There is a reason that Re-makes dont work…Especially if they are of Iconic films. Even re-booting the franchise with a new story line is a iffy-proposition and often leads us to think that the film would have maybe succeeded if it had been given a new title and we went in without expectations…all these things have been proved once again by watching Conan the Barbaian in 3-D at Robot Bala Abirami Theatre in Purasaiwalkam today matinee show. There were a total of 20 people in the theater and as half of the crowd consisted of canoodling couples who soon sneaked off to distant and dark corners, I guess the actual audience for the movie was pretty much of a handfull- and this was just the second day of its release.
Halfway through the movie and all the way back home from the film I was trying hard to remember where I had seen this film before…..naah…this wasnt a rip-off of the Original Arnie Schwarznegger Conan….this looked like a scene-by-scene rip-off of some other movie I had seen recently…..and then it hit me…The Prince of Persia- Sands of time…
The story is basically the same…a dispossessed warrior with a girl in tow fighting evil magicians and cruel tyrants…..blah..blah..blah…its all swords and sandals stuff…the last fight atop a crumbling fort is actually a frame-by- frame copy of the Prince of Persia climax fight- with the collapsing masonry and the hero and villian slugging it out and the heroine hanging from the hero’s hand right over a awesome chasm and begging him to let go of her and fight the villian…you get the drift..
Some of the fights seem illogical and the screenplay looks like having been written on the run- lack of story does that to you- you just want to fill it up with fights and special effects. The evil monster sand-men fight is pretty interesting but they die too soon and too easily- unlike the scene from “the Mummy” which is clearly the inspiration for this scene.
Jason Momoa tries hard…but the shoes are too big for him to fill…firstly, he doesnt look like a barbarian- he looks like a (gay)beach bum with a preening attitude. Now Arnold- he really looked like a barbarian- even without meaning to- I mean he looked the part of the half-animal/half-man crazy dude in real life too. And with Arnold it was easier to believe that all those 100 soldiers waiting to be slaughtered had met their come-uppance…there was no way they could survive those biceps…with Jason it’s a bit iffy- if he would fight them or maybe pout at them..
Ron Perlman as Conans father does seem miscast too….he looks as if he came straight from the sets of Hell-boy and doesnt look like having fathered anyone, least of all a human….The heroine is pretty interesting looking and can, surprise, act, but even she is swallowed up by the vilian’s daughter..now this was one frighteningly sick missie with a big black unibrow…..signifying her strength in black magic?
Finally a word about the theatre..please dont watch any film, especially a 3-D film at Bala Abirami (robot or not)…the size of the screen for the size of the hall is like watching TV at home….
All-in all – I would sum-up Conan 2011 as worth waiting for to watch on TV….