Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sean Hood Attempts To Explain Himself

Man, this guy.

And so full of contradictions: apparently, Howard's dialogue is archaic and purple... yet he makes a point of putting Howardian dialogue from other stories into the script.  Apparently, changing the motivations, personal history, and very core of the character is just a compromise we have to "get over"... yet his heart is apparently with us.  Apparently, the Conan stories suffer from the lack of recurring characters and an overarching theme... yet the film introduces entirely new characters we've never seen before, and a plot we've never heard of, all of which will never be seen again.  Apparently, the film doesn't have wire-fu, unrealistic weapons, or fake combat... yet we've seen photographs of dudes on wires in front of greenscreen, horrible LARP weapons, and Double Bladed Parallel Scimitars. Apparently, Doppenheimer are accomplished screenwriters... yet Sahara, and A Sound of Thunder.

Bless Sean, I think he's trying his best, but there's just no point.  No amount of sprinkling in Howardian references will address the biggest problems in the script.  It's the equivalent of building a Ford Fiesta, and trying to pass it off as a Lexus by plastering a papier-mache Lexus framework over it: sure, it might look a bit like a Lexus, but it ain't gonna be a Lexus.  You can drown the film in Howard references, even fill it with nothing but lines culled from other Conan stories, but it won't make a bean of difference.


  1. My advice to you, and others who don't like the film, is to continue reading and enjoying Howard's books... And know that a whole knew generation of kids are going to see the movie and be inspired to read the Howard books as well.

  2. Mr. Sean Hood in person!!

    Well, I must say, it is not true that we "don't like the film" because, actually, we don't see the film already. We are simply afraid. This is a franchise that we love and that, unfortunately, have been almost dead during the last decade.

    It seems that Al is still (or maybe even more) afraid after the interview. I must admit that your words give me some hope.

    One of the things I dislike most about the previous draft was the ending. I'm glad it was changed. I'm glad half of the dialogue was changed too!

    I hope I will enjoy this movie as a sword and sorcery adventure. And I hope it will be true to Conan's personality and the Hyborian world.

    But it the movie is succesful, please... adapt a REAL Howard tale for the next one. It is not so difficult. I heard Dirk Blackman script is quite good ;)

  3. By the way, I must add... "Conan the barbarian" is a bad title. It claims REMAAAAKE. If you dont want to use "Conan the cimmerian" you can still use any of the thousand titles of the Lancers or even "Savage sword of Conan".

    And the Millius film is not campy. At all. It SUCKS as an adaptation but it is a very serious and a philosophical take on the genre.

  4. My advice to you, and others who don't like the film, is to continue reading and enjoying Howard's books... And know that a whole knew generation of kids are going to see the movie and be inspired to read the Howard books as well.

    Well, you never know: I liked Solomon Kane, I might well like this film. But while I relish the idea of a whole new generation of Howard fans being turned onto the movie, I can't help but lament the downside: that some people would be turned off Howard due to elements in the film.

    How many people dismissed Howard based on the "campy, dated and soft" 1982 film, or worse, Conan the Destroyer? And how many people are going to be turned off when they see the Escher-inspired climax, Khalar Zym's double bladed parallel scimitar, and who knows what else that might be divisive, but isn't actually in Howard's work?

    I'm greatly buoyed by the fact that you do, indeed, profess to like Howard, and attempt to infuse as many Howardian elements as you can. But you yourself said there were some elements of the script you couldn't avoid, and that's what worries me.

    Nonetheless, I would love to be proven wrong, and the film manages to surpass all expectations. Man, such crow would be exquisite ambrosia to the palate! However, I can't help but be sceptical based on the information currently available.

    All I can say is, I hope you're right, Mr Hood, and thanks for stopping by.

  5. The difference between "Solomon Kane" and Milius' "Conan the Barbarian" as compared with this film is that both had a strong, central artistic vision. While "Solomon Kane" wasn't a good Howard adaptation, at least it was a good film thanks to Bassett's complete commitment and enthusiasm towards the project--he wrote it, he cast it, he directed it. This new film, however, has no strong central voice to keep it on track. No Milius or Bassett. Too many conflicting visions, and a production company not willing to take any chances.

  6. i guess I remain a committed dogbrother and definitely disagree with some of the starting premises. i'm also happy to stick with the howard stories, since they've weathered two non conan conan movies already.

    frankly, i don't see why any audience who is unfamiliar with an existing story or character's universe, I don't see why that even matters....I mean that whole plea to the average audience and how to introduce them to Conan is meaningless- we have movies stuffed down our throats ALL THE TIME with brand new universes and characters that NOBODY is familiar with at all, and audiences do fine with them, so why not just stick to your guns and rely on the vision that gave this character such an impressive legacy. it already works. everyone already says that pastiche Conan generally is not as good as original Howard Conan. So why is it even an issue. Who aspires to L.Sprague De Camp Conan or Robert Jordan Conan. Nobody.

    i can sit here all day long with examples of movies that came totally out of nowhere with no momentum behind them with characters nobody ever heard of- basically like conan, and then another list of same characters that had the backing of literature and faithful adaptions. all successes.

  7. when anyone gets confused about the approach to conan all i can really say about whats happening is look at james bond(to start).this is nothing new. most who enjoy the movies likely have never opened ian flemings books(i have read them all),yet the cinematic bond has a life of its own.90% of the007 youve seen on screen is not the one portrayed in the books either,from any actor(no matter how close some have come).and some of those movies(not as many as you think, regardless of this, still manage somehow to be good.I enjoy at least five of them myself.(on a side note ,Ian Fleming after first calling Sean Connery an overgrown stuntman,even made his bond part scot in the later books after being won over by his performance,but did not like which i would argue is one of the films closer to his stories,which will indicate how far the others have strayed).This may be the goal with conan.In fact conan fans may be getting off easy,as at least they're not naming this say the hour of the dragon ,or red nails and having a story very loosely or completely unrelated to those works like most of the bond movies and stories,lol!look at dracula,tarzan and holmes too.they live on in literature but when do you recall any movie that really captures any of those characters?(and as muchas i almost like it dont tell me greystoke. not even close)And technically even the untouchable cinematic batman is not the character created by bob kane and bill finger 70 something years ago,which was closer to a pulp hero at the time.My point is good or bad Conan will thrive and live on just as these characters do and for the most part alot of these movies are enjoyed by all types of fans despite their departure from their source. especially now that we have so much access to the authors work.the departure (from source)itself makes for good analysis and conversations and studies look at all the great work Al has done on CTB thus far? bottom line for me,if the trailer to Conan looks exciting to me and if Jason Momoa appears to carry the role with weight and charisma,like anything I will pay and judge further on its merits and flaws.-As I have said if it sucks (as in a r rated version of kull which is the worst it could be) it will be bashed.-Cheers-Mario

  8. One more comment...

    Just to be clear... I meant no disrespect to John Milius, (I mean... who am I to criticize Milius?) by calling the previous Conan "films" including Conan the Destroyer, Red Sonja, and even Kull (which was a Conan film renamed with another REH character) "campy." But they ALL do contain, campy elements, in my humble opinion...

  9. The exception I take with the new Conan film and even Mr. Hood’s assertions that is will bring a new generation to Howard is that this movie will be panned at the Box Office. It will not be a draw for the audience, any audience. It will not make enough money to justify its existence. All this film will do is create the feeling of “This is Howard? What was all the fuss about?”
    The fact that anyone tells the hard core fans of anything “get over it” is revealing. It shows a total disregard for the prose and author that inspired the film to begin with. It immediately alienates those that would be the biggest supporters of such a film. These will be the people that will blog and review this film into oblivion.
    This film seems to be falling into the same trap that other fantasy films have in the past. Instead of telling a compelling story with powerful dialogue and using special effects to enhance the story, Conan seems to be heading down the cheese road of Death Stalker and others of its ilk. When I read about the parallel scimitar of the villain I immediately thought of The Sword & Sorcerer with Lee Horsley: not inspiring me to go see it. The description of the climatic fight in Conan put me in mind of the final duel in The Musketeer with Tim Roth. Again, not inspiring. I think if you look at the horrible fantasy films of the ’80s, many could be considered a Hard R In terms of rating. This did not make them gritty or realistic, only creating a farcical wet dream for fifteen year olds.
    Instead of trying to bring forth the spirit of the original work, as I feel both Lord of the Rings and Narnia did, this film is going for the lowest common denominator. This tells me that the writers and producers felt they had to dumb it down for the masses. Great way to sell the movie guys.
    With all that said, I will join my voice with Al, that I completely off base and wrong. That this film will be what it needs to be, but with everything I have read and seen, from the 3D gimmick to the revenge story line, I doubt it sincerely.

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