National Review Online: Conan the Barbarian should be PG-13


Conan the WannabeDid you ever have one of those moments when something so obvious sticks out that you nearly lose an eye to it, but at the same time it’s so damnably stupid you almost don’t want to tell anyone about it because, well, it’s just that stupid?

Such is the case with John J. Miller’s lament about the newly-minted Conan movie:

As a fan of Robert E. Howard and his character Conan, I’m of course looking forward to seeing the new Conan film. But I can tell the producers already have made one major mistake: It’s rated R. How dumb is that? My son, who has read and enjoyed dozens of the old Marvel comics, almost certainly won’t be seeing it now. The film should have been PG-13. My guess is that it will struggle commercially just because of the rating–and old-timey fans of the original stories will grumble for another generation about how Hollywood messed up.

I mean, where do you even start with that?

Okay, let us try to break this down:

  • As a fan of Robert E. Howard and his character Conan, I’m of course looking forward to seeing the new Conan film.

Say what? Really? Robert E. Howard notwithstanding, because he did, in fact, do some respectable literary work, the idea that anyone is looking forward to Conan the Barbarian, yet another Hollywood rehash developed in lieu of any genuine creativity, strikes me as funny.

It is going to be an awful film.

  • But I can tell the producers already have made one major mistake: It’s rated R. How dumb is that?

What?

  • My son, who has read and enjoyed dozens of the old Marvel comics, almost certainly won’t be seeing it now.

Actually, Mr. Miller, if he ever finds out you said that, he will see the film. That is, he will make a point of it, and probably, afterward, wonder what the hell you’re on about.

  • The film should have been PG-13.

What?

Why don’t we go ask for a PG-13 reboot of Pulp Fiction, while we’re at it?

It’s Conan the Barbarian. Paul Constant reminds:

Anyone who has read the books knows that Conan the Barbarian is an R-rated character. Sure, the Marvel Comics were kind of entertaining, but they really had nothing to do with Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian after a certain point. Corner commenters seem to agree with me about Conan needing to be a gory, sexy orgy of a movie—most of them complain that Miller doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Or, as Lindy West explained, “Conan the Barbarian killed a bunch of dudes with a sword and ran around saying ‘Crom’ a lot. That’s pretty much all you need to know.”

It’s Conan the Barbarian, not Final Fantasy.

  • My guess is that it will struggle commercially just because of the rating–and old-timey fans of the original stories will grumble for another generation about how Hollywood messed up.

This is one of those dangerous sorts of predictions insofar as it can have the appearance of coming true despite being completely wrong.

Fans will grumble about how Hollywood messed up yet again. But that has nothing to do with the rating.

Rather, it has to do with Hollywood, and some moron thinking he can make a quick buck rehashing a bad film that never should have been made.

You know, capitalism in America. Give folks what you want them to have, then tell them they need to have it. I’m sure Mr. Miller’s colleagues at The National Review can tell him a little about capitalism in America.

We get it. Miller is one who expects the Conan film to suck. And it will. He’s not telling us anything new in that sense.

But of the five sentences in his blog entry, every single one of them is completely wrongheaded.

It’s such an embarrassingly stupid complaint that I am nearly ashamed to admit that I read it.

Of course, it is, after all, the National Review, which has a history of

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