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This review is from: Conan the Barbarian  [DVD] (DVD)
Most things beloved of your childhood are rarely as captivating when viewed once more through adult eyes. I remember sneaking out of my bedroom late at night to watch this film, and being bowled over by its fantastical world. It inspired me to track down the original Howard short stories, and set a young boy on a path to, well, an unfashionable love of fantasy in general.
So I had some misgivings in approaching this film on DVD, especially given its lead star. What I found was a film that has survived extraordinarily well over the years, and in fact delivers as much for the adult as it did for the child. The story, whilst a condensation of Howard's writings, does well to capture the spirit of his heroic tales, leading you through some fantastical landscapes that come alive in simply stunning cinematography . The cast is solid, and Arnie is every inch the wild barbarian, all strength and instinct. The film uses special effects sparingly, and so has kept most of its imaginative power. Finally, the score by Basil Poledouris is probably one of the most fitting I have heard, and well worth buying separately on CD.
Fantasy films are rarely great works of cinema, but Conan is perhaps better appreciated now it has gained some distance from its source material and its monosyllabic star. It really is a work of art. This DVD release too is a real treat, with a great transfer and soundtrack (although why is the music in mono?). Give it a try, by Crom.