Conan US Premiere coverage & early reviews

So, the premiere has passed. I’ll leave it to the likes of Examiner to analyse the upholstery of the attending ladies (“Elsa Pataky wore a pleated chiffon cream colored dress with black detailing at the neck, which matched her black pumps” while “Rachel Nichols’s cream sequined dress with the side cutouts was a winner as well”), but I’ll provide a few pics and snippets I found of interest. According to various reports, castmembers Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Rose McGowan, Ron Perlman, Leo Howard, Bob Sapp and Milton Welsh were in attendance, as well as director Marcus Nispel. I’m afraid I don’t know who Elsa Pataky or Tom Arnold are, but they were there, as was Patrick Muldoon (who will always be Zander from Starship Troopers to me) and I’ll assume their presence at the premiere was indeed vital and entirely necessary.

For the earliest reviews punctuated with pictures, videos and interviews…

PopCandiesTV has an impressive number of clips from the premiere featuring various cast and crew members.

Nonso Anozie (Artus) was there, and he comes across as a thoroughly loveable and eloquent chap:

Gisella Marengo (Maliva, Khalar Zym’s beloved wife, and Marique’s mother) looking absolutely gorgeous:

Leo Howard (young Conan) signs autographs like a pro – mark my words, this kid’s going places:

Marcus Nispel gets in on the signings, scribbling away with a flourish like a mad artist:


Alina Puscau (erm, Slave Girl #1) looking glamorous:

And hey, Bob Sapp (Ukafa) too! We’ve seen so little of the big guy, it’s almost like catching a sighting of the Loch Ness Monster. All we need now is Steve O’Donnel as Lucius…

I thought this was a rather lovely picture of Jason Momoa and his lass Lisa Bonet:

Here’s Rachel Nichols, whose backless attire is undoubtedly a masterful work of engineering future archaeologists will study for centuries:

Here’s a nice group shot of much of the cast, with Jason Momoa flanked by Rose McGowan and Rachel Nichols, backed by Ron Perlman, Bob Sapp and what could be Milton Davies:

Marcus Nispel was present, of course, and frankly, with that wild beard of his, I’m starting to wonder whether it would’ve been better putting him in front of the camera rather than behind:

Sean Hood dropped by Conan Move Blog to tell us more about the after-show party:

The premiere and after-party were a lot of fun. Jason was rambunctious and humorous. Rose and Rachel were radiant. Executives and Producers were in high spirits, and Leo Howard got the biggest round of applause for his bad ass portrayal of young Conan.

Here’s the man of the hour putting up his dukes:

And finally, here’s Bob Sapp with a tiny lady.

Early Reviews

One early review can be found at French site SciFiUniverse.com, and unfortunately I’m still not any better with my French, so I’ll leave it to Babelfish and Google Translate to guide us, and hope our Francophone Cromrades can illuminate us. From what I can tell, it’s a fairly balanced review, though it almost exclusively concentrates on comparing it to the 1982 film, almost entirely ignoring the fact that Conan had been around for 50 years beforehand. I realise that comparing a film to previous films is inevitable, but I don’t see why it should dominate a review any more than Captain America reviews should be dominated by comparison to the Reb Brown or Matt Salinger films. Looks like a job for the Gallic Shieldwall: get on it, lads! Here’s the summary, translated as best I can:

Conan 3D is not the MTV Zack Snyder version of the Cimmerian as foreshadowed in the trailers, very reassuring, and made between a mixture of shows like Rome, Spartacus: Blood and Sand and The Iron Throne (which also starred Jason Momoa) with the pure B movie exploitation (combat violence, gore, sex …). Marcus Nispel new offer of cinema popcorn is well done, excessively generous, but also a bit disembodied (still missing a little something in his films). It is frankly fun, at least if we take the film for what it is and not for what it could have been, and what was once the movie Conan. Conan is 3D carnage, rather fun and very diverting, but too hollow to qualify as a successor to the Conan of John Milius and Schwarzenegger (which remains the best incarnation of the character).

Another review comes from MyMozaik.lu, and it’s also fairly positive (even if it makes the “remake” mistake):

Rarely is a remake better than the original, but in the case of Conan the Barbarian which premiered yesterday evening at Utopolis, the remake is streets ahead of the original Arnold Schwarzenegger 1982 effort.

Directed by Marcus Nispel (Friday the 13th, Pathfinder), the film stars Jason Mamoa who has previously had mainly roles in TV series to date. He excels in the role of Conan. Although he does have lines in the script which he delivers adequately, it’s fairly safe to say that he got the role for his physique and sword-fighting scenes.

The storyline is based on Conan, a Cimmerian, being born in the middle of a battle – literally – and his quest to avenge the death of his father. He aids a damsel in distress (Tamara, played by Rachel Nichols) from the evil Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang of Avatar fame) and a powerful witch, Marique (Rose McGowan). That’s the simple version, the extended version having a lot more intertwining sub-plots and various other characters.

Not for the squeamish, and action-a-plenty. There are plenty of travel scenes with astounding scenery – the film was shot in Bulgaria, including along its Black Sea coastline – and many fight-scenes. One such scene that sets the tone for the film is when the young Conan joins other youths in a race, with the winner earning the right to fight as a warrior; the group comes across a group of wild machete-wielding natives and Conan is the only one not to turn back – instead, he succeeds and brings back their heads. Gruesome, but utterly effective.