Following up from the not-yet-totally-official Conan the Barbarian Blu-Ray release, an intrepid unknown with a camera phone has taken what could be a snap of the Blu-Ray’s cover. While it’s small and practically illegible, it’s possible to discern some interesting factors – particularly the extras, which include a first look at the new Conan the Barbarian!
The picture has popped up on the Internet Movie Database and the Robert E. Howard Forums, but the original photographer appears unknown. The picture has a small resolution, nothing much to look at aside from the fact that the classic Renato Cesaro cover is being used, instead of the photo manipulations of other DVD releases. However, using my top secret enhancement software (erm, Adobe Photoshop) I’ve enlarged and cleared some sections of interest on the back.
First, the blurb. It appears to be more or less the same which has appeared on previous DVD releases, albeit slightly truncated towards the end:
Through the history of mankind, the times that are most recorded in mythology and song are those of great deeds and fantastic adventures. Such a time was the Hyborian Age. Such a tale is the story of Conan the Barbarian.
Cimmerian Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is captured as a child after his parents’ savage murder by raiding Vanir led by Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones). Fifteen years’ agony, first chaned to the Wheel of Pain grinding grain, and then enslaved as a Pit Fighter, forging a magnificent body and indomitable spirit. Freed miraculously one day by his owner, Conan, with his companions set forth to conquer the archvillain…
Hopefully this time around they won’t misspell “Hyborian,” as the wide-screen DVD release did, though at least they left off “Subotai the Mongol.” In addition, there’s the “Blu-Ray Exclusive” box that many DVDs feature:
Go Beyond the movie and customize you own hi-def experience
Enjoy interactive activities while you are watching the movie
PICTURE IN PICTURE
With just one click, access interactive cast and crew interviews and behind the scenes footage, all without interruption to the movie experience.
Exactly what those interactive activities will be remains to be seen.
However, here’s the most interesting section:
Of particular interest is the Additional Features box. Here’s what I interpret the runes to say:
ALL NEW EXTENDED CUT!
WITH NEVER BEFORE SEEN FOOTAGE
THE MAKING OF CONAN
THE CONAN ARCHIVES &
VAULT PRODUCTION STILLS
ALL NEW CAST &
COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF
ROBERT E. HOWARD’S STORIES
DELETED & ALTERNATE SCENES
EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT NEW
“CONAN THE BARBARIAN” FILM
This is purely guesswork, but an anonymous contributor at Comic Book Movie appears to corroborate with the gist of it. One wonders exactly what that first look could entail: are we talking a twenty-minute preview, or just the teaser trailer?
The release looks excellent, and Conan the Barbarian fans have been waiting a long time for it’s return. The extended cut with hitherto unseen footage is particularly tantalizing, going by a list revealed to The Arnold Fans: will the fabled Beast with Three Eyes finally make his debut? Will Milius resist the urge to pull a George Lucas/Steven Spielberg and add some extra CGI elements to the film? Only time will tell.
Being a Howard fan, two other things immediately leapt out: “Conan Unchained,” and the “Comprehensive Study of Robert E. Howard’s Conan Stories.” The first, assuming it’s one and the same with the DVD documentary, is an excellent overview on the making of the film marred by the creation of one of the most persistent and irritating of Howard myths: the idea that Howard was actually hallucinating the ghost of Conan. This is probably not a result of any mean spirits on Milius’ behalf – after all, he seemed to think it gave him a sort of kinship with Howard. Unfortunately, without the context needed to understand exactly what Howard was saying, this eventually mutated into people believing that Howard was experiencing paranoid delusions of millenia-dead warrior kings threatening to kill him if he didn’t write their biographies. If this is indeed the same “Conan Unchained,” then it would be nice if there were some qualifiers to explain that, no, Howard was not Elwood P. Dowd and Conan was not Harvey the PÃºca.
The “Comprehensive Study of Robert E. Howard’s Conan Stories” is also of great interest to me. What sort of study are we talking about? Hopefully they don’t just reuse “Conan: The Rise of a Fantasy Legend,” which seemed less a retrospective on Conan than a justification of Conan the Barbarian’s divergences from the stories with a few figures from Howardom popping in for a soundbyte (Don Herron, Ed Waterman & Jim Keegan, for example). I’d really love if they got someone like Glenn Lord to do an overview of the stories with comments from critics, authors, artists, scholars and fans, just to show there’s so much more to Conan than a few films.
CPI has been great in boosting the presence of Robert E. Howard in recent years, and I’m anxious to see if this extends to the upcoming Blu-Ray release. Here’s hoping.
EDIT: Thanks to Steve Harris for pointing out the correct spelling of Renato Casaro.