Released in August of this year, Conan the Barbarian failed pretty hard at the box office. Even Sean Hood, one of the screenwriters of the film, wrote a blog about how it felt to see the movie fail, which made me feel slightly bad that it did. Sometimes, you forget the people who make movies actually have feelings and believe in a project. But screw them, the movie sucked.
Well, not really. It wasn’t that bad. In fact, it’s an R-rated action film that probably would have been huge in the 90’s, but not in our cynical-10s (is that what it is? 10s? What about O-10s? That’s what I’m going to use. Try to stop me.)
The DVD and Blu-Ray are sparse on extras, but the ones they have are interesting nonetheless. “The Conan Legacy” is a pretty cool 18-minute history of the character that is really well made. The most interesting comment was by one of the film’s producers saying they cast Jason Momoa, and unknown actor, so they wouldn’t have to have someone who would be compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger. That seems slightly odd considering how anyone who would have been cast would have been compared to Arnold. I understand he is trying to find a more finess way of saying, “We cast an unknown because this movie had to be cheap.”
“Robert E. Howard – The Man Who Would Be Conan” is a short look at the man who created the character. It’s a fun watch. But, the two best features are about staging the fights.
“Battle Royal – Engineering the Action” is a look at how the stunt coordinators worked. It gives you a lot of insight into how they get these intricate fights created and ready to shoot. Spoiler Alert! Editing and many angles makes these fights interesting. Seeing the fights actually being created is funny because the actors are barely making contact and are slow. But it’s great to see the creation and final product, which makes “Staging the Fights” even cooler. The filmmakers actually shot many of the fights scenes in pre-production with stunt doubles and referred to these short films when shooting the actual movie. It’s great to see the stunt double version versus the final version.
The final two special features are audio commentaries, one with the director, Marcus Nispel (which breaks the main commentary rule: never only have one person. It’s very boring and very quiet). The other is with Momoa and Rose McGowan, which really should be called “Everything is About Rose McGowan” because she finds a way to make everything about her. Even scenes she isn’t in are somehow about her. The only thing she doesn’t talk about is the amount of plastic surgeons it took to turn her face into a flat, plastic shell of its former self.
I think Conan is worth giving a chance. It’s campy, gory, and has some decent laughs. Also, some nudity. And that’s always good, right? (No. See About Schmidt).