30 Dec 2011

Conan, or what I did wrong in my holidays

When I was ayoung boy I discovered this ad in the Waikato times. It was in black and white, but as movie ads went it was massive. My father and I went me to see it together and it was WICKED.  Sorcerors, humerous theives, Grace Jones, princesses and decapitations. The film led me to the the books and stories of Robert E. Howard and a new and exciting world opened up for me.

It is this nostalgic love on the film and the 1982 original that I suspect made me watch the remake. I think I was curious to compare this movie to the original stories and the 1982 film. Well I have seen it and I can safely say I would have rather spent the last 113 minutes watching four episodes of Jeremy Kyle back to back while having my eye brows plucked. 

But more on that later let’s have a synopsis. There are some spoilers in here, but not as much as watching this movie will spoil your day.

The story starts with the Baby Conan being born by battle cesarean, courtesy of his father. His mother was having a baby shower, Cimmerian style. Apparently this involves inviting over the neighbours over for the traditional gifts and party evisceration's. Unfortunately the party gets out of hand when the proud mother gets the gift that keeps on giving, a terminal stomach laceration. With the Baby Conan born, the story jumps to Conan the tween, who is trying to earn his father’s (Ron Perlman) sword. But before he can Conan’s village is attacked by the army of Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang). Khalar Zym is seeking the scattered parts of an enchanted mask which was broken by the barbarian tribes a generation before. The Cimmerians are defeated, the final piece recovered and Conan’s father murdered.  We then move to Conan the adult (Jason Momoa) along with his smouldering gaze seeking revenge. Yes it could have been the gaze that was seeking revenge, it was hard to ascertain. 

There was so much smouldering, that there were a few times I had to pick up the cover and check that I had indeed rented a film about Conan the Barbarian, not a Harlequin romance on the big screen. But then it couldn’t be a Harlequin romance as the writing would have been better, and the characters more developed.  I wonder if the script required Mr. Momoa to smoulder, or if it was so weak that when they were filming it the director asked Jason to smoulder to fill up time.

“Smoulder Jason, Smoulder.”
 I estimate that least 58 of the film 113 minutes were of Mr. Momoa smouldering. 

While the 1982 film was not based on a particular story of Mr. Robert E. Howard, it was at least set in his world of Hyboria. I might be wrong but there was little in this remake that relates to the first movie let alone the fantasy world of Robert E. Howard.  Yes Conan was a Cimmerian in the Hyborian age, but there was little else of note. And say what you will about Arnold Swartzenegger, the man has a sense of humour and some big screen charisma. This movie really departs from both the original film and the fictional franchise it is meant to be based on. 
In regards to the story I have seen less plot holes in my colander. The narrative development was chunky, weak, and poorly paced.The whole movie seemed rushed and disjointed.  The fight scenes were impressive, but they soon became passé and repetitive.  The violence trying to compensate for the insipid story, but not even the buckets of blood could add any colour to this mess.

The acting from the female lead (Rachel Nichols) was passable, Ron Perlman was typically great and the baddies comprising of Rose McGowan and Stephen Lang were fine. Rose stood out as the campy evil Sorceress, but none of this was enough to save this abysmal fantasy farce.            

Fantasy can make the transition to film or TV, just look at the Game of Thrones for a good example.  You just need a good script. Dammit an average script would be nice.  But we keep seeing terrible scripts translating into poor dialogue and feeble stories which no 100 million production value can save.  I have mentioned this before but the original movie made three times the budget in profit, this movie’s gross covered 20% of its budget.  Hollywood must learn to spend more on decent writers and less on CGI and mediocre stunts. 
I give this cinematic travesty two and a half Monkeys. One for not having a Wayans brother or Rob Schneider in it, and one and a half for having Ron Perlman and Rose McGowan, but this is one of the worst movies I have seen this year.

27 Dec 2011

Inspiration and energy

Firstly it is SUNNY

I have suffered from a lack of sun this year and the current weather in the capital is almost medicinal.  Because the weather was so good I metamorphosed from a grumpy indoorsy chap to a grumpy hot outdoorsy chap. The metamorphosis was aided by the acquisition of shorts.
It's amazing I never knew how a humble pair of warehouse shorts could transform me.

Then my lovely girl and I decided that to celebrate the sun and go on an expedition. So we found a intermediate walking track and went for a mighty trek.

I thought I was going to die in the first 30 seconds. To get to the track you have to walk up a very steep access way and I am very out of shape. Well that's not true, I do have a shape but it's not the right one for excercise.

But we don't give up in my family, so I soldiered on sounding like the before guy in a radio advertisement for asthma medication. But soon enough my body loosened up and I started to have fun. And by the end of it I felt great.

You are probably wondering what the devil this post has to do with writing or film or any thing really?
Well the same way many people feel energised and happier after exercise I feel after writing. There is something about creating something that is good for me. I can't explain it really, I guess it is just part of my inherent nature to create, and I am the better for it.

So on that note I have to fortify myself as I have promised my lady that she can see the new film "Midnight in Paris."   Despite being a film by Woody Allen I am hoping for a pleasant morning. And if nothing else it will make my girl happy. 

I wish you all the pleasantest of memories and fun over the holiday period. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New year.

18 Dec 2011

Break, family and energy

I haven't posted in a while, sorry for that.

It is not that I have nothing to say, but the silly season is crazy this year and two major events have stopped me from doing so.

The first was a visit by the matriarch of my family house, House P. 
Yes my lovely mother and older brother travelled south into the grey and gloom that is Wellywood (Mordor?) to celebrate Johns day and an early Christmas as I am staying south this year.
My brother was displeased by the news the jammy tarts were finished

So there were feasts of turkey, trifle, brandy snaps and Swedish Meat balls. There was much to drink and games to play. There were presents given;  giant zeppelin fish, wonderful compass's, books on swords and Doyle. Laughing and dancing.

 And of course the traditional questions of the state of my digestive tract, finances, love life and of course my future.

It was fun and exhausting as only family can be, but I am grateful to have spent some quality time with them for Christmas.

The second reason for my hiatus from my electronic processing contraption is that apparently my graphics card went "POOPTED!" I assure you this is the technical term for what apparently occurred.  So my contraption was unusable until a friend came over to to fix it yesterday.

Than you Chris, I promise you food and drink for your generosity and time.

Anyway this week I will post a few times prior to my travels over the hills north to a promised land of sun.

If you can't live wise, live ascetically. It may be shallow, but it's at least beautiful.

Don't know why I wrote that, probably the music I am listening to.

Thank you for your patience and I'll write soon.

5 Dec 2011

Johns day Eve

Huzzah Huzzah Huzzah!

It's that favourite time of year for all the noble souls in the world. Time to wear your favourite animal hat, and dry clean your best velvet.

Sharpen your blades and sing songs of battles old.

Octalavia we will never forget you!

Put some milk and honey out for the Hobgoblins and Sprites, some meat for the wolves, apples for the horses and a nice Shiraz for the king of Cats.
Make sure it's a nice surprise mind, he has Tigers for Valets.

Remember the old gods they are lonely.
Tip your hat at the new lest Angels pull your wings off.

Prepare for the feast tomorrow. Defrost the turkey, freeze the Vodka and gather the beer, wine and antipasto.

Gather the traditional Johns day DVDs watched every year for the last seven hundred years; Ran, Seven Samurai, City of Lost Children, and any of the Wallace and Gromit selection.

for it's Johns day eve When vampires crawl int your room and night and bite the heads off all the jelly babies, and you must sleep before the wolfing hour lest the sand man come and take your eyes.  Smile at the More-pork and he will warn you.

Prepare yourself for a day like no other, with fire breathers, vikings, steam punk and burlesque piratequeens.

Prepare and fear, weep and cheer.

Huzzah Huzzah Huzzah