Monday, August 29, 2011

Ancient world Fantasy Weekend

This weekend turned out to be an interesting foray into the Ancient World Fantasy film genre. First up:

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Not sure why this film got a bad rap. It is a fun little adventure, captures the feel and movement of the games quite well and gives us a great little twist on the whole time travel genre. Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job (although his accent was a bit wobbly surrounded by a cast primarily made up of British citizens)bringing a likeable character and a physicality to the role I didn't know he was capable of. Beautiful scenery and decent script. For a good action adventure film, this one is just fine.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

I will freely admit I am a huge fan of Jason Momoa primarily from his work on Stargate: Atlantis and Game of Thrones (I like to ignore the fact he was on Baywatch) so I went into this film already planning on enjoying it due to his presence. However, I walked out of the film realizing I had just seen something great. Not spectactular or "oh my god you have to see this" caliber, but a fun adventure that met every expectation I would imagine out of a Conan film.

If your only exposure to Conan has been the early 80s film, please clear it from your head when considering the new one. While Arnold and John Millius gave us a fantastic film, it really morphed into it's own thing and shied away from the original source of Conan. The new film manages to be much closer in spirit to the original books and has a great time doing so. Let me share with you the Just Another Movie Geek Official Conan Check list©:

-Copious sword play with blood lettings: check
-Ample bosoms on screen: check (and before I am accused of misogyny, I would say the male and female bare chest time was fairly even in the film)
-Evil bad guy that only our stalwart hero can bring down: check
-The riddle of steel: check (and I liked it better in the new one!)
-Witchcraft, sorcery and other black magics: check
-Other worldly-ness and ancient-ness to the setting: check

The only fault I found in it was as fantastic as the world we were given was, it did seem that travel time was completely ignored in favor of quick narrative. Not that I wanted a LOTR rehash showing Conan riding the sand for hours and hours, but things just seemed to happen a bit quickly. And not a complaint, but I was actually expecting a bit more gore. Sure there was plenty of blood flying, a few dismemberments and the such, but when shows like 'Spartacus Blood and Sand' manage to up the sword level gore gratuity to a new level I feel a bit let down when I don't get it here as much.

If you like yourself a good sword, sandal and sorcery flick, ignore the bad reviews this one is getting and check it out.

Overall: 8 out of 10

Side note: The universe apparently wants me to have more Alfred Molina in my daily life. Over the past 4 days he showed up in 3 films we have watched and then he was in a trailer before Conan.