Orphaned by a cold-blooded cult leader and his band of brutal
marauders, Conan endures a childhood of merciless slavery
only to become a gladiator and fight for his captors. Sent
to the far East to hone his fighting skills, Conan is freed
and begins a dangerous, full-blooded quest to avenge his parent's
massacre. Now, the sword-wielding warrior must vanquish his
bloodthirsty enemies in a death-defying action-adventure about
courage, strength, character and the triumph of good over
the Barbarian is the movie that made Schwarzenegger a
star, and it's easy to see why, thanks to lavish production
and an epic story. Whether you take the film seriously, or
look upon it as an exercise in kitsch is up to you. Either
way, Conan works, delivering meaty entertainment by
way of violence, muscles, hot babes, more muscles and even
the film is peppered with some real acting talent to offset
the crude efforts of Arnie and his fellow muscle-bound "actors".
James Earl Jones plays the baddie of the piece, and a fine
performance it is too. Praise also to Max von Sydow, even
if his role is lamentably minor.
fact, it is the true thesps that get the majority of the dialogue,
when there is some that is, as whole chunks of Conan
are sans speech. During such a hiatus in chat, the stirring,
operatic score by Basil Poledouris steps in with its own distinct
voice. Those used to the likes of John Williams may take a
little while to adjust to Poledouris' work, as it is very
unlike a regular movie score. However, without it, Conan
would have been a lesser film.
As this is a special edition DVD, the extras are abundant,
including a specially made documentary featuring retrospective
interviews with the principals, including Arnie. The extras
are well presented and informative, and certainly do justice
to the material.
this release of the film suffers from one major problem. The
disc containing the movie itself also contains a number of
trailers for other films. These play (although they can be
skipped) before you reach the menu. In a special edition DVD
release this is UNFORGIVEABLE. Collectors are not interested
in trailers for other films. Collectors are interested in
the best possible sound and picture. Trailers take up space
on the disc, so the compression ratio for the feature is higher
than it would be than if the trailers were not present. This
means a reduction in picture quality. For this reason, Conan
the Barbarian: Special Edition loses two marks.
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