Saturday morning was my first class of the school year. Yea, Saturday morning. At 8am. That means getting up at 6:30. On Saturday. Kill me. Also, the class is Anatomy and Physiology lab. We will be dissecting a cat. On Saturday mornings. Is this real life? Anyway, since the morning sucked so hard, a friend and I went to Becky's Drive In. They had an epic double feature option of Conan the Barbarian and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and that was way too good to pass up. I saw the original Conan the Barbarian my freshman year of high school. It supposedly fit into the course curriculum but all I remember is my English teacher attempting to censor the sex scenes by putting a piece of paper in front of the projector. This might have worked if she had turned the sound down as well, and held the paper against the projector lens. As it was, we were able to hear perfectly well the horrid Schwarzenegger sex noises, and the paper thing only created a smaller screen. For a 14 year old, it was hilarious.
For a 24 year old with a love of insane bloodbaths, Conan the Barbarian (the new one) was just OK. Unlike other movies of it's ilk - The Scorpion King comes to mind - none of the characters were particularly memorable. I take that back, almost none. Ron Perlman, as Conan's father, was rather delightful. This is a man who got his start playing a caveman without makeup. I still can't decide if he is fiercely unattractive or very sexy. And he's downright awesome in Sons of Anarchy. But yea, other than him, nothing really spectacular from any of the actors. Jason Momoa, as Conan, was big and growly with an admirable rear but the actor who played the younger version, Leo Howard, had more guts. Rose McGowan, some witch chick, was her normal, disturbing self with along with a decidedly not normal forehead. I'm amazed, every time I see her in a movie, that people keep paying her to 'act'. She's truly awful.
Speaking of terrible actresses, Rachel Nichols (as TaMARa, not TAmara, just so she is a bit more exotic) is utterly devoid of emotion other than 'vaguely irritated but still trying to look sexy'. In one scene she - along with a group of large men who really do the work - defeat an enemy and she looks about her with such an idiotic expression that I wanted to stab her with the sword she could barely lift. The bad guy, Khalar Zym, portrayed by Stephen Lang (also known as 'Ohhh, THAT guy!) was utterly forgettable other than that horrible spider-mask thing. He kind of fights, but his daughter (Rose McGowan) does most of the work and he mostly just glares and makes snarky comments.
Alright, so the acting was shit, but who expected more? The movie wasn't even as epic as it could have been. There were a number of times I thought "I would have done this" or "This would have been better", which makes me wonder why no one in Hollywood has hired me yet! So many opportunities were lost - no close ups of angry elephants, no hilarious side kick, no Dwayne Johnson... What we did get was an overabundance of implied incest (never a good thing), a really obnoxious sidekick that was obviously a failed take-off of Arpid in The Scorpion King and a really lame sea monster. On the other hand, we did get tomahawk wielding crazies who scream like velociraptors from Jurassic Park, but we didn't get to see a whole lot of them. The first 40 minutes was entertaining, then it just got old.
All in all, mildly entertaining, but only because I was able to laugh and comment loudly (in the car), only paid $4 for it (or rather, nothing, since my friend paid for me), and was going to see a better movie right after. Save your money on this one.