May 27, 2013
This review is based upon watching the .MP4.
I love the Hyborian World of Robert E. Howard. I discovered the ACE paperbacks in the late 70s and gobbled them up. Then I discovered the Marvel Comics Conan series, and I quickly gobbled them up too. When I finally saw the original movie starring the Arnold on HBO, I was so excited to see the world of Howard come to life. When the movie ended, I was a very mixed up 13 year old. I liked the movie. Really liked it. It was fun, action packed, violent and filled with sorcery. Plus, I think it was the first ever R rated movie I had ever seen. But it was not the Conan I envisioned or had read about. It was my first hard lesson about the cinematic adaptation of beloved novels... LOL.
When I read about the 2011 remake, I was cautiously optimistic. I went into the movie hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. What I got was something in between. Visually the movie looked like Hyborian World as vividly described by Howard. And Jason Momoa was a far superior Conan in my opinion. But the actual story was a bit all over the place, at times playing too much homage to the novels instead of staying focused. And the score, which was the absolute best part of the first movies, was average and functional.
Which brings us to Agent 9's third fan edit and the one I held the highest anticipation. And I must say, this exciting new editor has delivered a pretty sweet and tasty piece of entertainment!
This version of Conan is very tightly cut and story driven. Maybe slightly over so, as many of the complexities of Conan's character are lost with the exclusion of the slave subplot. But story does move at very brisk pace, and you are never bored. Though there is for me one glaring plot error -- the sudden and unexplained appearance of Artus and his ship at a key point. It really does not make any sense in this new narrative since all his set up was removed. But I understand why the editor made this choice and once you get past this, the story moves along like a roller coaster ride.
I love the addition of the Mako opening and closing narration but the editor had this voice over occurring with a black screen which I found uninteresting. I think some sort of imagery should have been included to enhance the narration... either images of a Hyborian map or lift video of ancient kingdoms (maybe from KULL?) or old King Conan or even just plain title cards.
There a couple cuts/audio transitions that could have been slightly smoothed out but otherwise the video work is beautiful looking.
And now the score. As I said before, the best part of the original Conan movies is the Basil Poledouris music and its addition to this fan edit is a joyously welcomed one. What an incredible difference! The movie instantly becomes elevated into something better and greater! Amazing work Agent 9! Though I did notice that in scenes with dialogue, the music was too loud making it difficult to clearly understand what the characters were saying.
This was a fun fan edit and while not perfect, it does feel like an epic Conan adventure. I recommend it to all Conan addicts.