The latest trailer for the upcoming 3D Conan the Barbarian reboot, directed by Marcus Nispel (2003’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake), has been unveiled at the film’s UK Facebook page. You can watch it below at the end of this article.
Nispel’s feature marks the first time in nearly three decades that the Cimmerian warrior, created by Texas writer Robert E. Howard in 1932, has slashed his way across the big screen. The last time was 1984’s Conan the Destroyer, which coincidentally was the final time Arnold Schwarzenegger picked up Conan’s sword. The latest actor to inherit the role is Jason Momoa, best known to fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones (I really need to catch up on that show) as Khal Drogo. Supporting Momoa in his first starring role in a film are Rachel Nichols (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), Rose McGowan (Planet Terror), with Ron Perlman (Hellboy) as Conan’s father Corin and Stephen Lang (Avatar) as the film’s villain Khalar Zym.
The marketing for Conan got off to a bumpy start early in the year, but the recent trailers and posters have indicated that the filmmakers were doing their best to stay true to the spirit of Howard’s brawny, monosyllabic creation. Despite some early apprehension about the casting of Momoa, the guy actually looks to be a good fit for the iconic character, at least physically. Releasing the movie late in the summer is also a good way to avoid the major studio tentpole flicks that suffocate moviegoers in the first three months of the season.
But the recent backlash against Hollywood’s overexposure of the 3D trend that has seen movies like Kung Fu Panda 2 and Green Lantern open to less than stellar grosses despite being designed for the third dimension might put a crimp in Conan’s box office chances. Let’s not forget that the only movie Nispel has made besides the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th remakes was 2007’s Pathfinder, another movie that mined Conan the Barbarian for inspiration but was a massive black hole of entertainment and storytelling ambition. The credited writers of the new Conan have been responsible for such sterling celluloid “classics” as A Sound of Thunder, Halloween: Resurrection, and The Crow: Wicked Prayer. Of course most of the time you can hardly blame the writer for how these clusterfucks turn out. The overabundance of CGI gives this movie a cheap and artificial look that makes one hunger for the authentic beauty of John Milius’ 1982 Conan film.
Now that I think of it, I really wish Milius had been able to complete the trilogy he had planned when he first set out to make the first Conan. At the very least it’s a crime he wasn’t allowed to make King Conan: Crown of Iron.
In the meantime, we can take comfort knowing that this new Conan the Barbarian will be R-rated and feature a great deal of digital blood and gore, and we all know that flying limbs and arterial spray look mighty pretty in 3D. I love that logo too.
Bonus Fact: Rose McGowan was once rumored to play another Robert Howard creation, Red Sonja, in a film produced by former boyfriend Robert Rodriguez. That project was canceled several years ago, not long after the couple split.
Conan the Barbarian 3D opens in the U.S. on August 19, 2011.