Friday, September 9, 2011

Conan: The Barbarian (3D)

I have quite fond childhood memories of Conan, the very ruthless, but soft-hearted Barbarian. The latest version of the Cimmerians’ legend however disappoints in a few big ways and to be honest, there's not a lot I can applaud director Marcus Nispel’s attempt for.

The first major flaw (and the most unforgiveable one for an action adventure) is the really stupid and unoriginal fight scenes: Sure you get treated to some grotesque samples of barbaric violence, but they don't really manage to distract one's attention from the monotonous and loud bashing of clunky swords – The fact that these incoherent fighting scenes are so frequent doesn’t help either.

"Sure you get treated to some grotesque samples of barbaric violence, but they don't really manage to distract one's attention from the monotonous and loud bashing of clunky swords."

This is made even more unbearable thanks to significantly bad cinematography that relies on an ill-advised zoomed-in effect, making it extremely difficult to figure out what is exactly transpiring. This gives the movie an odd old-school feel, but in this instance, it seems to be more a case of unintentional out-datedness rather than sheer directorial brilliance.

The issues don’t stop there however: Average dialogue can be forgiven in an action film, but also add to this horrible pacing, plot inconsistencies and a noticeably uneven screenplay – yes, Conan: The Barbarian really doesn't have a lot going for it.

"Conan: The Barbarian really doesn't have a lot going for it."

You would think and pray that interesting characters might save the film, but once again, the film fails to deliver. Whilst the acting itself isn't too bad (taking into consideration the film's internal faults) the real dilemma comes with the extreme lack of character development. This results in the audience not experiencing any sense of emotional connection with the film's characters, leaving you wondering why you haven't left the cinema halfway through. I could probably highlight Rose McGowan’s (Grindhouse) performance as a practitioner of black magic, but that would feel a bit too forced for my tastes.

The cherry on top of this rotting cake is that the film is a complete waste of a 3D ticket, a statement I verified when I took off my 3D glasses and realized I was incapable of noticing any difference.

You really have to be a big fan of the Barbarian man to enjoy this one.

Conan has a lot to be angry about, but cinema goers have even more.

Highlight: I'll admit I got marginally excited when the CGI sand people appeared. I became sad again when I realized I still had to sit through 30 more minutes of this...

Rating: 1-and-a-half out of 5 Meerkat tails.