Conan the Barbarian 3D
Release Date: August 19, 2011
Starring: Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols,
Stephen Lang, Ron Perlman,
Audience: Older teenagers to adults
Runtime: 112 minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Director: Marcus Nispel
Executive Producer: Danny Dimbort, George Furla,
Eda Kowen, Trevor Short, Henry
Producer: John Baldecchi, Boaz Davidson,
Randall Emmett, Joe Gatta, Avi
Lerner, Danny Lerner, Fredrik
Malmberg, Les Weldon
Writer: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua
Oppenheimer, Sean Hood, Robert
Address Comments To:Jon Feltheimer, CEO
AKA Lions Gate Films
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200
Fax: (310) 255-3870
The movie begins with the birth of Conan (played by Jason Mamoa) when an enemy sword plunges into his mother’s womb. As his mother dies, Conan’s father cuts him out and raises him. Conan grows into an ambitious youngster who shows prodigious talent for taking the life of other men when some beast-like warriors surround him in the woods. Conan brings their heads back to camp as a prize and his father is impressed, so he forges him a sword.
However, before Conan can fully use the weapon, the evil lord Khalar Zym (played by Stephen Lang) ransacks his village looking for pieces of a magical mask to give him power to rule the world and to bring back his dead wife. Witnessing his father’s torturous death, young Conan vows revenge.
Through a series of extremely violent and disorienting plot points, Conan finds out where to find Khalar. Accompanied by his sorcerer daughter, Khalar and his minions are marching on a peaceful city. They are looking for a “true blood,” a descendent of a magical group of people so they can use the person’s blood to complete his occult ritual with the magical mask. However, the true blood priestess Tamara (Rachel Nichols) is able to escape, runs into Conan and falls under his protection – or rather bondage.
Conan’s quest thickens as he realizes he might be the only man capable of stopping Khalar from oppressing the entire world, as well as saving the life of the girl he’s beginning to love. Ultimately, Conan finds himself in a position where he must choose either to fight Khalar or lose Tamara. His decision will determine not only his own destiny, but also the fate of the world.
The story to CONAN isn’t great, but it has its exciting moments. The plot revolves around a memorable protagonist who, conflicted since childhood, lashes out in anger at the world around him. However, it’s hard to admire Conan. At times he seems crueler than the bad guys, and in the end we’re left wondering if he’s learned anything at all beyond a few new sword maneuvers. Moreover, his hedonistic lifestyle is poorly appealing. When asked by Tamara if he thinks there might be a bigger plan or purpose to life, he responds that all he knows is to “live, love, slay, and be content” (thereupon the two consummate their lust in a graphic sex scene).
Furthermore, the presence of occult content is troubling. At one point Khalar claims to be god, which Conan and his father deny, not out of respect for the true God, but out of disrespect for the concept of God altogether. They tell Khalar, “god or not, you will fall,” thus trusting to their own might to overcome conflict. Thus, the realm of the supernatural is trivialized to magic. For example, when Conan defeats Khalar and his witch, Conan thereby defeats the very concept of God – leaving viewers with a bleak outlook for life dependent solely on man’s own strength without the support of a loving, omnipotent Creator. Conan’s view of man as violent meat-machine leaves little room for redeeming values such as grace and compassion. Another shocking instance is when the occult witch perverts the concept of the body as a temple when performing magic on Tamara so that her deceased mother can possess her in order to transform her into her deceased mother.
Overall, Movieguide® finds CONAN’s graphic violence and depicted nudity and sex excessive and its humanist, godless, hedonistic, anti-supernatural worldview abhorrent. Though the hero, Conan, fights the occult villains, the occult magic in CONAN THE BARBARIAN is still disturbing and scary.
The story to CONAN isn’t great, but it has its exciting moments. However, it’s hard to admire Conan. He sometimes seems crueler than the bad guys. In the end, viewers may wonder if he’s learned anything beyond a few new sword maneuvers. Overall, Movieguide® finds CONAN’s graphic violence and depicted nudity and sex excessive and its humanist, godless, hedonistic, anti-supernatural worldview abhorrent. Though the hero, Conan, fights the occult villains, the occult magic in CONAN THE BARBARIAN is still disturbing and scary.