Conan Comes to Texas

Last evening, a special sneak preview of the new Conan the Barbarian was screened in Austin at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.  Howard Days videographer Ben Friberg was in attendance and gives us his first-hand report on both the movie and its star, Jason Momoa who was at the screening.

I was lucky enough to see it at a special preview Wednesday night with Dennis, and the Baums.

Momoa showed up. During question and answer after the film, I asked what his favorite Howard Conan story was. He said “Queen of the Black Coast” and “The Frost Giant’s Daughter.” Every other lamo there wasted question and answer time with “when are you running for Governor, and do you have a hot maid?” type of shtick. I think his sequel screenplay that people have been razzing him about is actually based more on Howard’s stories than this film. At least that’s the feeling I got from him. He was wanting to use more of the original material if there is a sequel, and said there was so much material from the original stories he wanted to use.

I also brought my Lancer Conan the Adventurer with me since it’s the only Conan book I could fit in my pocket. He was hanging out talking with the Drafthouse owners after the Q and A and I asked him if he would mind signing it. He paused, and said that I was the first person who had asked him to sign a Conan book. “Man, you’re the first!” And he paused again and said, “Actually, this is kinda emotional to me. This was the first Conan I read too.” He pointed at Frazetta’s cover. “I wanted to do my best to be that guy. These were the first Conan stories I read, and that’s why it was important for me to try and get it right. I don’t want to sign the cover over the art, but I will sign the inside.” He seemed actually very appreciative and moved I had asked him to sign it. He shook my hand. I told him he pretty much nailed Conan. (Which he did. Maybe a bit too cocky, but it was still a great characterization. Almost feral in some instances, which I do believe Howard described him as in his early adventures.) He thanked me, said that meant alot to him, and that he hopes to be having more adventures down the road. “So many more stories to tell.” Pointing again at the Frazetta book. “Though they will take place when Conan is a bit older.” He seems to me to be a very genuine guy. A cool drinking buddy. But you can definitely tell that when this guy goes on a tear, furniture is broken and the cops are called. Ha! He was polishing off a full bucket of beers as the Q and A progressed. Really fun guy.

Though far from perfect, and I still wish they had just sunk all that 90 million into a movie based on one of Howard’s stories, it was still a fun flick. Great popcorn movie. Good action, nice ultra violent battle scenes. Nice amount of humor sprinkled in. Lots of awesome violence. Probably not a classic, but who knows. I would say the same of the Milius film. I hope it’s certainly a starting point for more Howard big budget projects. I will see it again in 2D. Far better than Solomon Kane or the Milius Conan. The Baums and Dennis enjoyed it too. Jack said it just needed to be darker, more scary. But his wife loved the action. Frankly, and this might be going out on a limb, but I think Bob would have thoroughly enjoyed it.

My two cents.

Sounds like it was a blast and this photo just confirms it.