Zoë's Blu-ray Review: CONAN THE BARBARIAN

This film chronicles the adventures of Conan, a man who was born in the midst of a battlefield and brought up amongst violence and cruelty. The cast did a fantastic job, especially Jason Momoa as Conan. Director Marcus Nispel of Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame truly did the legacy justice visually while the screenplay could have been better considering how compelling the rest of the film was.

The Film

This film chronicles the adventures of Conan, a man who was born in the midst of a battlefield and brought up amongst violence and cruelty. The cast did a fantastic job, especially Jason Momoa as Conan. The film also stars Ron Perlman, Rose McGowan and Rachel Nichols with Morgan Freeman’s stunning voice serving as our narrator. The set design and musical score were captivating and the fighting sequences are magnificent. I believe director Marcus Nispel ofFriday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame truly did the legacy justice.

Unfortunately, while the film was very well presented the screenplay -- structurally as well and much of the dialogue -- could have been better. Considering how compelling the rest of the film was, and how rich the Conan literary history is, it's a shame the foundation for it wasn't more fine tuned.

Special Features Breakdown

The Conan Legacy: This is a documentary on the complete history of Conan from it's inception in 1932 all the way through its pulp fiction heyday of the 70s, 80s up until today. It covers Conan in books, video games and in the Marvel and Dark Horse comic series and explores what it means to be a long standing Conan fan. We are shown the vast history of this character and how in this film they wanted to blend together 80 years worth of material into one person.

Robert E. Howard - The Man Who Would Become Conan: Here we learnthe history of Conan creator Howard from birth through his journey of wanting to be an adventure writer. We are given details about his life such as stopping strangers on the road in order to listen to their stories and acting out his stories with his friends. We are also shown the history of pulp fiction novels and Weird Tales which featured Conan. However, some of the same material is repeated from the previous featurette.

Battle Royale - Engineering The Action: This feature details how intense the fighting scenes were for the actors, and what they had to endure to prepare for the film. Momoa simply said, “Getting a crash course in Samurai training is just fucking cool.” The director explains that 90% of the fighting was real while they were able to take creative liberties with the rest. This was fascinating because they explained that the movements were importation because Canon spoke through his actions instead of words.

Staging the Fights: A very unique aspect of this blu-ray is this featurette which showcases
the exact same footage the stunt doubles created in order to show the actors; ultimately, visual storyboards for the fight choreography. Hardly are we as audience members able to see materials given directly to actors, and it was a great inside look into how the process is done.

The most legendary Barbarian of all time is back this Summer. Having thrived and evolved for eight consecutive decades in the public imagination - in prose and graphics, on the big screen and small, in games and properties of all kinds - Conan’s exploits in the Hyborian Age now come alive like never before in a colossal 3D action-adventure film.

Based on the character of Conan as originally created by Robert E. Howard, a boy born on the battlefield grows into a hulking warrior hell-bent on avenging his father’s death. But Conan’s personal vendetta soon escalates into an epic battle of impossible odds, facing the fiercest of rivals and the most horrific of monsters.

A home entertainment debut as fierce as the warrior himself, Lionsgate brings Conan the Barbarian to 3D/2D Blu-ray Disc, 2D Blu-ray Disc, DVD, Digital Download and On Demand this November. In an epic battle led by an epic hero, Jason Momoa (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) stars as Conan, the Cimmerian set on avenging his father’s death. The action-packed film, directed by Marcus Nispel (Friday the 13th), also stars Rachel Nichols (Star Trek), Stephen Lang (Avatar), Rose McGowan (Planet Terror) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy).

The 3D/2D Blu-ray Disc and DVD releases are both loaded with ferocious bonus materials that include two audio commentaries, a history of the Conan franchise featurette, “The Man Who Would Be Conan: Robert E. Howard” featurette that looks at the creator of the famous character plus two additional featurettes that examine the action and fight scenes. Conan the Barbarian thunders into stores on November 22nd on 3D/2D Blu-ray Disc and 2D Blu-ray Disc.

3.5 Stars

Comments

Pietro Filipponi  |  Managing Editor

Pietro Filipponi's picture

Great to hear the BTS features are worth sitting through. I found the film very lacking in terms of story and dialogue as well, but the action beats were great!