Seeking revenge, a fiery redheaded female warrior sets out to retrieve a magic orb from an evil queen whose loyal warriors raped her and murdered her entire family. She finds unlikely allies along the way.
A fearless, globe-trotting, terrorist-battling secret agent has his life turned upside down when he discovers his wife might be having an affair with a used car salesman while terrorists smuggle nuclear war heads into the United States.
Jamie Lee Curtis,
A village is attacked by the evil ruler of the Snake Cult, Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and his evil warriors, when Thulsa Doom and his warriors kills his parents, a young boy named Conan (Jorge Sanz) is enslaved. Years later, Conan grows up and becomes a mighty warrior and is trained as a fighter. After years as a slave and as a gladiator, Conan is set free. Conan sets out on a quest as he vows to avenge his parents and solve the riddle of steel. Joined by a archer named Subotai (Gerry Lopez), a beautiful thief who falls in love with Conan, Valeria (sandahl Bergman') and a Chinese wizard (Mako), Conan and his companions sets out to rescue Princess Yasmina (Valérie Quennessen), daughter of King Osric (Max von Sydow), from the Snake Cult, and get his revenge on Thulsa Doom and avenge his parents.Written by
(at around 1h 30 mins) Thulsa Doom in the film briefly shape-shifts into a snake. This is probably inspired by the Serpent Men, a shape-shifting, humanoid-snake race in the works of Robert E. Howard and their adaptations. They figure prominently in both the Kull the Conqueror and Conan stories. See more »
(at around 1h 5 mins) When Conan leaves the wizard to go to the mountain on the camel, he carries a bunch of purple flowers. By the time he reaches the mountain, the flowers are white. See more »
Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!
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Fantasy films are rarely bold in spirit. Most of them offer colorful, vivid spectacles in wonderful places, but when drawing on ancient myth and legend, very few truly recognize that our history is full of darkness and savagery. In the 1930s, Robert E. Howard created a legend of his own, channeling all the primal brutality and bloodshed of the ancient times into one savage hero: Conan, the Cimmerian who would become a warrior, a pirate, a conqueror, and eventually a king. Conan's adventures in literature took him across all corners of the ancient Earth, to battle countless enemies, vicious monsters, and the darkest magic. Films with this same rawness seem to only come once in a great while.
1982's cinematic debut of Conan is a welcome break from the typical sugar-coated fantasy fare; the film doesn't hold back on showing brutal warfare, liberal bloodshed, rampant sex, and savage landscapes. Right from the beginning, the savagery is palpable. At the same time, the film is not all that trashy about it; is uses only as much blood and gore as it needs to to tell the story. Using only a light amount of excess, the film progresses through a lengthy adventure full of cool battles and memorable scenes, with the right pacing and an appropriate tone that's not too bleak but not too lightweight. As it is, this incarnation of Conan is fun and awesome to watch, and even after a sequel, remake, and video game, it hasn't been matched since.
The original stories can get a bit derivative: Conan usually appears somewhere to slay some bad guys, get the girl, get the treasure, defeat evil, blah blah blah. This film ventures into the same formulaic territory, but before doing so, it lays the groundwork by chronicling Conan's origins, in a tragic opening sequence that's so fundamental in nature that it's been seen before. From then on, the film maintains a solid pathos that allows us to follow and root for Conan on his sprawling quest of vengeance. Conan is a fundamental hero to the core, and the film expresses all his characteristics - his strength, his beliefs, his motivations - aptly. The side characters he picks up are lovable, and their enemies are bad guys we love to hate. The plot is pieced together using some scenes inspired by the original stories, but it all flows really well, thanks mostly to the characters and their chemistry. It's all set in a world that looks primal, but not quite as dark or magical as the original stories.
This film boasts some good-looking photography. It can be pretty murky and drab at times, but the camera angles are great and the imagery overall is solid. Editing has a few weak parts, but is still mostly good. Acting can be a bit silly, but Arnold Schwarzenegger fits Conan both in body and spirit. I love Sandahl Bergman's performance as Valeria. James Earl Jones is literally hypnotic as the main villain, and everybody else does okay. Writing has a few weak spots, but there are still quite a few good lines. This production uses some limited, but very real-looking and detailed sets, props, and costumes. Basil Poledoris' music score is epic, grand, and a thing of beauty in itself.
Conan the Barbarian is one of the very few epic/fantasy films that's so raw and brutal, but it's still a fine adventure with lovable characters and solid plotting. Some may call this film overly violent or stupid, especially in the way it revels in savagery. But I've always valued the beauty of savagery, for I believe there is something compelling about the primal nature of this character. If you enjoy stuff like this - like the 300 series, the Berserk manga, the God of War video games - then Conan should be a must-see.
On home video, the unrated cut of the movie includes a few bonus scenes that elaborate a bit more on the characters, but aren't really all that necessary for the plot.
4.5/5 (Entertainment: Very Good | Story: Very Good | Film: Good)
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