Saturday, August 20, 2011

Movie Review Time

I've had a truly terrible week at work.  So bad that the only cure was to watch massive amounts of technicolor violence.  Fortunately, "Conan the Barbarian" opened yesterday and I caught it (in 2D) this afternoon.

In short, it is not a good Robert E. Howard Conan movie.  It is, however, a nearly note perfect Roy Thomas "Savage Sword of Conan" movie, and I'm fine with that.

Jason Momoa absolutely embodies the role of Conan.  Anyone who complains he doesn't look like Conan is really saying he doesn't look like Arnie (who didn't look much like Conan for my money).  The rest of the cast do their jobs, which is to either hinder or enable our hero on his adventures.  I'm not sure it's a good thing, but it's definitely a "Conan" thing that I can't even tell you the names of the other characters.  There was Conan's Black Friend, and The Bad Guy, and The Bad Guy's Daughter, and the Bad Guy's Minions, and the Lust Interest/Object of the Bad Guy's Quest, and the Weasely Thief.

And honestly, I don't care.  If anything, that's one of the most appropriate to Howard bits in the film.  Yes, Conan's tale has a few noteworthy NPCs, but most of them tend to blend together, and I've read a hell of a lot of Howard (and "Savage Sword," which probably contributes to the blending as well).

Mostly, it's just the best Sword and Sorcery film I've seen in many a year.  It's fun.  It's loud and and full of gratuitous violence and T&A.  It's a throwback to the R-rated Barbarian films of the 80s that followed in the wake of the Arnie Conan, and that's fine by me.


  1. This review is sadly lacking in Nerd Rage and righteous indignation. ;)

    Seriously, I am glad you liked the movie. Maybe I'll watch it in several months when it makes its way to Netflix.

  2. I just can't rage when I'm having that much fun. Then again, I'm probably the only person on Earth (besides Dwayne Johnson) who found "The Scorpion King" more entertaining than Arnie the Barbarian.

  3. Scorpion King was definitely better than Conan the Destroyer. Conan the Barbarian is in a different league, though, as it's really more of a semi-serious artsy kinda movie (very stylized moments mixed with blood and guts action).

    Destroyer and Scorpion King were much less serious and while CtD has one of the greatest D&D adventuring party setups to the whole movie, Scorpion King is a more fun movie to rewatch.

  4. The thing is, Conan the Barbarian TRIED to be a semi-serious artsy kinda movie. It only sort of halfway got there, mainly because of a millstone named Ahnuld. It's kind of an incoherent mess, though I can't tell if that's from Milius's intent, or just something that happened during the production. Unfortunately, even the Director's/Star's commentary is fairly useless for clues, since much of it consists of Arnie saying, "She's beyootiful."

    Don't get me wrong. CtB was a landmark film for me when it came out, and I probably saw it in the theater five or six times. But it just hasn't held up for me over the years. If I put the DVD on, I typically skip up to the raid on the temple early on, then jump ahead to the battle amidst the rocks, then find something else to watch.

  5. Oh no, a terrible work week. Those can really be draining. Here's hoping you enjoy what's left of the weekend.

    Happy Movie Watching :-)

  6. @Whisk: Thanks! It's been pretty enjoyable.