Sunday sees that damned mill return, and a fairly lengthy one given my opinions on everything. I still can't get over Lang bringing up Shakespeare in reference to Zym. I've made a habit of posting Patrice's approval of Momoa whenever someone brings up how Momoa "can't live up to AHNOLD" elsewhere. I really think when we see Momoa with the blue eyes & black hair, grizzled makeup and extra muscle, people might finally shut up about Momoa. I admit, I was taking a "wait and see approach" bordering on the skeptical, but as soon as he lost the dreds & goatee in more recent pictures, I was starting to see it. Indeed, it was getting to the point that I'm starting to feel sorry we wasted Momoa in this film. Now I am starting to wish it was Lutz or Padalecki.
As for everyone reading the original stories - man, talk about conflict. It's unquestionably great that everyone's getting acquainted with the real Conan, but what good will it do for this production? Conan's post-traumatic stress walking wounded, Zym's a joke, Tamara's a faux-action girl, we have cliches running riot. It would be wonderful if the actors brought more of REH into their performances: Lang's Zym could imbue his role with Xaltotun's patriotism and desire to make things as they once were; Nichols' Tamara could be like one of REH's stronger heroines; Momoa could bring some of the subtlety and nuances of Howard's Conan. Just a shame so much of it'll be wasted.
And yes, I'm well aware that I posted no less than four pictures of pretty ladies in one post on The Cimmerian. I make no apologies. Besides, I think the handsome Patrice more than makes up for it, eh ladies? I gotta say, though I have a special place in my heart for bonny Irish/Scottish lassies, Italian and North African women run a close second (along with Asian: I liked Chinese before it was an Otaku meme!) Laila Rouass and Gisella Marengo increase my interest in the film a hundredfold, even if they are, to borrow a Gabrielism, "booby ladies."
Like her fellow Morrocan Layla El, Laila is captivating.
(Totally Devi Yasmina in that last pic, isn't she?)
While Laila is conventionally beautiful, Gisella is unusual: she isn't a classical beauty, but there's still something damn alluring about her.
Quoth Ron Simmons...
Enough of this mammary - erm, mummery: Tuesday has a quick link to Charles R. Saunders' latest blog and recommended reading. I agree wholeheartedly with him, of course, that African Mythology is as varied, mysterious and fascinating as Greek, Celtic, Norse, Egyptian, Mesopotamian or whatever, mostly because each nation has their own variations, unlike European mythology, which gradually coalesced and became one.
Also on Tuesday(!) was the first nine pages of BOOM! Studio's Hawks of Outremer. Although I spend a good two-thirds, maybe even three quarters, listing the faults... it does still look good. I just don't understand why they make some of the changes, when a small amount of research would've done wonders, especially in regards to the historical accuracy. Hell, just watch Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - even if Sean lad is far too old for Richard, his armour is fairly decent. Or Robin & Marian. Or even Robin Hood: Men in Tights: you know you have a problem when a Mel Brooks film is more historically accurate.
Chip from BOOM! replied to the blog:
Well, you can't please all the people all the time. But it does seem after the "nit picking" Al is looking forward to the book. So that is a good sign!
While I could take issue with "can't please all the people all the time," I won't, since it's entirely fair. I just wanted to see the Lionheart, so often seen as a gentle, just, wise ruler in Robin Hood films, clad in cap-a-pie splashed in blood, his arms and shield completely obscured with gore, caving in some Saracen skulls with his huge mace. As I say, it could've been a lot worse. I just think it could've been better, too.
In any case, I dearly hope people don't just look at the comic and go "Oh, great, another Conan rip-off, except now he's in Medieval Times." Cormac has some extremely important differences that set him apart from our favourite Cimmerian:
- His origin is unambiguous and fairly extensively detailed, and he's hated by both his Irish and Norman kinsmen, in addition to being outlawed by Christians and Muslims alike
- He is a warrior, and nothing else - he's no thief, pirate, chieftain, or king
- He has no "gigantic mirths" to speak of - the closest he gets is a bleak, cheerless grin as he slays or threatens, or a very slight smile when he greets a friend
- He seems to be totally uninterested in girls, and sex in general, being focused entirely on battle and plunder
- He doesn't seem to have any interest in culture or history beyond that which is immediately related to who he kills next, or what treasure he's after
Hopefully BOOM! will remember this as they continue their adaption of "Hawks of Outremer."
On Wednesday, I get a tip regarding comic adaptations of The Land That Time Forgot and The People That Time Forgot. Hopefully they'll get to Out of Time's Abyss in the future, and bring the world the awesome that is Tyrannosaurus caspakensis. Other possible names include Euplotyrannus (well-armoured tyrant), Panoplotyrannus (completely armoured tyrant), Tyrannoplites (tyrant hoplite), Acatalytorex (indestructible king), Adamantodon (invincible tooth), Helepolisaurus (lizard who takes cities) though I'd be open to any name that basically means "the most formidable fighting animal of which there is any record whatever, king of all kings in the domain of animal life, the absolute warlord of the earth - this time with fully integrated battle-armour."
What's coolest is that, if it's anything like Ankylosaurus armour, it could've been bulletproof. Badass.
When Saturday came around, I didn't have anything ready: luckily Dragon*Con came to the rescue.
Sadly, so many people are probably going to ask him the stupid questions. "What's it like stepping into Ahnold's shoes?" "Are you doing a German accent?" "Did you enjoy doing the Wheel of Pain/Crush Your Enemies/Camel Punching scene?" "Isn't it awesome you're working with Colonel Quaritch?" "Are love scenes with Rachel Nichols as wonderful as I've fantasized about?" "Don't you think you're tarnishing John Milius' legacy when the original Conan the Barbarian was one of the greatest films of all time?" "When is the Conan/Red Sonja crossover coming?"
Most interviews aren't going to ask the questions we want answered, and those that do will be facile at best, and infuriatingly stupid at worst. "How did you deal with the rampant racism & sexism & Nazi sympathizing in Howard's work?" "What did you do to elevate the role beyond Howard's simplistic pulp trappings, to make him a 21st Century Hero?" "Conan was intended as a blond-haired Aryan Superman by R.E. Howard: how do you think purists will react?" We Howard fans have to get in there and do it ourselves.
BTW, The Cimmerian broke a new record for monthly views, especially cool since April's a 30-day month. Huzzah!
So, what's left? Well, my talk of recutting Conan the Barbarian is trundling along a bit. I tend to get these "Mr Toad Manias" where I'm obsessed by a single subject, and this is another one. I just have to get it out of my system, or I'll lose energy, and I wouldn't be able to return to it.
Anyway, this has given me thoughts of other things that could be recut. This post on the REH Forums had me thinking of a recut of Disney's Beauty & The Beast, only this time with a more serious, thoughtful bend. No songs, no comic relief that isn't thematically appropriate (i.e. character humour, not trousers-fall-down or men-wearing-brassieres humour), kid-friendly characters deleted, something more akin to the old school of Disney films. The Beast would still be a tragic figure, but he'd be a lot more gruff and far less "softened" by the end. Belle would be a little more realistic & bearable beyond the moronic "girl power" moments in the movie: I appreciate making Belle a bookish, intelligent heroine, but not at the cost of making her a damned annoying idiot at times. Gaston, though he should still be a chauvinistic brute, would lose a lot of his more cartoonish villainy: I think he'd be more effective if he wasn't a cowardly, manipulative scoundrel.
The ending would also be different: either he dies, or he doesn't turn into a dude. I don't care if it was in the original tale, I just think it's more dramatically appropriate. A commentary on how wishing to be a man means a lot more than wanting to have human features - he'd already proven he'd been a man in soul, if not in body, and that Belle already proved her love despite all that.
Hmm, maybe I should do a "Fan Edits" post in the future...
Also, I'm finally on Facebook. I've spent a good half-hour adding friends from Howardom and elsewhere. There are some people I'm a bit leery to send friend requests to, mostly chaps like Patrice Louinet, Dale Rippke, Erik Mona and the sort, guys who I've had cordial conversations with, but don't know if I'd be "friends." I'm perfectly willing to accept friendships, though. Anyone else on Facebook feel free to send a friend request, but be patient, I'm new to this thing.