I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Conan the Barbarian on Fat Train

Above is a picture of the one true Conan the Barbarian. Accept no substitutes. In the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian and the 1984 film Conan the Destroyer, he was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the 2011 remake of Conan the Barbarian he is played by someone called Jason Momoa. I recently saw the trailer for the Conan the Barbarian remake and, polite as I usually am, I actually started booing in the theater after it aired. What was going through the minds of the people who made this movie? Well, Arnold Schwarzenegger is no longer in office, so why don't we make another Conan movie without him... I believe that Kalimdor (Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Red Sonja) would reply sarcastically, "That's logic."

Conan the Barbarian is part of the underwhelming list of August movies that Josh Toulouse deals with on Fat Train with his article "Thoughts on the Summer Movie Schedule 2011 - Part Four." In this article, he mentions a few sequels of classic Schwarzenegger films that the former Governator ought to partake in now that he is out of office. There have already been rumors that Schwarzenegger is considering scripts for a True Lies 2, and that the Terminator franchise is seriously trying to get Arnold to sign back on. Here are the three projects that I want Arnold Schwarzenegger to get involved in now that he is potentially back in the business.

1. King Conan - As Josh has already mentioned, it would be fantastic if Arnold Schwarzenegger would return for one last Conan movie. Every movie has promised that Conan would become a king, but not before a long series of adventures and quests. I think that King Conan should start with the classic picture of Conan sitting on a throne (you know, the picture that the other Conan movies end with). But something pops up that threatens not only Conan's kingdom, but the entire world. (Christian missionaries? The Crusades? No. I think the Conan series happened before all of that. Something even scarier...) In the classic formula of "I'm retired, for Crom's sake" but I can't see the people of this planet suffer, Conan fights his last fight. Oh, and we all forget that the Conan the Barbarian remake (and the planned sequel) never happened.

2. The Expendables 2 - I used to like the idea that the first Expendables movie took place in the regular universe, and that Arnold Schwarzenegger's character was actually Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. After re-watching Commando, however, and seeing how much of Expendables is a direct reference to Schwarzenegger's quintessential one-liner-driven action flick I'd be much happier if Schwarzenegger's character was John Matrix. After his daughter Jenny goes off to college and gets married, John Matrix, with the political clout he has gained through exemplary military service, is trying to be President (and hence the joke in Expendables). Mr. Church (Bruce Willis), who is responsible for the situation in Expendables is the villain of Expendables 2 and John Matrix is the ace in the hole.

3. Commando 2 - Nobody I've pitched this idea to has liked it, but I know it is brilliant so I'll pitch it to you. Remember in Commando where the dude's like, "Hey, I'll leave these dude's to keep you and your daughter safe," and then they are immediately killed? In Commando 2, John Matrix is a grandfather watching Jenny's children because she and her husband were killed in some flood or something. Some situation comes up and there is once again reason for an armed guard. But instead of dying instantly, the threat doesn't arise until nearly halfway through the movie. In the meantime, John Matrix cockily (and hilariously) schools these young men both on how to be a good soldier and how to be a good babysitter. I just imagine Schwarznegger creeping up on them all the time and making them feel like they're in Vietnam, and criticizing them for frightening the children. I don't know why nobody likes the idea of this Arnold Schwarzenegger, Baby-Sitter type of movie (that turns into a heavy action movie), but you, my public, ought to love this idea. Because it is great.

Come join the conversation. What should the next Arnold Schwarzenegger movie be?


  1. hola, me llamo pedro me gustaria mucho que arnold schwarzenegger se pusiera en forma y protagonizara conan rey. seria estupendo

  2. Gracias, Pedro. No hablo espanol, pero le agradezco su comentario. Espero que regrese a menudo.

    Half of this was written with an on-line Spanish translator. In case it translated incorrectly, what I meant to say was, "Thanks, Pedro. I don't speak Spanish, but I appreciate your comment. I hope you come back often."

  3. Yet another pseudo-critic who knows nothing of the R.E Howard classic Conan novels. Yes we all loved Arnie but he wasn't true to the book character. Arnie's Conan was a sluggish oaf, the book character was immensely fast and menacing with black hair as well as being immensely strong and a highly intelligent military genius with a flair for languages. Momoa lacks the sheer muscle but has the ferocious feline dangerous look that Howard writes about. Conan also went about in the garb of the time, usually hauberk and cuirass mercenary getup, not the 70's porn Flintstones loincloth in pop culture. The director and last minute script changes makes me think it's going to be average but I for one intend to enjoy a Conan more like Howard's vision.

  4. Every time there's been a movie that strays from the book and a movie that attempts to be closer to the book, the movie that strays from the book has always been better, across the board. That's because adaptations demand something different from the original. If you're going to judge a film by how close it is to the original it is adapted from, then you kind of spit in the face of what is good about film. I'm not saying that it's impossible for this to be better than the originals, mainly because the originals were really only good for their campy value, but do you really think that amidst all of the terrible re-makes of the last decade this new Conan movie has the team necessary to make it a classic film? Or will it become like most of the rest: a hack with a couple cool moments that sells because of how beloved the originals have become to cult audiences?

  5. Why can't we just sit back and enjoy the movie? I loved the old Conan movies and I'm hoping to love the new one as well. I don't think it needs to be compared to the books or the old movies. It is what it is. If it's entertaining, that's all it needs to be a good movie.