Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Iron Lady and Conan The Barbarian: New Trailers

As two new trailers have been released within a few days of each other for The Iron Lady and Conan Barbarian, I thought I might as well discuss them in one post, given that both of them feature a witch.

So on to the first witch, the Iron Lady. First of all I have to admit I am no big fan of biopics but then I will see anything that Meryl Streep does, well almost, even I relented at snooze fest Lion for lambs (2007). This teaser starts off promisingly. With those two men looking like they are about to unveil their demonic creation, I was half expecting her to remove her bandage, shout out for a mirror, smash it, then erupt in a cackling laugh. And then I realised this looked more and more like a superhero origin story. Maybe she had fooled us all and was actually playing one of the dancing Ironettes from Iron Man 2, who gets to become Tony Starck's Iron gal in her own spin-off?

Unfortunately, I came crashing down to earth when I heard Meryl Streep talk, and I burst out laughing. The tricky bit is that Margaret Thatcher has such a comedic, highly pitched voice and accentuated facial manners, plus the posh English accent, it would be impossible to mimic her without looking like a parody. I love Meryl, no, I LOVE Meryl Streep. But I will always prefer her more subtle performances, such as her incredibly undestated part in The Hours, where she was a lot more deserving of an Oscar than Nicole Kidman. Come to think of it, I would actually rather see her play a dancing Ironette in Iron Man 3 than Maggie Thatcher, THAT would stretch her talent.

The producers are probably hoping for a repeat success of last year's consensual "quality" drama, The King's Speech, yet that film had a likeable character at least. Half of Britain hates the guts off Maggie Thatcher, so this will be a tougher sell.

On to Conan. After a first teaser shrouded in mystery (quite literally, there was so much mist you could not actually see a thing), here comes the first official trailer. I cannot put my finger on it and explain it why, but I am not getting the epic heroic fantasy vibe from the original.  It is possible that the patina of time is making us look at the golden age of heroic fantasy in the 80's with rose tainted glasses.

The first half of the trailer is rather dull, despite all the fighting and a rather competent photography. Fortunately Rose McGowan turns up in the second half and camp it up as a bad witch, sporting a look that would have made ex boy-friend Marilyn Manson proud. The sand men look like dodgy CGI circa 2002 The Mummy Returns. But at least there is a giant snake. You just cannot have a heroic fantasy film without a giant snake (voiced by James Earl Jones if possible).

Freddy Krueger's nan? No! Rose McGowan in Conan The Barbarian

As for Conan himself, Jason Momoa, he looks like an inspired choice. He has the required muscled physique, yet more importantly a rather believable face as a barbarian. Plus I like the sound of his voice, which is suitably deep and imposing. And he even seems rather capable of acting in the few scenes we see him in, when all Arnie could manage in the original is to look like he was suffering from a Pepto Bismol reflux when he tried to look dramatic. A revelation possibly?

Speaking of Conan, I will end up with a trivia, wrapped in a language lesson. The original Conan the Barbarian was faitfully translated to Conan le Barbare in French (which is actually unusual, the French have a habit of coming up with completely random translations, ie Jaws became The Teeth of the Sea). There was a popular joke with the title at the time: if you swap the ending of each word in Conan le Barbare, you end up with Conare le Barban, which, phonetically, means something hilarious in French. Leave a comment and I shall tell you what it is.

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