Monday, May 23, 2011

Conan the Destroyer (1984)

Tagline: The Darkest Side of Magic. The Strongest Side of Man.

So you all know that Arnold Schwarzenegger has won a few Oscars and has been nominated for more awards than you can count on two hands… NOT. Yea, this movie was a waste of 1 hr. and 40 minutes of my life. Read this to get a laugh, but otherwise, don’t even think about watching this horrendous movie.

Summary: Short and Sweet à Conan, this really fit barbarian, gets enlisted by Queen Taramis to take her niece on a magical journey. The purpose: acquire a magical crystal and enchanted horn, which are, of course, surrounded by mystical obstacles. The Queen’s niece, Princess Jehnna, is an integral part of a ritual: she will be sacrificed to their god, who will be awakened with the enchanted horn. Conan, standup guy that he is, saves her and the world from the vengeful demon-god.

I have issues with nearly every character in this movie. But I’ll start with our hero.

Conan’s intro shot is just beautiful, with the close-up panning shot of Conan’s ripped physique. (special emphasis on his furry-speedo-undies which barely cover his muscular crotch area) He loves wielding his sword, an obvious phallic symbol, and speaking with a nondescript accent…oh wait, that’s just Schwarzenegger’s regular speaking voice. Now, he’s persuaded to go on this journey because Queen Taramis promises that she’ll bring his love—Valeria, which sounds like a type of STD—back from the dead. Mr. Schwarzaenegger’s acting in this film is quite terrible, between the surprised faces to his determined face to his macho face… I’m pretty sure they all look the same. I had a real problem will these OBVIOUS shots of Schwarzenegger’s sword wielding accentuating his LARGE guns – I almost feel like they told him to flex every muscle he could while he was on camera.

Conan’s loyal sidekick, the memorable what’s-his-face, is so terrible I don’t know what to do with him. Besides being the stereotypical sidekick who screws up everything, the actor portrays him as almost a lost hippie, with his stupid-looking faces. I have settled on the conjecture that the actor was on drugs or something.

Princess Jehnna: Well, she looks sweet enough and oddly, she’s the only character with a posh British accent – not sure where she learned that one. I laughed at the fact that her virginity is made such a huge deal, especially because her costuming is distinctly sensual and feminized with major cleavage and exposed skin. I thought the actress was way too young to play opposite Schwarzenegger.

There is this other problem of an Amazonian-like woman who sports less clothes than Lady Gaga, with the only thing covering her butt-crack a hanging squirrel tail. There is also a magical Asian man who comes complete with his own stereotypes, my favorite being the way he says incantations: a flurry of arm-waving, clasping hands, closing eyes, and humming. Really?

The last thing I will say is that there is no shortage of demon-sorcerer creatures throughout the film. My favorite was the demon-gorilla who stole Little Red Riding hood’s red cape.

Overall, the film was just a weird combination of fantasy and bad acting. I’m not sure it contributes much to the 80s decade of film. It’s not visually stunning, did not spark a generational phenomenon (I’m sorry to say, it did spark sequels and other Conan stories), nor did it impact my life in any way, shape, or form. It has just taught me to avoid Schwarzenegger movies…other than The Terminator, of course. J


1 comment:

Vladigogo said...

Hilarious write up.

(By the way, I loved Conan the Barbarian.)

Plus, this summer the remake comes out. I think in August, so you can compare the two.