As we enter the “Greatest Hits, Revisited” phase of Old Arnold’s acting career, we have to be aware of how seldomly these things turn out well. Unless you’re Sylvester Stallone, it is very difficult for filmmakers to give us a new adventure with an old hero without pandering to nostalgia.
The new Terminator film, while certainly capable of pulling out a surprise, already looks like a victim of this. But with any luck, Arnold’s new Conan film, Legend of Conan, will be able to offer us something more along the lines of what we’d want from our lovable aged barbarian.
This optimism comes from an interview The Arnold Fans did with writer-producer Chris Morgan (writer of the Fast and Furious films) in which Morgan says all the right things regarding their approach to the film:
A light-hearted Conan?! CROM! No. Our tone is a logical extension of the character established in the ’82 film…but 30 years later. When we meet him again, Conan has been many things over the course of his life — a thief, a warrior, a pirate, a king, a legend — and is now an older man. Think Unforgiven…with a sword-wielding barbarian.
He’s speaking my language so far. Morgan then gets more specific:
Milius was a visionary. And a hero of mine. He established a milieu that is stunning and violent and clear — incomparable. The goal, the dream, is to live up to his world. To make it worthy. And to expand on it in a truthful way that audiences will embrace. We’re very lucky that the architects of this new film — the writer, the producers, the studio and most of all, Arnold — who is Conan — are all first-generation fans who either worked on the film or who came along for the ride, cheering from their theater seats opening night. We plan nothing more than to immerse ourselves in the world Milius envisioned from Robert E. Howard’s unforgettable stories and Frank Frazetta’s stunning artwork. I can’t give specifics (nobody likes a spoiler!), but know we are honoring the locales, the religions and the traditions of the ’82 film.
Praising Milius is always a good idea. Hopefully the success of Fury Road (or my perception of its success; I don’t know box office stats from Shinola) lets Morgan and Arnold make the movie they want to make rather than some watered-down trip down memory lane.