130 of 144 people found the following review helpful
Now they will know why they are afraid of the dark...,
This review is from: Conan the Barbarian - Collector's Edition (DVD)
Back in 1982, when this film first came out I remember being absolutely spellbound by the production. It was as if Conan had stepped right out of Robert E. Howard's books. I remember some grumbling, because the script was not perfectly true to the original books. But, frankly, I did not give a darn. Valeria (Sandahl Bergman) was the perfect warrior maiden, Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) was the snake worshipper from hell, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was totally out of sight as the nearly inarticulate Conan. What a glare he had!
I don't mean to slight the rest of the cast, all the actors are great. Garry Lopez as Conan's sidekick and Mako as the wizard provide comic relief. And who can forget Max Von Sydow as King Osric. In a world that expected science fiction and fantasy movies to be hokey, grade B schlock, 'Conan the Barbarian' proved that it didn't have to be that way. No small part of what makes the film work are the elaborate sets and cinematography. Director John Milius strove to give the film something of the flavor of a history that could have happened, and succeeded. In addition, he makes up for the lack of dialog by presenting a continuous flow of carefully orchestrated and framed film sequences.
I was struck while watching it this time how much the dialog and action work to build the thematic structure. Often events or dialog will foreshadow action to come. In Valeria's death scene, she asks Conan to keep her warm. And in the next scene we find him building and lighting a funeral pyre where no fire had burnt before. In the background, the mound with its sacred stones echoes similar shapes seen throughout the film. This kind of thoughtful work is only to be expected of Milius and De Laurentis, but in 1982, it was far beyond the norm for this genre.
Two features are added for the DVD. The first is a running film analysis by Schwarzenegger and Milius, which is every bit as good as the movie itself. A the second is a feature on the film's production done 20 years after the fact. It is quite interesting to hear what the acting and production teams thin about the film in retrospect.
Violent and sexy, the film's core is built of constant action and spectacle, with very little dialog. Sudden moments of filmic stillness act to emphasize the intense and often gory fight scenes. This and several moments when there is apparent mistreatment of animals give the film its R rating. Of course, the controversy only added to the film's popularity at the time. Even today, this manages to be a surprising film. By all means make and effort to seek it out.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 3, 2011 8:32:54 PM PST
Posted on May 29, 2012 9:54:57 AM PDT
He actually did punch the camel. There was a bit of a hubbub about it, which was lampshaded in the second film when he apologizes to the (supposedly) same camel- then does it again.
Also shame on you for not giving Basil Polidourus a shout out on this movie. It wouldn't be the same (or nearly as serious) without his epic soundtrack.
Posted on Sep 28, 2012 5:19:15 AM PDT
Michele Ragland says:
I thought this was a review for Conan 2011....that's what I am viewing on Amazon Prime....so why is this review here?
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2012 8:43:30 AM PDT
Totally what I was wondering!!
Posted on Oct 3, 2012 8:49:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 3, 2012 8:56:37 AM PDT
Thanks for the review of the 1982 film. Not real helpful when looking for a review of the 2011 "remake/reboot". Maybe your review for the 2011 is given for the 1982 movie??
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2012 9:56:06 PM PDT
The 2011 version isn't even worth talking about. It sucks. Get the original from 1982.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2012 5:49:54 AM PDT
Just suffered through 30 minutes of the "remake" & I agree, just saying that if someone comes to get a review for the 2011 film here, there are several 5 star reviews-all for the 1982 film. Maybe the film company switched 'em out or whatever to make the 2011 film look better. Just thought it was weird that there were so many 5 star reviews for this waste of film.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2012 12:13:41 PM PDT
Michele Ragland says:
Already saw it....but when you're expecting a review of a certain film that's what you want to read!
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