Best In Life

"Conan: What Is Best In Life?"

I saw the new Conan movie. It will not survive.

It may be closer to Robert E. Howard's vision than the famous version with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Certainly Howard would have appreciated the Joe Bob Briggs element, which includes a nearly uncountable number of both breasts and decapitations. It also lacks the humor of the original, which occasionally passes the point of what is appropriate (as when Conan's head falls in the gruel while he is drunk: Howard's hero would never have been in so undignified a position).

What it misses is two things. The first is the music. There is nothing to compare with the score of the original. Certainly no moment captures joy or wonder, like this:

The second is the mythic element that the original managed to capture. "What is best in life?" is a question this Conan does not ponder; his only remark to the question is that "I live, I love, I slay, I am content." This fails to capture the glory of Arnold's remarks; but it isn't the only such failure in the film. There is nothing that approaches this moment:

The one thing that Conan cannot afford to lose is the power of myth. There is no origin story; there is no haunting beauty. Lacking those things, there is little beyond the pleasure of a good thumping, and the beauty of the women they talked into participating.

You may nevertheless find it worth seeing once, for those simpler pleasures. They are abundant, but they are all that it has.

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