Conan the Barbarian (2011)

R   |    |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy


Conan the Barbarian (2011) Poster

A vengeful barbarian warrior sets off to get his revenge on the evil warlord who attacked his village and murdered his father when he was a boy.

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5.2/10
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  • Jason Momoa at an event for Conan the Barbarian (2011)
  • Elsa Pataky at an event for Conan the Barbarian (2011)
  • Rachel Nichols at an event for Conan the Barbarian (2011)
  • Rose McGowan at an event for Conan the Barbarian (2011)
  • Christa Campbell at an event for Conan the Barbarian (2011)
  • Stephen Lang in Conan the Barbarian (2011)

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5 September 2011 | auberus
4
| Not one redeeming value...a failure
I've always been a fan not only of Robert E. Howard's fantasy stories but also of the Marvel Comics or the 1982 film "Conan the Barbarian" with Arnold Schwarzenegger. So when I heard of a new Conan I was most interested. With today's budget and cgi they really could pull it off. Oh Man I was wrong.

Where do I start as everything is wrong in this movie …Words cannot adequately describe how terrible this movie is. It's that bad. However I have come to my senses to provide you with seven reasons why this film is bad.

Number 1 the plot is "shaky". Here is the plot summary in one sentence: Conan witness the destruction of his Tribe and the Death of his Father by an evil Warlord who search the pieces of an ancient mask that is supposed to resurrect his wife, an evil sorceress that could grant him the powers of a God… OK??? Obviously a Conan film isn't built on a Tarkovskian scenario but with this Conan we reach an apogee in terms of bad writing. Writers Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer aren't fit for writing. The least they could have done was to read Robert E. Howard's literature and if as I suspect they aren't capable of reading more than 10 pages, I suggest looking at Marvel Comics who introduced a relatively lore-faithful version of Conan the Barbarian in 1970 written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith. In fact the total lack of understanding the character of Conan not only from the writers but also from Director Marcus Nispel and actor Jason Momoa is the main problem. I am not a Conan fanatic but if you put the word Conan somewhere in a movie title I guess as a Director you need to understand what is the essence of a Conan movie… You owe it to your audience; you owe it to yourself…

Number 2, the script is bad and as soon as Conan's Mother opens her mouth to name his son before she dies we know we are in for a treat of bad dialogs and overall silly script. What follows is ridicule one liners deliver with zero conviction from every protagonist.

Number 3, where are the sidekicks? In a Conan film good sidekicks are mandatory. I remember Subotai (Jerry Lopez) in the 1982 Conan. He was a cool, loyal, and courageous dude. Every fan of this film remembers the crucifixion scene when suddenly Subotai appears in the horizon to save the day. Valeria was also a very likable and an equally strong character, some sort of Valkyrie that impacted Conan's emotions. In this 2011 version female characters are filler. The dialog of the main female character consists in screaming "Conan" every time she is in danger. Moreover there are no charismatic sidekicks or even interesting other characters. The black pirate serves as a pretext for a black character but has the personality of a "playmobil"; the "Arabic" Thief is so common I don't even remember his name or face.

Number 4, a good villain should have depth… Stephen Lang as Khalar Zym does not do the job. Sure there wasn't much to do with the poor script he had in hands and screaming "barbarian!!!" every 2 seconds of his screen time doesn't help. Plus Rose McGowan transformed by either plastic-surgery or bad cgi (couldn't really tell) as his witchy daughter Marique is so outrageously goth that you constantly wonder if you are in a Conan film or in a remake of the Crow. Net net all protagonists are badly written and played even Ron Perlman, as Conan's father, is wasted.

Number 5, there isn't any consistency between the scenes…We watch Conan's Ship being attacked during the night, but the next scene of the battle for the Ship happens during the day… We see the girl go mating with Conan in a rocky cave of what seems to be a cliff environment. In the next morning when she attempts to go back to the Ship she gets kidnapped in what appears to be a Forest. At this stage I kept wondering if the Director was a little bit "special" or if the film editor endured a lobotomy half way during the editing session. Now that I think about it it's probably both.

Number 6, they didn't hire a lead designer and that shows…they should have. Costumes, armors, or even Architecture (by the way you can clearly see the use of models) don't fit the Conan universe and there isn't any vision or unity regarding the design of the film. As a result you don't have a feel that the story takes place in a possible ancient time with tangible ancient civilizations. So basically the production recycled costumes from the last 10 sand & sandals films and the result is catastrophic.

Number 7, they didn't hire a composer and that shows too. I understand that not everyone can be Basil Poledouris the composer of the haunting score from the 1982 Conan but in this 2011 Conan I was forgetting the music as I was watching the film…this is a premiere to me.

As a conclusion there is close to nothing that is enjoyable in this film. There is no sense of adventure that makes a heroic fantasy film worth it. There is no sense of progression that makes a revenge plot efficacious. There is no sense of danger that makes an action film breathtaking. There is no sense of feasibility that makes a film epic. There is no adequate script that makes characters believable and there is no musical soundtrack that draws you into the Journey. Give me 45millions dollars (half of the amount spent on this mockery) and some of the Conan fans from IMDb and we will probably do a better film…

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