Rumours have been circulating like vultures for a couple of weeks but it’s now official: Brett Ratner will direct the upcoming Conan reboot. The Internet has been awash with speculation since word first leaked and while I commend the pig-headed refusal to accept the cold, hard truth when it’s staring you in the face, fans can avoid reality no longer: the director of Rush Hours 1 to 3 will usher the Cimmerian into the new millennium.

Many believed the director would be far too busy making preparations for Beverley Hills Cop 4 (which will likely still go into production first),  but Ratner has nevertheless agreed to take on Conan, due for a release sometime in 2010. Robert E. Howard’s barbarian – first brought to the screens by a then unknown Schwarzenegger back in 1982 – has been an icon for over 70 years and fans initially rejoiced at news that, like Batman Begins, the new Conan would take the brawny barbarian back to his roots with a story far closer to those that Howard originally told. Much of that excitement will have now evaporated with news that it’s Ratner standing at the helm.

Now, the obvious thing to do here would be to wail, gnash my teeth and join in the inevitable torrent of whinging and moaning that’s taking place all over the Internet. I’m not going to, though. While it’s true Ratner doesn’t have the most confidence-inspiring body of work (and taking on projects like Cop 4 certainly don’t help his credibility), that doesn’t mean Conan will be a de facto disaster. X-Men: The Last Stand, for all its flaws, was not a ‘really’ bad film. It didn’t hold up particularly favourably to Singer’s superb X-Men 2 but then few comic book movies do.

Naysayers reacted with similar histrionics when McG signed on for Terminator: Salvation but from what we’ve seen of that so far, that once ‘doomed’ project is shaping up nicely. Conan could be Ratner’s chance for redemption, an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and prove to movie fans everywhere that he’s not the hack they think he is.

Movieblaze remains cautiously optimistic. Besides, there’s always Red Sonja