Conan the Barbarian is a 2011 film featuring Conan of Cimmeria, the classic Barbarian Hero created by Pulp Fiction writer Robert E. Howard. It stars JasonMomoa as Conan, Rachel Nichols as the Love Interest Tamara, and Stephen Lang and Rose McGowan as the villains Khalar Zym and Marique. It is directed by MarcusNispel.It is a Continuity Reboot of the Conan film franchise, again revisiting his Origin Story, though it takes a fair few elements from the firsttwo Conan films which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. On the other hand, the movie retains many quintessential elements of a good Conan story: a Distressed Damsel, an Evil Sorceress, an Evil Overlord, even an Artifact of Doom for everyone to quarrel over. Of course, true to its pulp origins, the movie has a lot of blood and some nudity and is extremely sword and sorcery.Set in the distant past of the Hyborian Age, the story revolves around the Mask of Acheron, a Cool Mask made of the bones of kings, which in the even more distant past let the necromancers of Acheron take over the world - except for the barbarian tribes who combined to overthrow their empire. The mask was broken into many pieces and scattered across the lands. As is to be expected, a warlord named Khalar Zym tries to gather all the pieces and reassemble the mask, in order to bring his late wife Back from the Dead and to conquer the whole world. In the process, he tortures and kills Conan's father and burns down his hometown. Conan survives to become a vagabond warrior and thief, but swears to get his revenge one day.Years later, Khalar Zym has completed the Mask and now seeks the last pure-blooded descendant of the Acheron rulers to sacrifice, in order to unleash the Mask's power. He and his Mooks again cross paths with Conan, who resolves to oppose them. In the course of events he runs into a female monk named Tamara, the very person Khalar Zym seeks...Unfortunately, the film was a Box Office Bomb, only earning less than $49 million worldwide with a $90 million budget. The next Conan film, should it ever escape from Development Hell, will star Arnold Schwarzenegger again. Its tentative title is The Legend of Conan, and it's supposed to be a sequel to the first film alone.
Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The monastery of Shaipur. The monks (or at least their leader) can predict future and presumably spend the majority of their time studying, when everyone around them is busy with butchering each other.
Ancient Africa: Where else would Artus come from? One of the tribes in service to Khalar Zym appears to come from here as well. One such warrior, Ukafa, even wields a two-handed version of a khopesh, the traditional sword of ancient Egypt.
Annoying Arrows: Conan's father is shot by an arrow from behind, on his lower-left side. He doesn't go down, but it provides a crucial distraction for another solider to punch him in the face.
Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Conan cuts the head off a prison guard, then holds it up to the viewing-hatch of a torture chamber's heavy wooden door. The torturer recognizes the face as a fellow guard, answers the knock, and gets belted with a severed head for his trouble.
Cool Sword: As a part of Conan's backstory. We not only get the claymore looking Cimmerian sword, we get the sword that Conan's dad forges specifically for him. Aside from Conan, Khalar Zym wields a scimitar with 2 blades that are hinged so that one blade can be swung outward or even separated to form a second sword. Several other swords of a sort uncommonly appearing in film are used by various other warriors, such as Ukafa's two-handed khopesh and Artus' falcata.
Double Weapon/Bifurcated Weapon: Khalar Zym has two swords connected by a hinge at the hilt. They can lock together to form a single sword with two blades, but can also separate in combat for unexpected attacks.
Eldritch Abomination: Khalar Zym keeps a creature called the Dweller in a flooded dungeon. We don't see much of what it looks like, but it has finger-tipped tentacles.
Even Evil Has Standards: Marique says that she can unlock the Acheronian magic and rule by her father's side just as well as his wife once did, trying to seduce him with Villainous Incest. Khalar Zym considers how much she is like her dead mother and teases her lips, only to reject her.
Everything Breaks: The only wood that grows in Hyboria is balsa; they make bridges, walls, benches, ships, and more bridges out of the stuff. Likewise, the only material to make chains is apparently candle wax.
Eye of Newt: Marique needs blood to perform some of her magic. Also, her outfit is rather terrifying - one may wonder whether it's just a matter of personal style or, somehow, a necessity for every witch. The latter option is made even more probable by the fact that her mother used to dress in a very similar way... Then again, Marique clearly has some issues.
Fruit Cart: They don't have cars so they roll boulders downhill.
Groin Attack: Conan does this twice - first to a character who was a minor nuisance, and again to one of Khalar Zym's mooks near the end (a mook who conveniently had helped destroy Conan's village & people - Laser-Guided Karma indeed).
The "Riddle of Steel" from the first film (steel, i.e. a sword, is only as strong as the one who wields it) is given a nod when Conan's father tells him "the mystery of steel" - both fire and ice are needed to forge steel into a usable blade. Similarly, a warrior must balance both the "fire" and "ice" within him.
To Howard's original stories. For example, just after a Bar Brawl Artus alludes to the story told by Howard in "The Tower of the Elephant". (Which would probably make even more sense if the city of thieves was not renamed from Arenjun to Argalon.)
"Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content."
Like the first Arnold film (which in turn took it from the first ever Conan story, The Phoenix on the Sword), the film opens with narration explaining the Hyborian Age, with very similar opening lines. However, the subplot of the Mask of Acheron is new.
Between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world...
Conan's red-brown war skirt is very similar to his outfit in Conan comics published by Dark Horse Comics, particularly in the miniseries Born on the Battlefield.
Pregnant Badass: Conan's mom. She gives him birth on a battle chariot, immediately after slaying one of her enemies, sword in hand, armoured and all. The Caesarean cut is done by the father with his sword, no less - so that a sword is the first thing seen by Conan outside of his mother's womb.
Race Lift: Conan is best known as being portrayed by a Caucasian (Austrian) actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the 2011 film, however, he is played by Jason Momoa, a multiracial actor of Native Hawaiian, German, Irish and Native American descent.
According to Howard's "The Hyborian Age", the Irish and Scottish are direct descendants of the Cimmerians, while the Germanic peoples are of mixed Aesir, Vanir and Cimmerian descent. Make of that what you will.
Howard's writings and physical description of our protagonist also implied that Conan had reasonably dark skin, most likely a heavy tan from being out in the sun traveling so much.
Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Cimerrian women are warriors and dress like it. Conan remarks that Tamara looks like a whore when he sees her in a dress and has the pirate crew get her some leather armor, apparently as a sign of respect.
Truer To The Text: Despite also having a Doomed Hometown, Momoa's Conan doesn't grow up a slave like Arnold's Conan. (Arnold's Conan was trained to be an expert fighter in the ring, while Howard's idea was that Conan became an expert fighter through sheer hard living as a wanderer - on the streets, as a mercenary, etc.) He's also much more of a Lightning Bruiser than Arnold's Conan.
Virgin Sacrifice: Conan has sex with the potential sacrifice before she's captured, yet it apparently makes no difference despite it being stated earlier that the sacrifice must be both of pure blood and a virgin.