"Call me foolish, call me irresponsible, but it occurs to me that a 500 megaton bomb planted at just the proper point would destroy most of California. Millions of innocent people would be killed. The west coast as we know it would all into the sea. Bye-bye, California. Hello, new west coast. My west coast. Costa Del Josh. Gizeltville. Marina del Josh. Razburg… Razburg? RAZBURG!?!"
Stolen from gislebertus:
Female fans of chocolate should get in on this.
Since completing my Let Me Tell You of the Days of High Adventure compilation, I have caught up to both Conan features. It really hadn't been long since I'd watched Conan the Barbarian, but I hadn't seen Conan the Destroyer in quite some time. The memory I had of Conan the Destroyer was that it was much more conventional and rather lame. I found that I was quite right about it being more generic, but it ultimately suffers most from comparison to the first film than it does on its own terms.
Actually, the plot of Conan the Destroyer is a pretty solid quest story. Queen Taramis of Shadizaar (Sarah Douglas) enlists Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to accompany her niece Jenna (Olivia D'Abo) to retrieve the Horn of Dagoth for a ceremony. She offers to bring Valeria (stock footage of Sandahl Bergman) back from the dead and sends the captain of her guard Bombaata (Wilt Chamberlain) to keep an eye on Conan. Conan is accompanied by fellow thief Malik (Tracey Walter), and along the way he collects Akiro (Mako, the only cast member from the first film other than Schwarzenegger to return) and is joined by the Nubian Zula (Grace Jones).
The film has a few major stumbling blocks. The most apparent is Walter's character, who is a poor substitute for Gerry Lopez's amiable Subotai from the first movie. Malik is annoying and pretty useless for most of the film, whining out ill-fitting witticisms and mugging incessantly. Grace Jones is Grace Jones, and there isn't really much you can do about that. Another issue is that Dino De Laurentiis, apparently confused about the appeal of Conan the Barbarian, made a decision to keep the violence in this film down to get a "PG" rating, and so the tone of the movie does not fit its predecessor at all. This can be a bit odd especially when the film sometimes goes out of its way to remind the viewer of the first movie (Mako's opening narration, Conan's encounter with a camel, the nature of the Taramis' deal with Conan, etc.) and it leaves the sequel feeling like a strange sort of limbo movie.
On the other hand, some of the battle sequences are quite engaging and Mako is great fun to have around. Some of Pier Luigi Basile's set designs are much more chimerical than anything found in Ron Cobb's more historically-based Conan the Barbarian designs, and Jack Cardiff's anamorphic photography is very colorful, yielding a movie that is much more psychedelic in appearance than the previous film. Nor does it feel quite as ancient; if Conan the Barbarian is believably set somewhere between ten and fifteen thousand years ago, Conan the Destroyer is set much more fantastical yet recent universe.
Basil Poledouris returns and, like the film, his score is much more conventional than his work on the predecessor favoring more of an action/adventure vibe than the mythic allusions in the original, but there are some very pretty florid passages as well and great variations on some of his material from the first film. There are also a few moments that feature direct reprisals of some music from the first film which I must admit I have found myself warming up to.
Overall, I enjoyed watching the film, but I have to say that I'm in no rush to buy the DVD.
Incidentally, both Conan films are monaural. In general, I like to play films and music in whatever format they were optimally recorded for, and for a mono film, this would normally mean either the single center speaker or the left and right speakers. In cases where the audio is a simple 1.0 track, you're pretty much stuck with the former unless you use the RCA inputs, but for a 2.0 track, there is another option which I happen to like.
Dolby Pro-Logic is a surround system by which a center channel is taken from the information common to the left and right channels, and an out of phase track is channeled to the rear speakers. This was followed by Pro-Logic II, which is available in two formats, Movie and Music. The movie is basically a more elaborate version of the original Pro-Logic, featuring the ability to matrix out split surrounds among other things (Pro-Logic IIx allows for matrixing out rear back channels as well). Pro-Logic II Music extracts the center and rear channels accordingly as well, but does not effect the original left and right channels. Applying Pro-Logic II Music to a monaural track means that you get all three front speakers playing the same material, which just adds a bit of oomph to the sound, as well as a wider spread.
Just a little trick I use.
Tagged by cookie_girl:
FIFTY QUESTIONS YOU'VE (supposedly) NEVER BEEN ASKED
50 (yes fifty!!) things you've never been asked....copy/paste & share!
Once you've been tagged, you have to answer this and tag 10 people, including the person who tagged you (of course, I don't tag anybody that way. If you want to do it, go ahead; if not, don't feel obligated).
- What is the color of your toothbrush?
Green and white with red on the handle.
- Name one person who made you smile today.
Vito dressed down Tyrone at the meeting this morning about a 200' cable that he had borrowed from his hole two weeks ago and has not replaced.
- What were you doing at 8 am this morning?
- What were you doing 45 minutes ago?
Statusing my repair.
- What is your favorite candy bar?
Pay Day Avalanche.
- Have you ever been to a strip club?
Yes I have. Not really my thing.
- What is the last thing you said aloud?
"See you guys in a little while."
- What is your favorite ice cream?
Probably some variation on chocolate.
- What was the last thing you had to drink?
Banana cream coffee.
- Do you like your wallet?
It's very utilitarian.
- What was the last thing you ate?
Eggs, sausage, home fries and toast, then a blueberry muffin which was way too dry.
- Have you bought any new clothing items this week?
- The last sporting event you watched?
A disappointing Met game.
- What is your favorite flavor of popcorn?
It comes in flavors?
- Who is the last person you sent a text message to?
- Ever go camping?
I used to all the time when I was in the Boy Scouts.
- Do you take vitamins daily?
- Do you go to church every Sunday?
- Do you have a tan?
No. I had a burn from a bad roof job last week, though.
- Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza?
No. As much as I do love Chinese food, pizza is a singularly divine creation.
- Do you drink your soda with a straw?
Rarely do I ever use a straw.
- What did your last text message say?
"I had thought the download didn't take, but you had sent it to me as a different file name."
- What are you doing tomorrow?
I have work.
- Look to your left, what do you see?
Cement block wall and some wires.
- What color is your watch?
Black and white.
- What do you think of when you hear Australia?
"Beach Front Property" (see icon).
- Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
When I do fast food, I just hit the drive thru.
- What is your favorite number?
I don't know. 2.35:1, I guess.
- Who's the last person you talked to on the phone?
My customer contact's IT guy.
- Any plans today?
Dan and I are going to see Leroy Justice tonight!
- How many states have you lived in?
Just New York.
- Biggest annoyance right now?
vMobile Lite and my crappy old BlackBerry.
- Last song listened to?
"#10" by Leroy Justice.
- Can you say the alphabet backwards?
I couldn't just prattle it off, but I could do it.
- Do you have a maid service clean your house?
Sure. She cleans the mansion when I'm at the summer home in Hawaii.
- Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
In the summer, I have a pair of slip-on sandals that I love.
- Are you jealous of anyone?
- Is anyone jealous of you?
I hope so.
- Do you love anyone?
Yes, of course.
- Do any of your friends have children?
More and more of them every year. Apparently my Just Talkin' About Shaft compilation is at least partially responsible for one of them.
- What do you usually do during the day?
I work, go online, listen to music and whatnot.
- Do you hate anyone that you know right now?
It's more of general misanthropy than anything specific right now. Although as I mentioned a few days ago, the people responsible for the adoption of the TA3000 for field use need to have band things happen to them.
- Do you use the word 'hello' daily?
Yes I do.
- What color is your car?
- Are you thinking about someone right now?
- Have you ever been to Six Flags?
- How did you get your worst scar?
I don't really have any bad scars. The two that are most prominent are the one from my gall bladder operation, which was laproscopic and therefore not very apparent, neither is the spot beneath my eyebrow where I got hit by a golf ball on the way to my S.A.T. class.