Movie Reviews 54 – Conan the Barbarian (1982)

To a lot of people this movie was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s introduction to a worldwide audience. Others like myself, who had already heard of him and, more importantly, seen him on account of his bodybuilding career, knew that his physique was more than just another circus strongman. I was one of those anxious to finally see this muscle man in a movie and an adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s Conan character seemed like a perfect match. Up until that point I’d never read any of the Conan novels but I was as much influenced by the dark paintings of the muscular Barbarian by legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta in the pages of Famous Monsters, Creepy and Eerie and had seen some of the comics.
I clearly recall that there were discussions in print at the time questioning whether the heavily accented Austrian Schwarzenegger could effectively enunciate the dialogue. Was this going to be “Conan the Bavarian” in lieu of “Conan the Barbarian” was a question on everyone’s mind. In the end things worked out fine and while this is not a stellar movie by anyone’s accounting, it certainly has many charms. James Earl Jones as the Thulsa Doom who wants to rule the world and who has the magic mojo to do it, makes a formidable nemesis for Conan, while Sandahl Bergman and “Mako” (stalwart of the ‘one word’ stage name actors) provide good company for Conan. Aside from the many expected battles viewers are treated to some cool FX and, surprisingly, a decent enough story. Some of the more interesting segments include seeing Conan as a kid growing as a slave and slowing building up his body mass and there is of course that giant snake that make anacondas look like grass snakes in comparison. I don’t want to say too much about that, but you can get an idea of what that scene is all about when I tell you that there is an actress listed in the credits as “Sacrificial Snake Girl”. Welcome Ah-nold!

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One Response to “Movie Reviews 54 – Conan the Barbarian (1982)”

  1. cinemasoundblog Says:

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