Admittedly, I’m not the biggest Conan fan in the world, but I like the milieu and the first movie is a perfect conception of that kind of sword and sorcery. A large part of its success, of course, is due to Arnold Schwarzenegger. His muscles (who I hear were shipped over from Brussels) are a necessary component to that, but his version of Conan is immensely re-watchable because - be prepared to have your mindhole blown again this week - he is fun to watch. Based on what his character in “Game of Thrones” gets away with nearly every episode, Jason Momoa and his impressive pecs do appear to have the chops necessary to wield the Governator’s bloody broadsword.
Even with his limited screen time, Momoa’s Khal Drogo is high on the list of the show’s characters with whom you want to spend more time. Not with him personally, just televisually. Given what little he has to do most episodes, his talent-level seems untapped, as he more than makes up for the bodybuilder-turned-thespian stereotype with scenes ranging from rousing speeches to being disarmed sexually by his new bride. He isn’t breaking any new ground here, but he has charisma and charm in the role, and that carries the day more often than whatever Kevin Sorbo was trying to do in the 90s. Charm and charisma are features that any actor needs, but especially so when playing raping pillagers like the Khal, or like Conan the Barbarian.
Unfortunately, the new U.K. trailer still doesn’t reveal if he actually has the acting muscles to match his biceps (seriously, dude is stout, if stout also meant ginormous). It’s fairly plot driven, with a lot drawn from the character’s origin, and most of Momoa’s dialogue is placed over other footage, like voice over. There is one not not-clever line about the character’s name that he seems to sell, but considering that everyone digs Drogo, I’m at a loss as to why the studio isn’t pushing Momoa and the “Game of Thrones” connection more. Or, at all. Maybe he’s just a better fit for TV?
Take a gander:
Yeah, it doesn’t look great. Better than Prince of Persia: Whatever That Was, maybe missing the camp of the Destroyer and Red Sonja, but not quite the distillation of concept the original was. That isn’t the worst thing in the world. As long as Khal Drogo isn’t a one trick horse lord, this new Conan the Barbarian will be watchable, and he seems to be at least a two, or even three, trick pony. Right?
Maybe it’s the beard?
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, co-hosts the internet radio show/podcast We’re Not Fanboys, and you can follow or flame him on the Twitter @RobOfWar. He may wants to wait until he finishes the HBO series to start reading A Song of Ice and Fire, but he’d really prefer to start now. It’s just that good.