Another "undreamed" classic tale denied from its journey to seek out retribution from its creator!
Robert E. Howard presents his fantastic fantasy world of Hyboria! His creation Conan, a Cimmerian warrior born in the battlefield has transcended from the pages of supernatural elements of magic, monsters and adventure! In 1932, his imagination came into fruition when he was selling Mexican gastronomic and cheap wine in the barren hills of southern Texas! Thus the book of the famous barbarian was born!
Though many continued his work since his suicide in June 11, 1936, it was passed on to friends and relatives until The Baums family sold their rights to a Swedish Company, Paradox Entertainment Inc. which took part as a studio in producing the film!
Morgan Freeman narrates the timeless tale of an age of war and destruction from the sorcerers of Acheron, they forged a Mask that will give limitless power to whoever wields it! Morgan always has that tact and gentry accent that gives him a higher standard from other actors whether through voice or on the actual set! But his words were quickly lost in the cacophony of a manhandled village as we begin our story...
Directed by Marcus Nispel (Pathfinder) he should never went into the project without a script, even when people and Producers keep pushing for timeframes and deadlines! But if I was the Director I would not hesitate to leave and not jeopardize millions of dollars and make a failure for the audience to feel being robbed of their money! Some of his works were also forgettable as well! Even using shaky cameras to give the fight scenes a little more illusion of realism instead, it only made it worse! Some stunts worked out fine while incorporating the background shots brought in by Cinematographer Thomas Kloss (Fear) where he set in the landscapes of Bulgaria; where he had his moments with the communities of Cimmerian townsfolk!
Writers Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (Dylan Dog: Dead of Night), Sean Hood (The Crow: Wicked Prayer) have given a lacklustered script, it only became worse since actualization and the poor delivery of the characters were immensely felt throughout the film! The first two scriptwriters made an abysmal story pouring it all to Mr. Hood to do the rewrites on set! It was just a shame that these icons from fictionalized stories were just wasted and not being maximised to propel the character into a blockbuster success.
Jason Mamoa (The Game) is the savage Conan; his demeanour for battle is relentless and visceral! His vengeance will soon find its way for the man chosen to fulfil his destiny! He soon cross paths with Rachel Nichols (The Amityville Horror) is Tamara, a pure blood who is needed as the last part of the ritual to bring to life the "evil" that once came close in conquering Hyboria!
Jason gave his dedication for the film and it shows on how he does his "sword swings" to intimidate his opponents, his menacing look and his courage. For Rachel, she needs acting lessons, definitely a lot to improve on I believe she was only there for eye candy just like what transpired in GIJOE: The Rise of Cobra!
Stephen Lang (Avatar) Khalar Zym, it's the first time I have seen a nomad warrior with really clean fingernails. His goal is to resurrect his "witch" wife from the Mask of Acheron that was broken into several pieces thousands of years ago! Together with his daughter Marique played by Rose McGowan (Machete) who was supposed to be the leading lady but since her fatal accident she was sidelined until she recuperated to be considered as the film's supporting villain!
Before Ron Perlman (Hellboy) took the part, it was first offered to two other seasoned actors Dolph Lundgren then to Mickey Rourke which turned it down to join another CGI heavy The Immortals (cough, flop as well). Ron portrayed Corin the Chief of the barbarian tribe! He has owned character driven roles for the last three decades and usually plays a villain but redeems himself at times to be part of the good guys! He instils his teachings to his young son, in spite of so full of rage and violence and yet he sincerely bequeaths honour and love for his father!
A thief from Argalon who soon joins Conan's quest for vengeance is Said Taghmaoui (Traitor) he gives life to Ela-Shan, though he was not recognizable at first his acting made him more forgettable. He used to do fine with films like Three Kings and Vantage Point maybe it was just an overall "cram it down" movie which affected his acting or maybe just a poor choice of a character!
Gut wrenching and a powerful display of savagery, sometimes you want to watch a film that merely entertains you or even just to kill time (pun intended)! All of the Production Staff from the Director to Scoring had no exceptional work not even in a mediocre level being delivered in their respective areas of expertise. Especially the writers who I believe needs to be given a 101 class in storytelling! It was still first half of the film and I'm too bored to watch it! Tyler Bates (Watchmen) handles the music to give the scenes a more intense take inciting its animosity, gloom and impending doom!
Set in the backdrops of artist rendered cities, combined with state of the art 3D give it some kicks with awesome fight scenes, blood and gore to make it gruesome enough to compel the audience 's appeal but without a "sensible story" all things will fall apart! So what really killed Conan in the box office? Time constraints, Re-edited scripts on set, Budget, Production Staff, Casting or the infamous CGI which corrupted films such as The Golden Compass, Clash of the Titans, Sucker Punch and Green Lantern! They poured in $90 M to cover the costs and the returns were so shallow, with a measly $48 M worldwide which was really embarrassing for Nu Line, Millennium Films, Lions Gate and especially to Paradox Entertainment Executives!
It was a pity, seeing Kull and Solomon fell in the pits of despair as well! Conan was an indispensible representation of "a world undreamed of" which Mr. Howard was able to capture even comparing his creation to classic greats like Tarzan of the Apes, Sherlock Holmes and James Bond! I do hope they would inculcate the need to sum up a story that is compelling and worth seeing in the next reboot or remake of the film!