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That’s really just a guy in a monkey mask.

17 May 2012

While working this afternoon (working on what, you ask? A tuna sandwich), I caught a bit of the original version of Conan: The Barbarian. When I was a kid, I didn’t understand the hatred that movie’s sequel engendered. Now, I kinda get it.

It wasn’t so much that the movie wasn’t great — I mean, it wasn’t, but that criticism could be leveled at hundreds of 80s movies. It was the letdown from the first film. When your first entry in a series is as good as Conan: The Barbarian, your second entry better blow eveyone’s mind. Conan: The Destroyer didn’t do that. And it was missing several elements that would have helped.

Element One: Pimp.

The first film had extremely well-drawn characters. Subotai and Valeria were integral to the story, less sidekicks than teammates of the main character. When you get to Destroyer, most of the “team” are simply cartoon-character versions of sidekicks, even The Wizard character.

It also had James Earl Jones playing a terrifying, layered villain. Who was the villain in the second film? The wizard in the monkey mask? Olivia D’abo’s mom? Wilt Chamberlain? The film couldn’t decide.

I guess the point here is that you can’t rest on your laurels. If you’re working on a series, you have to make sure to do something interesting, something as good as or better than the first. How do you do that?

Hell if I know.

So, what series has just beefed it on the second entry? And how was the new Conan? I still need to see that.

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