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Movie Review: Conan the Barbarian

It’s very rare these days that I get to catch a movie on its premiere weekend.  I normally reserve those for special movies like the first three episodes of Star Wars and 300.  I wasn’t expecting Conan to be one of them, though I was starting to get excited about this reboot since the last trailer.  But my husband and I finished up all the married couple house stuff early yesterday so we went out to see a late afternoon showing of the movie.  The movie started off with a huge bang, with a two barbarian battle scenes and Morgan Freeman giving us the lowdown on the world and the story behind this all powerful mask.  As the movie progressed its initial spark and fire seemed to die out, leaving me a shaking my head by the time it ended.  There were some great highlights but also some low points too that kept this movie from being an epic and memorable movie like the original.

****SPOILERS*****

Let’s start off with the highlights.

Conan the Barbarian 2011

Photo courtesy of: matttrailer.com

 

Jason Momoa is sexy as hell!! Let’s put story line, plots, and character development to the side so I can have this girly moment.  That man was sexy as hell in this movie!  The body, the hair, the fearlessness, and the way he handled that sword made me swoon in ways Arnold never could!  He may not have had the best manners but you know what, I could let that slide just for him!

Great battle scenes. The sword play in this movie had nothing on the original, which I didn’t expect to because we are living in more liberal times when it comes to movies.  There was plenty of blood, skull crushing, and battle cries, which make movies like these  so much fun! The opening scene where Conan takes out those savage tribesmen as a boy was awesome!  He was sent on an exercise with other boys from his village of Cimmerra to circle the hills without breaking the small egg in their mouths.  When those crazy howling men came out of from the trees, those other boys took off running while Conan marched straight into battle. When he brought back their heads without breaking that egg he let us know from jump that he was nothing to play with!  Another battle sequence I enjoyed was when Conan faced those sand zombies while battling the man that killed his father, Khalar Zyme.  It reminded me of the little stone mummies from The Mummy, who I also thought were kinda cool!

Conan the Barbarian 2011

Photo courtesy of: Poptower.com

Very cool costumes.  Besides that fact that Conan is shirtless for most the movie, I thought the movie did a great job dressing its characters!  The battle armor of Khalar Zyme’s army reminded me of ancient Asian armies and was glad to see it wasn’t your typical medieval type gear.  I thought that Marique, the sorceress daughter of Khalar Zyme had the best outfits and makeup, hands down!  She looked extremely creepy with the receding hairline andcrazy, braid things (and those long, armor type nails didn’t help either).  Out of everyone, she reminded me that I was in another time and place which kept me immersed in the Conan world.

Okay, now for the not so great points:

Too much convenience, even for a Conan type movie.  I don’t expect intricate plot lines, loads of drama, or introspective conflict when I see movies like this.  However, there is a clear line between story convenience that can slide and that which is blatantly convenience that it almost insults my intelligence.  I think the worst case of it involved Tamara, the pure blood girl that the Khalar needs to dominate the world.  She is a monk in a monastery and her master tells her outright that she is going to meet a warrior, their paths would merge, and he will take her to her homeland.  I mean, really?  No kidding?  They could’ve handle it better than that.  Give me a dream, a prophecy, something…heck anything instead of flat out telling me (and her) exactly what’s going to happen.  Now for the rest of movie it seemed like their whole love affair was so forced and came off awkward to me.  I even thought she slept with Conan way too fast.   Let the man save you a few more times so you can get past his bad manners to sleep with him!

Conan the Barbarian Marique

Photo courtesy of: beyondhollywood.com

The Super Bad Villains really weren’t all that bad. I think we can all agree that in the original Conan, James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom was a pretty bad dude who not only killed people but turned into a really big snake.  Just the voice alone exuded supreme power and that he was really serious about taking over the world (with the awful weave and all).  Khalar Zyme in this one wasn’t all that scary to me and not nearly as badass as he needed to be.  If I heard him talk about bringing back his dead wife but one more time, I was going to scream.  He is supposed to be worrying about burning the earth and having his deadly army crush its people to the ground, not focusing on the dead wife.

But he didn’t disappoint as much as his daughter did.  This chick is supposed to be a super sorceress.  So where is the badass sorcery and magic??  All she did was sniff and feel around for things and summon some sand zombies.  Other than that, she did nothing.  Nothing! Even when her father turned down her proposal to help him discover the magic he was after instead of bringing back her dead mother, I expected some double crossing or some foul play in the end.  No, she played the good girl and ended up dying like a commoner.

Conan the Barbarian Tamara

Photo courtesy of: www.todotucine.com

A lackluster ending.  This ending was really disappointing.  This was supposed to be the opportunity for Conan to have a no holds barred duel to the death with the man that’s he been searching for all of his life that killed his father.  I needed Conan to be winning, look like he’s losing, get cut up really bad, and then summon all of his strength to finally kill Khalar in the most gruesome and grotesque of ways.  Yeah…all I got was two guys occasionally meeting swords and spending the rest of the time dodging rocks and looking for each other.  And how does he die?  Conan breaks the wood from under Khalar when they’re on the bridge and he falls. That’s it??? Are you serious??  The original Conan took off Thulsa Doom’s head for crying out loud and that was the 80’s!

Overall the movie was good, not epic but good.  If it would’ve kept the same momentum that it had in the beginning it would’ve been an awesome movie.  So, I think it’s safe to say that Arnold may have won this round of the reboot.

Have you seen it?  What do you think?

 

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