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Conan The Barbarian (3D/2D) (2011) Print E-mail
Monday, 21 November 2011
Image“Conan The Barbarian” needless to say is a remake of the original cult classic starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I was never really a fan of the original film, and unfortunately the remake doesn’t merit any increase in interest in the series of Conan films.

The film itself lacks a consistent nature.  There are a few riveting moments, but they are far outweighed by the dull and contrived moments of the film.  The events unfold without logic.  I lost count how many times the film bounces from one sequence to another with no logical explanation as to how the characters came by the knowledge.

The plot is a simple revenge story.  Conan longs to take revenge for the death of his father by an unnamed conqueror.  Of course, the information needed to avenge his father’s death falls into his lap many years later.  There are numerous battle sequences with fake blood spraying everywhere.  Unfortunately, the battle sequences consume the nature of the film and there is absolutely nothing left when you take them out of the equation.

Essentially, this film falls flat with no interesting story to tell.

Video (2D - 4.5, 3D - 3)

This Blu-ray release comes in both a 3D and 2D format.  Both are discussed here.  Note: The 3D version is housed on the same disc as the 2D version.  When 3D-capable hardware is detected the 3D version will play.  The 3D version of the film is a post-conversion result.  So it should come as no surprise that the 3D version is about as flat as the film is.  There is virtually no 3D extension from the screen.  Sadly, the depth within the screen is only average.  Therefore the 3D image is very uneventful.  Sure, there are moments in which the 3D can ever so briefly make a name for itself.  Unfortunately they are trounced by a flat image. The problem with the 3D is the result of the time spent in post-conversion and not the technical transfer.  That being said the 2D nature and the technical nature of the 3D version are terrific.  The amount of detail present is raw and exciting.  The hues are accurate to the filmmakers’ intentions.  The film takes on a sepia look, much like that of “300.”  The black levels are incredible and shadows are fully resolved.  There is virtually no artifacting present.  There is only a minor amount of ringing and banding that shouldn’t take a toll on any viewer.  Aside form the intended hues colors are bold in the daytime sequences.  Textures are rough and are nicely complemented by the level of details.  Film grain is minimal and generally consistent.  Toward the end there is a landscape shot that appears with suddenly a lot of noise.  But aside from that the image transfer is very consistent.


If there is anything that can beat the 2D video transfer it is the audio.  It is beyond incredible.  The Blu-ray comes with a 7.1 DTS-HD track that if not native, is one of the best 7.1 upmixes that I have ever heard.  The additional surround back channels provide all the immersion and discrete effects that are needed for a film like this.  You will feel like you are in the middle of the action from beginning to end.  And as if the immersion wasn’t incredible enough, the LFE channel will have you wishing that every audio track were this bombastic.  The LFE channel will deliver you are massage on your couch.  This is a one of a kind LFE experience.  You won’t believe me until you hear it yourself.  The dynamic range is explosive and the score still comes through crystal clean.  The narration by Morgan Freeman is full-bodied and crisp.  All dialogue is intelligible and balanced nicely with the score and effects.  This would be my vote for the best audio track of the year.

Even though two versions of the film are on one disc there are still special features on the disc.  I am amazed at the quality of the video given the two versions, bonus materials and 7.1 lossless audio track.

There are two audio commentaries.  The first is with the director.  The second is with actors Jason Momoa and Rose McGowan.  “The Conan Legacy” discusses the relationship of the film with the original Conan in 1982.  “Robert E. Howard: The Man Who Would Be Conan” briefly looks at the creator.  “Staging The Fights” and “Battle Royale: Engineering The Action” both briefly discuss the visual effects and stunts.  A theatrical trailer is also present.  A second disc that functions as a DVD/Digital Copy is also included.

“Conan The Barbarian” falls flat as a film and 3D post-conversion.  However, the 2D video quality and the 7.1 lossless audio is a sight and aural experience to behold.  The disc is worth it for that reason alone.

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