The newest trailer, this one with actual film footage, for the 2011 Conan the Barbarian film is up on YouTube. It’s up for release in August.
For reference, here’s the first trailer as well, containing no footage but with a direct quote from the Robert E. Howard original:
The film is taking some flak in geek quarters for presumed infidelity to the source material. It’s really early to make such a call, but at the same time, fans of Robert E. Howard’s Conan have cause to be defensive about a property that was mis-handled for many years. One notable blogger (not an MMO blogger) seems to base his whole complaint around the fact that Jason Momoa doesn’t have blue eyes.
I’m as big a fan of Robert E. Howard as you’ll find, and am especially cognizant of the disconnect between the Howard character and the bowdlerized version as seen in print by such authors as L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, in the Marvel comics, and in the Schwarzenegger films. I was preaching the virtues of Howard’s Conan (as opposed to the others) for many years before it became fashionable.
At the same time, the 1982 John Milius film represented my introduction to the character, and I have tremendous fondness and appreciation for it (if not for its sequel.) It departs, in many ways, from Howard, but in other respects it captures the essential essence of his stories and of the Hyborian world very well, even where it sometimes radically departs from the details of the character of Conan himself. And the quality of its production, especially with regard to production design, costumes and in the epic Basil Poledouris soundtrack (considered to this day by movie soundtrack aficionados to be among the best ever recorded,) cannot be questioned. It still stands today, in a time when we have seen The Lord of the Rings successfully adapted to film and can watch Game of Thrones on weekly television, as one of the great achievements in fantasy film-making. Milius’ Conan the Barbarian remains one of my favorite films of all time.
As far as the new film goes, as a Howard purist I am on the fence. Stephen Lang looks appropriately badass as the villain, but the scenery rings to me more of Final Fantasy than of Howard’s antediluvian world. But some of the scenes shown seem spot-on and the particular Howard quote used in the first trailer encourages me to think that the film-makers may indeed have grasped the essence of the character. I’m very interested in seeing the film when it comes out.