Friday, May 4, 2012

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

My wife and I watched Conan the Barbarian (2011) earlier this week, once again thanks to the local library. [technically, I watched it, and she mostly worked on a project using her laptop]

I was not super impressed.  The story was a bit weak, and some of the action was a bit too fake or staged seeming.  The early sequences with "young Conan" were pretty good, and the bad guy was pretty menacing in that sequence.  The first bit with a "grown up" Conan gave me exactly the feel I expected from the stories I have read, replete with T&A, drinking, and enjoyment of combat.  Some of the elements were a bit off though, like dragging a boat around to use as a tent seemed a bit excessive, particularly as it seemed to be both elephant borne and pulled by slaves.  As is often the case in these sorts of movies, the technological levels were wildly inconsistent. (Cast iron and watermills with semi-nomadic fur wearing barbarians)

Jason Momoa was pretty good as Conan, giving what seemed like a closer representation to the character from the books than Arnold did.  Rachel Nichols was OK as the love interest, with some unevenness to her character depiction, resulting from script issues more than acting I think. Rose McGowan was adequate, but not as menacing as the actress who played the young character. With a box office return of about half of its budget, I expect we have seen the last of this Conan series, which is too bad, because I would have liked to see what they did with another film or series of films.

A number of visuals from the film would be good to steal for D&D games, such as a skull shaped temple on the edge of a cliff, spewing water out of its mouth. The ruined city in the hidden valley, although the ninja guardians would perhaps be a bit much.  The sand warriors poured out of a vial were pretty cool, and would definitely make for a great D&D item.

In other news the Ogre Designer Edition Kickstarter is over $500,000 as of this writing, and still has six days to go.  If you get the kickstarter backer version ($150), you get an extra sheet of counters, a box with your name on it, PDF copies of the rules, and some assorted swag.  Pretty pricey for a game I have never played... but it does look amazing.

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