Friday, 22 January 2010

Jason Momoa as Conan the Hawaiian

It's just one disaster after another.

So, to recap:

First, Paradox licensed the film to Millenium Films, the production company which brought the world nothing but mediocrity and the godawful remake of The Wicker Man, with only one or two bright spots like Rambo out of the dozens upon dozens of failures.

Then they hired Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer, the most wretched screenwriting team in film today, who penned quite possibly the single most horrible adaptation of a classic science fiction story I've ever seen. (This alone was the point that I gave up hope.)

Then Millenium started to court Brett Ratner, an absolute hack of a director who hasn't made anything of note save the average Red Dragon. Even with the likes of Ridley Scott citing interest in a Conan film, somehow Ratner was their first choice.

After Ratner fell through (obviously he had more important stuff to do, like Rush Hour 4), Marcus Nispel was the man. Nispel being most infamous for doing practically nothing but remakes of slasher films for the past few years, as well as Pathfinder, which I'll charitably call a Frazetta pastiche.

Then the script and character synopsis was leaked, and we all know what happened then.

Now, we have Jason Momoa portraying Conan. As blows to the stomach go, it's not as bad as knowing the imbeciles behind A Sound of Thunder and Sahara were hired to write the script, or actually reading the leaked screenplay. It's marginally less offensive than the Nispel announcement, and certainly not as bad as when Ratner and Kickinger were associated with the film.

You know what's scary? It's going to get worse from here.

We'll be hearing a Playboy (probably not even that, something like Hustler or Penthouse) playmate, ex-model, or a flavour-of-the-month pop star cast as the love interest. We'll see some strapped-for-cash Shakespearean actor slumming it for the villain, or more likely, some fading '80s star like Dolph Lundgren looking for a last gasp of fame. Professional wrestlers, basketball players, and/or bodybuilders will be cast in every second role. We'll see nu-metal bands doing the soundtrack. We'll see the garbage tie-in novel and cookie-cutter licensed video game, with the usual action figures and paraphernalia clogging the shelves.

It'll be even worse when the film's out.The Milius fanboys will be insufferable as they hail Conan the Barbarian as the definitive Conan film - and for all intents and purposes, they'll probably be right. That's the biggest punch to the gut for me.


  1. I must admit that Momoa was my second choice after Urban. I've long since given up to expect anything of that movie except some kickass fight scenes, and Momoa at least looks like a MAN and not like a metrosexual cover boy. Maybe he can act better than what Stargate gave him to work with - HBO assembled an impressive cast for Game of Thrones and I doubt they'd picked Momoa as Khal Drogo if his acting wasn't up to par with the rest.

    If only they'd leave the words 'Howard' and 'Conan' out of the while thing, it could even be some cheesy action fun. ;)

  2. To be perfectly frank, Momoa is not the worst choice in the world to me. Van Winkle, Lutz and Kickinger would be far worse. I'm not quite as angry about it as some of the chaps on the REH Forum. But I still don't like it. He'd probably be my third or fourth choice, after Mears (for the morbid curiosity) and Urban, though I might put Paladecki above him.

    Good point about GoT. I'm actually looking forward to his Khal Drogo, seeing as Drogo was my favourite character in the book (or rather, the only character I really liked: not a big ASoI&F fan), and he convinced me enough.

  3. Oh yes, Khal Drogo rocks. I'm a fan of the series overall, though since I don't like to read about kid characters, I could do with less Arya and Bran. But I think they will play their role in the overall structure of the series.

    I liked some of the others: Tyrion is one badass dwarf, Jon Snow grows into his own, Jaime Lannister goes through some really interesting character development, and I loved honourable Ned though I can see he's not the sort of character to survive in Martin's world - or any real one, for that matter. I'd like to see more of Asha Greyjoy, too; what's not to like about a pirate girl of sorts. :)

  4. Love the Frazetta Pastiche comment-that makes me laugh.

    I wanted to be excited about a Conan film but alas everything based on something old and established is getting the butcher knife skin graft and a plastic soda bottle makeover. Its garbage and won't last let alone be worthy of his creator.

    I like Khal Drogo too and Tyrion. Lots of potential there for it to get a faithful rendering.

  5. I must confess, I still haven't made the leap to the second book. The first book just left me with a sort of "that's it?" feeling, which is probably a result of everyone talking it up as the best fantasy since LotR. There's always that defiant part of me that says "oh yeah? We'll see about that!" I also felt disappointed when it turned out the awesome ice-creatures from the prologue ended up taking a back seat to the politics. One of these days, I'll end up continuing the series.

    The Frazetta pastiche is pretty much all I can say for it that's even positive. Some of the stills looked just like a Frazetta painting, albeit without the fierce brushwork and tons of little extras in the corners and shadows. I really, really wanted to like Pathfinder too, but it was just mediocre. That's the greatest sin of all for me, especially since they wasted Clancy Brown: they could at least have turned it into a glorious cheesey epic like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat.

  6. Well, it has a shirtless Karl Urban, though that's probably not an argument for most male readers. ;)

    Definitely continue reading ASOIAF. It starts out more as historical fiction with but a hint of magic, but the magic is there and the threat of the Others very real. Tyrion kicks some serious ass in battle, there's a priestess who birthes Shadows, a duel involving a flaming sword, a battle against the Wildlings on the Wall, burning ships in Kings Landing .... in short, lots of fun. Lots of political intrigue, too.

  7. I'm a huge GRRM and REH fan, that said, momoa is wrong for Conan. He is a good fit for Khal Drogo though. REH created his world from our antiquity, he even used real ethnic groups and slightly modified the pronunciation. I have nothing against Momoa but Conan wasn't Hawaiian, not even close.

  8. Momoa just does not look at all like a dark haired blue eyed Irish man, which is how the Cimmerian barbarian is supposed to look like...