25 August 2011

Conan the Insipid

Contrary to my earlier declaration, I ended up seeing Conan the Barbarian 3D.

One of my best friends was desperate to see it, and he wanted me to see it with him, as I am one of the few fellow fans of Robert E. Howard’s stories, and even the 1982 ‘non-Howardian’ John Milius film, that he knows. He went so far as to purchase my ticket. (I protested once we got to the ticket booth, but he insisted, no doubt dreading my future grumblings should I have spent my own money on a film that I didn’t really want to see. Not that I’m cheap or anything. Really! But I do tend to grumble a lot.)

As expected, the film was rubbish. The opening scene especially was awful. Fortunately, the rest of the film was not quite as bad, and there were a few fight scenes that I rather enjoyed (such as an early one with young Conan and a Pictish raiding party, and a later one in which Conan fights a number of magically-created ‘sand demons’). But overall, the story, to the extent that there was one, was insipid, and the dialogue often groan-worthy. It was not exactly worse than I expected, but then I had very low expectations!

Also grating was the 3D. I’m not a fan of 3D in general, and very much hope that its days are numbered (or at least that it becomes standard that 2D versions become available for all films). But the 3D for this film was especially bad. I often felt like I was watching the film through a muddy lens. This is a pity, since I think that some of the vistas might have been quite impressive, had they simply been filmed normally.

In short, the 24 percent ‘freshness’ rating at Rotten Tomatoes seems pretty spot on.

Despite my low opinion of the film, though, I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for the film’s ‘script doctor’, Sean Hood, given the thoughts he expresses in this post.


  1. I take it you did not follow Joe Sky's advice on this one.

  2. What advice was that, ze bullette? :)

  3. Voila:


  4. Did you read my movie review on fb? Needless to say, I didn't like it either.

  5. I know this is going to sound really kinda lame. So what you didn't like it. There are other people who will. This movie seems to be polarizing the audiences one way or the other. The fact that they even made it was a miracle to me. Its not going to replace the Anny movie either but hey. It was worth a shot & you got to spend sometime with your friends! There will be other movies. I haven't seen it either.
    Nice Review anyway though.

  6. I did read your review, C.J., and thought that it was spot on (except for your indifference to the 3D, which I actively disliked).

  7. "So what you didn't like it."

    'So what' indeed!

    But this is my blog, right? So I don't see why I shouldn't express my opinion about this film (or anything else, for that matter).

    "This movie seems to be polarizing the audiences one way or the other."

    It is?!? My impression is that it has been widely panned, by both critics and audiences, and has been a flop at the box office.

    I didn't realize there were strong defenders of this unfortunate film. But, hey, the internet is a big place... :)

  8. Um, yeah. Describing the consenus reaction to Conan as "polarizing" is mugging the meaning of that word in a dark alley.

  9. Oh yeah, thanks for that link, Spawn of Endra!

  10. I liked it well enough and I went with another avid Howard reader and a non-reader of most anything. It was far less than perfect, but I was entertained, plus the movie theatre is fairly new and the air conditioning was perfect. I also caught the 2D version because it was the only one available. I liked this movie much better than Kull or Conan the Destroyer. But I also did want more. At some point I want serpentmen and truly vile sorcery and man-apes and...


Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.