Conan The Barbarian

Man, seems like an hour wasn't long enough for my Conan/BM fix!

I haven't seen the movie in a while, but was inspired again by the discussion and will probably watch it before GoT this weekend.  That being said, I just wanted to share a few reflections, in particular the deeper kind (not necessarily akin to @Jim 's "philosophy", but certainly more than "get ya sowward"

First, the standouts of the actual actors of pedigree.  James Earl Jones clearly bring gravitas to any role he plays.  The initial scene, where he beheads Conan's mother - from the henchmen that look like Marty Jannetty and Lemmy admiring the handiwork of the Father's sword to JEJ taking off that helmet and ending the life of the one adult left who is showing defiance.  The way he convinced her with his eyes (which are fackin BLUE btw!) that mercy was a possibility followed by his lowering of his eyes to sell it completely on a turn and the utter ruthlessness of popping her head off with her own husband's sword that she helped finish the hilt of.  All without speaking a single word.  Damn.

I understood the points about "ah, must have been when I was younger" being odd considering his "age" and in all likelihood no more than 20 years prior, but that is assuming that the Cult of Set that he was leading at the time was as old as he was.  It could be that he deems his "lifetime" in ages rather than years or the singular.  He certainly mentions that he did covet steel more than other things at some point in his past before he moves on to flesh.  At any rate, I loved that juxtaposition of no matter how great an impact this had on a young Conan, it was insignificant to Doom.  "You killed my mother, you killed my father, you killed my PEOPLE" - an entire populace wiped out and he can't even remember it.  Terrifying.

As for Max Von Sydow... "There comes a time when the jewels cease to sparkle and the gold loses its lustre...and all that is left is a father's love for his child".  Aside from Osric the Usurper being "a Northman, like my lord" this line totally convinces me why Conan would take up the quest.  The love of a father for his child.  The love of a child for the memory of his parents.  Von Sydow manages in all of a few minutes to bring additional purpose to the next act, and I always thought it was a brilliant moment.

Lastly, just wanted to draw attention to a couple of other standout things that only occurred to me once I thought about the movie rather than just enjoying it.

The three barbarian party actors were all basically not even actors.  Yes, some of their performance is a little wooden, but it seems Milius was picking them for what they would bring to their respective roles almost as themselves than he was asking them to act.  Well casted there really for me as Schwarzenegger's awkwardness plays well for a barbarian and man of few words.

Second, the love between Conan and Valeria never seemed forced, yet I can't really remember much dialogue between them (or from Conan at all, really).  Yet, when Valeria says how "even the Gods could not sever us" - I didn't question it.  I really love her character because she was such a badass, and for Conan to be told right at the start of the movie about who he can trust (not men, nor women, not beasts) for him to fall for her is a critical part of his journey into realizing that his father wasn't 100% correct, and how Thulsa Doom's perspective is weeding his way in.  You see this too during his recovery scene where he's on the beach doing some pretty hammy sword-flourishes and keeps looking at his own hands.

Also, some of the little things that they put in. The henchmen pointing at Conan's dad who is having everyone off and basically saying to the rest "get him".  The guy right before the crush your enemies speech saying "my greatest fear is that my son will never understand me".  Conan's dismissal of the women of the city "they're all SLUTS" followed by chinning a camel.  The discarding of Doom's head, followed by the discarding of his father's sword.  The discarding, essentially, of his core.

Anyway great job guys you brought this movie back to me.  Thanks as always

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