Movie Review of Conan the Barbarian, with Jason Momoa

by on December 2, 2011

in Entertainment, movie reviews

In this movie review of Conan the Barbarian, I get to share my pain with you my reader.  You see, I finally got to see Conan The Barbarian.  The movie stars Jason Momoa, Stephen Lang, Rachel Nichols, Ron Perlman and Rose McGowan.  And to be honest, I think the best part of this movie is the movie one-sheet below!

Conan the Barbarian one sheet

I’m glad I didn’t drop money at the movie theater on this beast and I’m not sure if I didn’t spend too much on the Comcast VoD rental fee!

Conan the Barbarian is depressingly directed by Marcus Nispel from a script pulled together with duct tape by Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer and Sean Hood.

Nispel’s next movie project is titled Pacemaker… Too little, too late.  This script needed one now.  Donnelly and Oppenheimer both scripted Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. (What? You ask?) And A Sound of Thunder.

Conan The Barbarian brought nothing new or original to the screen and came across as a bit of a low-energy experience.  And its box office tally shows just how low-energy… with an est $70M budget and a $21M payday, to date, domestically.

I’m not even sure I can recommend it as a rental, unless there’s a huge sale or discount somewhere.

And that’s a shame.  There were many a Jason Momoa fan that was pretty happy that they’re favorite Stargate alumni was getting a big-screen break-out role.  Instead, the only thing that broke out was movie-goers money from their wallets.

The movie starts out with us learning about the evil that spread across the land, using bones of kings to make an evil mask.  The evil had no enemy except for the barbarians who stood up against the evil.

We then watch Conan be born amidst a battle…  on the battlefield.  The barbarians eventually beat the evil and broke up the mask, hiding pieces of it across the lands.

We skip to his young teen days as we watch some quality time with him and his father.  But then we’re Zym (Lang) shows up, finds the final shard of the mask and kills Conan’s father (Perlman).

We then skip some 15 or 20 years and we watch Conan randomly freeing slaves, because he believes no person should  be a slave.  And the movie goes on from there as Conan is on the trail of his father’s killer.

All young men need a goal, right?  Right… except maybe in this movie.

Thoughts, Opinions and Observations on Conan the Barbarian

I’ve heard tell that 3D movies in the theater seem dark.  That’s from when the 3D projection lens is dropped down in front of the projector.  If you thought this movie was dark in the 3D showings, don’t worry, it wasn’t the projector.  The movie has quite a few dark scenes.

The movie has an awful lot of close up shots, too close to enjoy some of the scenes, where we lose seeing almost half the actors body in quite a few shots.

At times the scene seems to have been filmed with a wide angle lens, and the image looks like it is slightly spherical, like we’re looking at it in a fishbowl.

Every time a sword hit someone, a hidden bucket of blood splattered out of the body.  Excessive amounts, probably designed for the 3D screenings.

The fight choreography (Jonathan Eusebio fight coordinator) must have been specifically orchestrated for 3D… it seemed stiff.  And odd, considering that the fightees would duck before the sword was even moving, and there didn’t feel like there was any tension or anxiety in the scenes.  They were all just going through the motions.

Continuity between scenes was odd at times.  Too many times.  Examples:

Horse chase scene.  One moment, there’s a big distance between parties.  The next second, in the next section of ground, Conan has caught up with the fleeing felon.

Conan jumps off a cliff into the ocean, his boat about half a mile away.  As the bad guy sprints to the cliff edge, Conan is suddenly 1/2 way there.

Conan kicks a weapon away from the bad guy.  They scuffle, then suddenly the same weapon is next to him as he picks it up.

Rachel Nichols in Conan the Barbarian

Jason Momoa speaks in a strained, gravelly tone through most of the movie that doesn’t really convey much.  His real voice rarely comes through.

This role with the Michael Jackson/Freddy Kruger gloves for Rose McGowan really didn’t come through.

The finale fight was on par with a Syfy channel movie… maybe it was a little better, but not by much.

I think that Lang was the highlight of this movie, and Momoa a close second.


Should I go on?  Wait!  Rachel Nichols looked nice.  Yea.. OK… Though I thought it would be great to see Jason Momoa in a silver screen role, it was not the best foray into the movie theater realm for the first movie for the fave actor of many from the annals of Stargate fandom.  So much for all the banter and marketing on this one.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Simmons December 3, 2011 at 9:14 am

I was hoping, that’s for sure. And like I said, if anything, OK as a rental if found as a discount!

Paul Forcey December 3, 2011 at 8:34 am

I watched this on DVD from Red Box, my wife got 7 free movie vouchers for shopping at walgreens on Black Friday, I thought it was ok.

Maybe I just wasn’t expecting much, I thought it was ok. Worth the $1 from redbox (or the $0 we paid)..

I somehow doubt this is the movie to launch Jason into the next Terminator film..

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