Conan the Barbarian (2011)

conan the barbarian poster 2011 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 8/10

Decent looking

Story lack heart and quickly becomes boring

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Conan the Barbarian

Studio:  Nu Image Films

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  August 19, 2011

MPAA Rating:  R

conan the barbarian 2011 jason momoa sand people

The liveliest part of the movie…needed more like this

Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang) has lost his wife but has vowed to return her to life to conquer the world of Hyboria.  On his attempt to collect the Mask of Acheron, he slaughters the village of Conan (Leo Howard) and Conan vows to avenge his father (Ron Perlman).  As Conan (Jason Momoa) grows older, revenge still is in his mind as he tracks Zym and his daughter Marique (Rose McGowan).  When Conan finds that Zym is trying to capture Tamara (Rachel Nichols) use use her pure blood lineage to fix the Mask of Acheron, Conan must defend Tamara and avenge his father.

Directed by Marcus Nispel, Conan the Barbarian is based on the Conan character created Ron E. Howard in 1932.  The film had previously been made in 1982 starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and had been in production limbo for years.  The movie was released to negative reviews and poor box-office returns.

I liked the original Conan the Barbarian and the sequel Conan the Destroyer less so.  I had always wanted the sequel to the films to come out, but as the years went by, it seemed less likely.  Despite liking Schwarzenegger’s films, I thought that Howard’s work gave lots of room for improvement…unfortunately I didn’t get it, though Conan the Barbarian is a nice attempt.

conan the barbarian rose mcgowan rachel nichols

I’ve got charm!!!

When Conan the Barbarian was made in 1982, it used 1982 technology.  Now with films like 300 and even Clash of the Titans pushing the effects boundaries, I hoped that the movie would bring some of these visuals to a traditional sword and sorcery film.  The movie did succeed a bit in this aspect…It was big and brawling and for the most part the effects looked decent, but it isn’t paired well with anything else (I did like the sand men…like Prince of Persia and the Dweller was very Howard and Weird Tales feeling).

I didn’t really object to Momoa as Conan.  I didn’t picture Howard’s Conan as big and brawny as Schwarzenegger.  I always assumed Howard’s Conan was strong but smart…not necessarily just a brawler.  Momoa wasn’t perfect but he also didn’t have a very much to work with.  Conan is a pretty one-dimensional character and it is hard to breathe life into him.  All the actors were faced with a script that didn’t expand past the cheesy sword and sorcery.

conan the barbarian jason momoa stephen lang

You’re no Thulsa Doom!

The story was dull…this was the big problem.  The events aren’t big enough, and it seems like Conan just slogs from one event to the next.  The original film had the cool Thulsa Doom who with his whole snake motif had the feel like Conan was up against a true super-villain.  If the cast and visuals had been applied to a similar story, I think it would have been pretty cool.  Here it just feels like a better looking Hercules:  The Legendary Journeys episode.

Conan the Barbarian didn’t provide the Conan I needed.  With continued (and renewed) talk of a third Conan movie with Schwarzenegger like Conan the King, I hope I can get the Conan I want someday.  I also feel that this movie came out at the wrong time.  If it had come out during Game of Thrones, not only would Momoa have brought an audience, but sword and sorcery had a little uptick with the show.  If you want sword and sorcery, just check out the original…this one just doesn’t have the fun the movie needs.

Related Links:

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

Conan the Destroyer (1984)

Red Sonja (1985)


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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