Conan answers, "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!"

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