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 Eberts Review of CONAN biased?

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Cromulus The Destroyer
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PostSubject: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Wed 24 Jun - 5:01

Quote :
Not since Bambi's mother was killed has there been a cannier movie for kids than CONAN THE BARBARIAN. It's not supposed to be just a kids' movie, of course, and I imagine a lot of other moviegoers will like it—I liked a lot of it myself, and with me, a few broadswords and leather jerkins go a long way. But CONAN is a perfect fantasy for the alienated preadolescent. Consider: Conan's parents are brutally murdered by the evil Thulsa Doom, which gets them neatly out of the way. The child is chained to the Wheel of Pain, where he goes around in circles for years, a metaphor for grade school. The kid builds muscles so terrific he could be a pro football player. One day he is set free. He teams up with Subotai the Mongol, who is an example of the classic literary type—the Best Pal—and with Valeria, Queen of Thieves, who is a real best pal.
Valeria is everything you could ever hope for in a woman, if you are a muscle-bound preadolescent, of course. She is lanky and muscular and a great sport, and she can ride, throw, stab, fence, and climb ropes as good as a boy. Sometimes she engages in sloppy talk about love, but you can tell she's only kidding, and she quickly recovers herself with cover-up talk about loyalty and betrayal—emotions more central to Conan's experience and maturity.
With the Mongol and the Queen at his side, Conan ventures forth to seek the evil Thulsa Doom and gain revenge for the death of his parents. This requires him to journey to the mysterious East, where he learns a little quick kung-fu, and then to the mountainside where Doom rules his slave-priests from the top of his Mountain of Power. There are a lot of battles and a few interesting nights at crude wayside inns and, in general, nothing to tax the unsophisticated. CONAN THE BARBARIAN is, in fact, a very nearly perfect visualization of the Conan legend, of Robert E. Howard's tale of a superman who lived beyond the mists of time, when people were so pure, straightforward, and simple that a 1930s pulp magazine writer could write about them at one cent a word and not have to pause to puzzle out their motivations.
The movie's casting is ideal. Arnold Schwarzenegger is inevitably cast as Conan, and Sandahl Bergman as Valeria. Physically, they look like artist's conceptions of themselves. What's nice is that they also create entertaining versions of their characters; they, and the movie, are not without humor and a certain quiet slyness that is never allowed to get out of hand. Schwarzenegger's slight Teutonic accent is actually even an advantage, since Conan lived, of course, in the eons before American accents.
The movie is a triumph of production design, set decoration, special effects and makeup. At a time when most of the big box-office winners display state-of-the-art technology, CONAN ranks right up there with the best. Ron Cobb, the sometime underground cartoonist who did the production design on this film (and on ALIEN) supervises an effort in which the individual frames actually do look like blow-ups of panels from the Marvel Comics "Conan" books. Since this Conan could have so easily looked ridiculous, that's an accomplishment.
But there is one aspect of the film I'm disturbed by. It involves the handling of Thulsa Doom, the villain. He is played here by the fine black actor James Earl Jones, who brings power and conviction to a role that seems inspired in equal parts by Hitler, Jim Jones, and Goldfinger. But when Conan and Doom meet at the top of the Mountain of Power, it was, for me, a rather unsettling image to see this Nordic superman confronting a black, and when Doom's head was sliced off and contemptuously thrown down the flight of stairs by the muscular blond Conan, I found myself thinking that Leni Reifenstahl could have directed the scene, and that Goebbels might have applauded it.
Am I being too sensitive? Perhaps. But when Conan appeared in the pulps of the 1930s, the character suggested in certain unstated ways the same sort of Nordic super-race myths that were being peddled in Germany.
These days we are more innocent again, and Conan is seen as a pure fantasy, like his British cousin, Tarzan, or his contemporary, Flash Gordon. My only reflection is that, at a time when there are no roles for blacks in Hollywood if they are not named Richard Pryor, it is a little unsettling to see a great black actor assigned to a role in which he is beheaded by a proto-Nordic avenger.
That complaint aside, I enjoyed CONAN. Faithful readers will know I'm not a fan of Sword & Sorcery movies, despite such adornments as Sandahl Bergman—having discovered some time ago that heaving bosoms may be great, but a woman with a lively intelligence and a sly wit is even greater.
The problem with CONAN is the problem with all S&S movies. After the initial premise (which usually involves revenge) is established, we suspect there's little to look forward to except the sets, special effects, costumes, makeup, locations, action, and surprise entrances. Almost by definition, these movies exclude the possibility of interesting, complex characters. I'd love to see them set loose an intelligent, questing, humorous hero in one of these prehistoric sword-swingers. Someone at least as smart as, say, Alley Oop.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19820101/REVIEWS/201010313/1023

First of all, CONAN wasnt blond, not even in the movie..he had brown hair,lol. Seems Eberts Jewish background infliuenced his opinion. Besides if he read Howard, he would also note the Aryanism and "racism" present in that era and works and see its not at all incompatable with Howard(let alone the Socialist, HG Wells).
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Wed 24 Jun - 6:43

Truth is I can see what the guy means, the scene of the decapitation is some kind of Leni Riefenstahl took to the absolute extreme (in terms of symbolism, it's the supremacy of "white" amongs "black", then the visuals, then the music). It absolutely has that reading and fact is Milius never hide his Riefenstahl influence, so, that reading is surely there.

But then, really, I'm kind of far away of defending Milius or justifying him, I know I sort of tried in the past but today I truly just don't give a damn if he conciously believes "white" men are superior to other races and masturbates with Hitler pics and so. Really. I don't give a damn. I truly don't care.

I do care about what I DO believe and feel. I don't believe "white" men are superior in any way. So end of the shit.

The scene is about the supremacy of a new warrior over an old one. That's all what the story is about, and in that particular moment, the scene is simply and crude clear. The old passes away, the new takes his place. Allrighty that there other connotations like "white man kicks out of his place black man", but that is ONLY in the aesthethic, I mean, sure, literally a black man is assassinated by a white man BUT the script, the story, NEVER has been about that, so we haven't been told during the whole movie "black men are inferior, wait and see"... That's not what the movie tells me.

If Milius has this germano-nazi symbolism inside, if he uses that easthethics as the tools to tell his yarns, look, there is nothing wrong with that. Or, well, better said, that symbology is as "bad" and sick and any other in existence. The crime and the genocide and so, is another thing. Milius, let's imagine he believes in hitlerism, for a second. Yeah but that doesn't mean he is a criminal, he haven't killed or hit or insulted or abused of any human being, so... maybe he is WRONG in his beliefs, maybe he is even SICK in his beliefs, but calling him a "nazi" or "criminal" is something that surely is over the top. I am sure he doesn't really likes being called that a t all. Go figure, I can imagine that surely has to hurt, somehow.

Then, a FACT is Milius is heavily influenced by this old "nazi germany" atmosphere and symbolisms.... Yeah. That's a Fact. Then again a fact is that he is NOT THE ONLY ONE and take the examples of Gerorge Lucas and in the end, all of us, we all as a culture has that nazi-germany influence in our veins, in our unconcious, in one way or another. I think Milius has the BALLS of taking scenes to the extreme, like in the case of the end scene of CTB. Instead of just Conan fighting against Doom, on the top of the staris, and Doom accidentally falling and breaking his neck (in a sort of Indiana Jones or name any other adventure heroes movie) Milius has the bravery, the balls and maybe also the naivety of showing his protagonist doing what he wants to do, and recreates in his triumph. Crude and naked. That is what this movie is about, is StarWars or ANY other hero movie with an extreme asesthethic, but in the end is the same story every cinematographer ha allways told to us. Only that of course Luke Skywalker would never been shown decapitating Vader and showing the severed head to the audience. Now, THAT is fucking manipulation, in the worst sense, imo. Because being so polititcally correct and "sweet" nobody would ever say LUCAS is a nazi because he also imitates Leni Riefenstahl (the last scene of Starwars is shot by shot a Rienfenstahl scene of a huge nazi movie called "Triumph of the Will").

Milius became a scapegoat, the plate were everyone spits when feels like they need to spit over someone. "God, man, I reeeally feel like I would spit over someone's face today... But, Jesus, I just can't do that, my good mom wouldn't love me anymore... Ey! Wait! Noone would blame me if a spit a nazi, right? But surely I do need to probe everyone he is a nazi, so, who could be?... Sure! That dude, that Milius, who imitates Leni Rienefstahl style and shows a white guy killing a black in a scene! Hahahah, I'm gonna shit over him soooo badly, hahahahahaha."

foufou

In Miliu's case, is probable he has grown up hearing the stories of good German soldiers who fought because they truly believed in what their superiors told them, and were brave and honest. Haven't we have heard that very same story over and over as childs, only with the difference that the brave soldiers curiously belong to our respective nations? Is the essence of the story of a brave and honest soldiers what matters, the aesthethic and political implications aren't importnat, as they only depends on what country/family one was born.

Also there is a tragedy in the soldier, (because he HAS to do what is told, no matter if their superiors are terribly wrong). Milius I think is HUGELY concious about that side. See movies like "Flight of the Intruder". It's not that his movies allways work, or allways are good. I'm talking about what he is able to see. And I think the guy knows what he is talking about. He knows about soldiers, and he knows about war, and he knows about the responsability and the ideals of a honest soldier. Much more and deeper than any other filmaker around, saving a few exceptions.

Now, you may like it, or you may not. But that doesn't give you the right of calling anyone a "nazi". That is more than an insult, it has the implication that you are a criminal person who hurts others.

Milius is also concious of the tragedy of war, of the ugly side of all that ideal. When you come to the battefiled, instead of music you hear lamentations and moans of pain, instead of flags you see blood and guts all over the floor. He knows that. And he shows that. To WIN, in WAR, you must decapitate your enemy, cover yourself with his still warm blood, and show the severed head to everybody. BECAUSE... THAT IS WAR IS ABOUT. That is honest. And is horrible. You as a viewer may like it, or not, maybe you just can't tolerate it because you are too sensitive and the image hurts you. That's fine. Noone told you to watch it. It's STILL NOT a reason to insult the director, and call him a criminal. AT ALL.

Now I dunno (though I would really like to know, just in terms of amateur investigator of his works) what kind of education Milius had. If he was sort of raised in the belief that German culture was highly interesting (which indeed was), it explains his afiliation with the germanic aesthethics. If he also was raised in the belief that Hitler's beliefs were true and right, I dunno. But he never pointed that in any interview, not in any movie. If he was told that as a kid, he surely EXPANDED his mind as a mature man. Now, this guy of the review, Ebert, was educated in the belief that nazis were "bad" because they assassinated tons of jews. Therefore, he can't tolerate anything that has "nazi" aesthethics (I wonder if he likes "Starwars" though)... And well, I can perfectly understand him. Fact is, I do understand both. And I truly KNOW this "good" and "bad" thingy is one of the biggest lies of our human race. There is no such thing as "good" and "bad" in real life. AT ALL.
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Wed 24 Jun - 8:30

Put to the extreme I suppose a black man could never play a villain in any movie now, or the director or writer will be supposed racist. scratch
Rexor and Thorgrim are more blond than Conan, and they serve Doom scratch
If Conan had been black and Doom white, it would have illustrated the revenge of an African continent dominated for centuries by white colonization ? scratch
If Conan had been white and Doom asian, would it have illustrated the fear that Occident have against asian domination ? scratch

What about Smurfs ?

Rolling Eyes


Nazi movies were sometimes putting the image of the hero in the first stage. Is it just because many movies we all like here are also doing this that they are nazi movies ? If I like something good in a Riefensthal movie, I am a nazi myself ? Well I suppose you know the answer !
But maybe I say that because I am blond with blue eyes ! Oh shit ! I must change my color hair, or everyone will think I am a nazi ? Rolling Eyes

Completely ignoring people's background is stupid. Trying to explain absolutely everything with people's background, pretending being inside their head, is stupid also. In my humble opinion, of course :)

Note the "fine black actor James Earl Jones" just to "prove" that he is not racist Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Wed 24 Jun - 10:37

Chrysagon wrote:

What about Smurfs ?

FUCK YEAH!

lol
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Wed 24 Jun - 21:42

There is also a proof that erasing the extreme in Conan simply doesn't work: "Conan the adventurer" cartoon series.

The concept is absolutely silly, in essence. How is that a barbarian, a fighter, who was born to hold a sword.... never kills anyone? Lol Conan NEVER intented to be in origin a character for kids, forget about a role model for them. Turning him into that, no matter how you transform him, is more criminal than any other thing, if you think about it. Is like turning Leatherface in a role model for children, saying that now he only uses his chainsaw to cut onion to feed the poor kids of Africa...

Conan is decapitation, is what it is about.


I think the confusion comes from Nietrzsche. Anything that Nietzsche wrotte is actually identified with nazism... It was him who invented the Łbermensch term and concept. So, what about Superman, aren't those comics and movies nazi or what? Oh, sure, not, because Superman is "good" and wears the colours of USA so how could he be a nazi?? See, this is a little bit hypocrital, really.... isn't it?

The Masters of the Universe are another example. The Filmation series turned He-Man (essentially a Conan knock-off) into a role model for the children. Again a barbarian with a sword who never uses it. Who never kills a fly. The series was critiziced by some saying it was ultraviolent, it was satanic, and it was even nazi:



I think what alarms parents is the essential stupidity of a character who is absolutely evident that is a killer, but is presented as a sweet good boy. It's a soo obvious lie.....

But again...

Saying the cartoon and the creators had nazi intentions sounds to me like some kind of call for atention in yellow press style. It's again an serious insult, and a VERY serious accusation.

Saying it uses symbolism which the nazis also used, is absolutely right. Why the guy can't just say that?? Oh, sure, because it won't be so "eye-catchy" as the title "He-Man is a nazi". Cheap yellow press style, I say.

Also is very ignorant, like these symbols were used ONLY by the nazis. The romantic archetypes that the S&S uses are as old as the human being and FREE of any politc.

You can't ignore these archetypes were used by nazis, of course. But the symbols and archetypes are free and innocent in essence. It depends on how you use them. And I believe in these cases the creators weren't using them with nazi-philiac intentions at all. They were probably simply using the aesthetics because they are very good looking and extreme.

Milius' gang of surfers did the same (wearing nazi badges in their clothes), and in his own words that didn't had any political implication, only that these symbols offended people and simply look powerful.

Maybe the one who is obsessed with the nazis is the guy who see nazis everywhere...
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Fri 26 Jun - 21:44

Don't forget how long ago that review was written. "The past is a foreign country - they do things differently there."
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Mon 29 Jun - 13:32

Any time I ever watched "Siskel and Ebert" I got the feeling that they thumbed their noses at any "fantasy" genre film and thought it was just a waste of time. Remember, these guys are (or were in Siskel's case) CRITICS...

But it seems that unless the said movie they were discussing involved a director like Spielberg or Ridley Scott, or a top tier actor like Harrison Ford or Tom Cruise (Arnold was not quite a household name as of yet), then the movie seemed to be summarily dismissed as a bomb.

Also, watching "Siskel and Ebert" over the years, I found that I rarely agreed with their opinions at all. Movie critics just seem to love to make mountains out of mole hills like "Little Miss Sunshine"...One of the worst pieces of crap ever put on the screen! I think these critics get kind of a thrill thinking that if they bless a film, it will do well at the box office or something like that. I think they actually get some kind of powertrip dong that.

The critics also love to lambast any movie that has bloody violence and themes of aggression...When is the last time you saw a horror movie get raving reviews? I think these guys want to pretend that the shedding of blood is something that has never happened in real life, and that gratuitous violence is only acceptable in a movie like "Saving Private Ryan" which is now aired unedited on network T.V. every Memorial Day.

Back in the eighties, there was this whole frenzy (in the U.S. at least) over associating anything medieval with "Dungeons & Dragons" ergo all things "Sword & Sorcery" was SATANIC.

Shit, you can probably take any movie and find some kind of racist or other negative theme if that is what you're looking for...I guess it's all in your own interpretation.

Maybe, just maybe... Conan was simply an epic film with a compelling story that just coincidentally had a black man as the main villain.

I quit watching movie critic shows a long time ago, occasionally, I might read a review in the newspaper, not necessarily to find out how a movie rated, but just to find out what a movie is about.

The best way to determine if a movie is good or not these days is by word of mouth, I would rather take a good friend's word that a movie is good than a newspaper or T.V. journalist that may have their own agendas in mind when rating a movie.
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Mon 29 Jun - 16:49

Critics are mostly peddlers and pushers. Lucas managed to get away with blasting them, because he's so independtly successful. WILLOW had that dragon creature named after them, Eberisk and also Kael was supposedly named after a female critic.
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Mon 29 Jun - 20:37

Heh, also a female critic heavily attacked DIRTY HARRY when it was released, saying it was Nazi and so, almost the same things they said about CTB...

It made Milius to writte the second one where Harry's opposites are a bunch of fascist cops, more or less like saying Harry is apolitical. Same as Conan, I guess.

Then in the last movie of "Dirty Harry" I think, a killer assassinated a female critic who was heavily inspired in the bitch who said the first one was nazi. The creators took their revenge. Mr. Green



I think these guys need to call for attention, just to be on the market. I mean, look at all those vomitve tv programs with assholes saying shit about everybody, and they are hired because of that. It's the same with the critics, they do need to say things which are extreme, just to be read... Though they are not reviewing things, only telling their experiences watching the movie, and that is far from being objective. I don't really know if i've ever read an objective review from a critic. I have read opinions, which are fine, though most of them are zero informative, and mostly is just the writter jerking off and showing how clever he is... puker

On the other hand, critics have the right of saying shit about films, and a lot of films deserve to be unmasked: sold as quality films when they really are nothing but turds (and not flaming at all). These warnings are useful I think. Help saving money.

What I dislike are these blind judges who think they can label a movie as "evil" or with "bad taste" simply because they didn't like it. Fuck them, maybe I just don't share your taste, asshole.




BTW, if Conan is Nazi because of the violence and the blood, then also the Iliad is Nazi, and also Shakespeare's Macbeth, and what the hell, almost every work of his, and so and so and so... It's simply ridiculous, saying that anything that has violence is Nazi or fascist..... There is a huge pedantry in this "alternative wave" of movies like that "Miss Sunsine" which wasn't bad, but it was sold as "the greatest movie ever", same as "Juno" and so, which are just so so films with middle class conflicts, nothing truly interesting or exciting, but well, that aren't that bad... The way they are sold is what is vomitive. That "hey, look how light hearted we are see how good life is". Other movie which i found stupidly reviewed and highly overated was "American Beauty".
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Tue 30 Jun - 9:23

In fact in magazines, there is a meeting at the begining of each month to decide what movie will be badly criticized, or which one will be applauded. And the works are given to people used to break or to suck depending on their speciality. I am not inventing this, I learned it from a person working in a cinema magazine.
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Tue 30 Jun - 17:26

Chrysagon wrote:
In fact in magazines, there is a meeting at the begining of each month to decide what movie will be badly criticized, or which one will be applauded.

Shocked Woa. You mean BEFORE they watch it, right?

And what it depends on? I mean, what makes them decide to destroy a movie, or praise it? Because it surely changes the success of it, right?
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Thu 2 Jul - 10:48

Yes, before Mr. Green On wich criteria ? Friends mostly or fashion.
I can't swear all magazines work that way, but it was the way of a french movie magazine in the late 80's.
I also learned about a famous french video games magazine which changed its critic to a good one after being said the advertisment page of the game would be cancelled !
Readers mail is usually fake also in most magazines.
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PostSubject: Re: Eberts Review of CONAN biased?   Thu 2 Jul - 18:13

Chrysagon wrote:

Readers mail is usually fake also in most magazines.

Yeah, I do know that, also happens with the audience phone calls of some radio programs
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