Review: Conan the Barbarian
When I was younger my brothers and I very seldom agreed on what to watch on TV. There was, however, one movie that all three of us could watch constantly and never get bored with it. That movie was Conan the Barbarian and it was my first taste of heroic sword & sorcery fantasy.
To this day Conan the Barbarian is my all-time favorite movie.
So, when Conan got re-released for its 40th anniversary I rushed to the theaters. This was a real treat for me because I never saw the movie on the big screen before. To my surprise, I actually had things revealed to me that I'd never noticed before even after all the times I'd watched it before.
What makes Conan so great is the powerful storytelling that comes across with a simple look or small movement. There are no great big special effects (other than a few snakes I thought were real when I was younger!) and other than Schwarzenegger and James Earl Jones the cast is relatively unknown. But to me, they are still the most epic characters that I've ever seen and they stuck with me over the years to shape my life and my writing.
I'm in the middle of writing a dragon fantasy with a fierce female hero. The first person I thought to draw from in my formulation of the character was Valeria from Conan. When I saw actress Sandhal Bergman step out from the shadows for the first time wielding a massive sword and holding her own with the male counterparts, it enthralled me! That is why I love fantasy heroines to this day.
I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the soundtrack. A sweeping boom of an orchestra that fit every scene perfectly. Even without dialogue in alot of the scenes it remains just as powerful because of the score from Basil Poledouris.
I've never seen the remake with Jason Momoa, and I never will. You can't recapture the magic of Conan the Barbarian no matter how hard you try. Every piece fit perfectly together and to me it is the the best film of that genre and still my all-time favorite.
If you have never seen Conan the Barbarian, I implore you to watch it immediately. Want more fantasy to read? See what I've been cooking up for the last year with the free novella Rise of the Dragonslayer. It is a prequel/origin story to my upcoming fantasy series and is only available through my newsletter. Find out more below: