After all these TV spots, we have our first clip from the film released!
I’ll be back later with an analysis (aye, aye, you’ve heard THAT before), but suffice to say, there are things I like in this clip, and thinks I don’t like. Really like, and really don’t like.
EDIT: Before I post my opinions, I’ve composed an overview and description of what happens in the clip, which you can view by clicking onwards.
We start off with an establishing shot of the Cimmerian village. It looks a lot like the village seen in “Born on the Battlefield,” but unlike that comic, this village has a vertical-axis water wheel. The accompanying music utilizes strings and woodwinds, like in Braveheart and other Celtic-minded films.
Next we see Ron Perlman’s Conan, who hands out eggs, placing them in the mouths of Cimmerian youths. The youths are clad in white waistcoats, wool or sheepskin. “When a Cimmerian feels thirst, it is the thirst for blood. When he feels cold, it is the cold edge of steel. But the courage of the Cimmerian is tempered, he neither fears death, nor rushes foolishly to meet it.”
During this, we see a young Cimmerian’s legs scampering through the village, chickens scurrying out of his path. Corin continues: “For to be a Cimmerian warrior, you must have both cunning and balance, as well as speed and strength.” The Cimmerian boy continues rushing through the village, bustling through the warriors congregating around Corin. He rushes up to the rest of the youths, shouldering and muscling in among them. He is at least half a head shorter than some of them, a full head shorter than most. We see this young Cimmerian is Leo Howard’s Conan.
Corin does not fail to notice this intruder. “Conan.” A large youth shoves Conan forward, while others chuckle irascibly. Conan looks up at his father with a surly expression. Corin’s expression is unchanged.
“First to circle the hills and return the egg unbroken earns the right to fight with the warriors.” We see a number of these warriors behind Corin, some with streaks of grey in their hair. He gestures the youths to begin the race: they depart hurriedly and excitedly. Young Conan looks deflated: he’s obviously not going to join them today. He casts his face downwards. Corin looks at him for a space, then sighs:
“Oh, by Crom, boy, what are you waiting for?” He then tosses an egg to Conan, who catches it in his hands, stuffs it into his mouth, and rushes off to catch up with the others. Corin looks after him, nodding approvingly.
The forest has a thick layer of snow, and the trees are bare of leaves. At least a full dozen Cimmerian youths are rushing through the forest. One youth attempts to tackle Conan, but he effortlessly counters, hurling the youth to the ground. Another youth leaps from a rock, landing on his feet. Conan shoves a rival youth into a fallen tree, causing him to spit out his egg, which falls broken on the trunk.
A long panning shot following the youths on their race ends with a menacing head rearing in the foreground, not ten feet from the youths: a warrior with a topknot and strange designs. A Pict! One youth looks back, and sees the Pict in hot pursuit – and he is not alone. Conan is jostling with another boy, who stops suddenly and pulls Conan back – he’s seen something ahead of them. The other boys stop in their tracks. More Picts ahead – it’s an ambush.
One boy shouts “we go back.” The five youths with Conan turn and run back to the village. Conan sets his face in grim determination, and swaggers forward – towards the Picts.
A youth can be heard calling for Conan, but the youngest Cimmerian has broken into a run, a wide grin on his face. As the Picts convene on Conan, one savage hurls a bola, snaring Conan by his feet. The boy tumbles to the ground.
The Picts surround Conan, bellowing like animals: one lows like an ox, another snarls like a big cat. One taunts Conan by smiting the snow with his weapon. Conan gets up, noticing the other two Picts approaching. One snarls, and grabs Conan by the hair, forcing his head down. Conan snatches up a broken branch, and stabs the Pict in the thigh. Conan grabs the Picts’ pick, and smites him in the side of the neck. The other Picts circle Conan in a defensive posture. One attacks, swiping for Conan’s head with a two-handed club: Conan ducks, gives him a right hook (apparently he left the pick in the Pict’s neck) and finishes with a Chuck Norris-style roundhouse kick to the temple.
Two Picts remain, and they continue to stalk Conan from a distance. Conan rushes towards one, and in one fluid motion does a barrel roll while picking up a rock, dodging the lunge of the other Pict. Conan smashes the former with the rock, but this gives the other Pict time to whack Conan in the back. On all fours, Conan seizes a knife, and stabs it into the Pict’s foot. The Pict howls – quite literally – like a dog. Conan removes the knife, and stabs the Pict in the shoulder. Conan leaps onto the Pict’s back, and starts pummeling him with his fists. He wrestles the Pict to the ground, and dashes his head into the snow: by the eruption of blood, he must’ve been brained on a rock. Conan grabs the Pict by the scruff of the neck and hauls him up, running him head-first into a fallen tree. Conan barrel rolls with the impact, ending in a crouching position.
Three Picts are dead, the final survivor – the one stabbed in the thigh and neck – attempts to crawl away. Conan unhurriedly picks up the heavy two-handed weapon, and brings it down on the last Pict.
Back at the Village
There is a commotion at the Cimmerian village. A crowd has gathered. Corin moves through it. The crowd parts as Conan, exhausted and dripping with blood, staggers onward. The Cimmerians are stunned: some women gasp and cover their mouths. The youths form two lines on either side. We see that Conan is carrying the bloody heads of three Picts. Conan stops in front of his father. The camera cuts to his feet, and he drops the three heads on the ground. Conan contemptuously spits at the ground – the egg hits the ground, evidently unharmed during the entire ordeal. Corin stares in amazement.