Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Conan the Barbarian
Dir: John Milius (Red Dawn, Flight of the Intruder)
Based on the stories by Robert E. Howard
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Sandahl Bergman, Mako, Ben Davidson, Max von Sydow
Revisited: January 26, 2010
Reason to Watch & Review: For the Sword & Sandal Marathon*
Revisiting Conan the Barbarian was such a treat as I have lots of fond memories of it from growing up, but I found myself having to really stop and focus on watching the film because I've seen it so many times that it took effort to really 'see' it. It's strange - I haven't had that happens since I revisited Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, who knew these two films would have anything in common?
This is an epic movie on many levels, from the epic journey of the main character to the fantastic world it is set in with magic and sorcery. One of the things I love most about Conan the Barbarian is that it really plays to it's strengths and doesn't let possible weaknesses gets in the way. It's a great adventure story, which is sets up through narration and follows through with action which visual takes us for a right for the majority of the journey. I'd admit that the dialogue isn't fantastic but it keeps it brief and what we are left either works well or at the very least is pretty amusing. The film also plays the epic card very well with fantastic locations, impressive sets and iconic heroes and villains. The score is powerful and really amps up the charging energy at all the right moments.
Out of the sword & sandal films so far, I'm surprized to say that Conan is the least likable character. Not that I disliked him, but when you sit down and think about it he's not a terrific guy (hence: Barbarian) and this film is primarily based on revenge as opposed to overall good vs evil theme. I almost didn't notice this about his character because it's tempered by Arnold Schwarzenegger charisma which brings a lot to the screen.
A huge bonus to the film is getting to see the character of Valeria, played by Sandahl Bergman, who is a thief by definition but plays out as a warrior. She is the first to jump into action, fearless, resourceful and can fight to boot. It's always welcome to have strong female characters and she is a fantastic one. The fighting overall it pretty awesome combining creativity with straight up skill for impressive and inventive results. It's didn't feel that gory overall although there are some pretty intense moments, I was surprized to see the DVD had an R rating but perhaps that is due to to the nudity and not violence.
Overall it's a great adventure and one that I'm sure to revisit again and again.
Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I own it
I'd recommend it as a great adventure/sword & sandals film
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© Shannon Ridler, 2010
* The Sword & Sandal Marathon is a 13 week marathon exploring sword & sandal films in anticipation of the 2010 release of Clash of the Titans
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012