Conan The Barbarian (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-01-2011, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=218828&d=1312128740
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

77






Studio and Year: Universal - 1982
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 129 minutes
Genre: Action/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Sandahl Bergman, Gerry Lopez Ben Davidson, Cassandra Gaviloa, Mako, Valerie Quennessen, William Smith, Max Von Sydow
Directed by: John Milius
Music by: Basil Poledouris
Written by: John Milius & Oliver Stone
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 2, 2011







"The Warrior Gladiator King"



Film Synopsis:

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in the original action-packed epic adventure Conan the Barbarian. Following his parents' savage murder, young Conan (Schwarzenegger) is captured by the cold-blooded Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and spends the next fifteen years enslaved. Unwilling to all his brutal fate to conquer him, Conan builds an incomparable body and an indomitable spiritboth of which he needs when he suddenly finds himself a free man. Aided by his new found companions, Subotai the Mongol and Valeria, Queen of Thieves, Conan sets out to finally take revenge on the warlord who killed his family.






My Take:

Through the history of mankind, the times that are most recorded in mythology and song are those of the great deeds and fantastic adventures. Such a time was the Hyborean Age. Such a tale is the story of "Conan The Barbarian."
Cimmeran Conan is captured as a child after his parents' savage murder by raiding Vanir led by Thulsa Doom, head of the snake-cult of Set. After fifteen years of agony, first chained to the Wheel OF Pain grinding grain and then enslaved as a pit fighter, Conan forges a powerful body and indomitable spirit. Miraculously freed one day by his owner, Conan, along with his trusted companion Suboti the Mongol and new found love, Valeria, Queen of Thieves, sets forth upon his quest to learn "the riddle of steel" which, his father has prophesied, will confer ultimate power; and to kill the arch-villian Thulsa Doom.

I used to love watching the 80's sword and sorcery films on cable TV back in the day. I don't recall whether I knew who Arnold Schwarzenegger was prior to seeing Conan The Barbarian but I remember liking him and this film right from the start. It featured a blend of known acting talent, new faces (playing the primary three characters) and a decent story that hit the genre high points. Watching it today Conan is noticeably dated, but it still manages to resonate thanks to a simple but well crafted narrative that contains timeless elements of redemption, adventure, devotion and brutal action melded with nostalgia inducing fantasy, special effects and requisite adult content. I absolutely love Basil Poledouris' music score. I was an avid weightlifter back then and we used to work out to a mix of music that included Anvil of Crom. Conan The Barbarian is far from award winning cinema but I thoroughly enjoy it for what it is. It was followed up by a sequel, Conan The Destroyer, but that failed to live up to this one. I have never considered Arnold Schwarzenegger to be a quality actor but like others in his class he found a way to play to his strengths with this film serving as the catalyst that spring boarded him to stardom in Hollywood. I thoroughly enjoyed this revisit and am happy to add Conan The Barbarian to my Blu-ray collection.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence, sexual content, nudity and disturbing images.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 78



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 76


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Conan The Barbarian comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 Mbps.

This newly re-mastered presentation features an uneven and grainy aesthetic that sometimes leaves it lacking continuity and revealing high definition clarity. Brighter sequences tend to fair the best and offer discernible levels of delineation and dimension. Contrast and dynamic range fluctuate a bit but this seems innate to the original photography. Blacks are deep but mildly crushed which presents them as flat and lacking in gradational depth. Dark scenes and backgrounds suffer the same fate as details tend to be barely distinguishable. Colors and fleshtones generally look natural with clean rendering throughout the limited range used in the film. I noticed a few noisy backgrounds, intermittent but less than egregiously applied noise reduction and minor edge enhancement, none of which adds up to serious problems. It may not be perfect but I can't say that I have ever seen Conan look better on home video.

The lossless DTS-HD MA encoding makes the most of the elements present in this soundtrack which in my opinion sounds dated. The active elements in the recording don't have the feeling of authority and quantifiable dynamics that you find with today's digital soundtracks but that is to be expected. The surround mix imparts a fair level of extension however the majority of the time the presentation retains a front oriented perspective. The star of the show is Basil Poledouris' rousing and memorable music score which sounds a cut above the soundtrack's remaining elements. Low frequency effects are present in the mix but don't deliver bass response that engages the room or senses. I would liked to have seen a little more attention given to broadening the soundstage. Overall I think that this presentation remains faithful, avoids sounding artificial, and improves upon its lossy counterparts.



Bonus Features:


  • Feature commentary by director John Milius and Arnold Schwarzenegger

  • 6 deleted scenes totaling 5 minutes

  • Conan unchained: The making of Conan The Barbarian - 53 minute documentary

  • (HD) Art of steel: sword makers and masters - 14 minute featurette

  • (HD) Conan: From the vault - 10 minute feature comprised of rediscovered footage/interviews from the production

  • Special effects - comparative (1 minute)

  • The Conan archives - 11 minute stills gallery

  • 2 theatrical trailers

  • My Scenes bookmark feature

  • D-Box Motion Code enabled

  • Pocket Blu - App for iPOD/iPHONE

  • BD-Live enabled




Final Thoughts:

Conan The Barbarian is a 1980's sword and sorcery epic loosely based on the character/stories by Robert E. Howard. Co-written by Oliver Stone and John Milius (who also directed) it epitomizes the genre films of its period and holds up quite nicely after nearly 30 years. I am glad to report that it comes to Blu-ray featuring satisfying high definition video quality and crystal clear lossless sound that wonderfully showcases Basil Poledouris' marvelous music score. The bonus material is comprised of archival footage, a making of documentary, two new/exclusive featurettes, deleted scenes and a feature length commentary that offers insights into the film's production. As a fan I am happy to add this solid offering from Universal Studios Home Entertainment to my Blu-ray collection and recommend you do the same.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 20 Old 08-01-2011, 11:12 AM
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So it is not the extended edition. Too bad.

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post #3 of 20 Old 08-01-2011, 02:37 PM
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My favorite line from the movie:

Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?
Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.
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post #4 of 20 Old 08-01-2011, 03:49 PM
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This movie has one of the most amazing score I have ever heard. Just mesmerizing I wish they come up with an option that you can watch the movie just with the score as the CD is so hard to find.
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post #5 of 20 Old 08-01-2011, 03:58 PM
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I feel like i'm getting older and older and older AND older everytime Ralph reviews a film like this. This movie is 30yrs old!?! Are you sure? LOL!

Decent movie. Special effects back in those days not were't very special. lol I'm referring to the James Earl Jones scene. lol
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post #6 of 20 Old 08-03-2011, 10:41 AM
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One of my all time favorites and it is an improvement. I am not disappointed at all.

Please, Dumb It Down For Me.
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post #7 of 20 Old 08-05-2011, 07:32 AM
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Wow - that sucks. If they can't get the sound right (and especially this classic score) that pretty much negates any reason to purchase this BD. Plus the cover artwork shows a complete lack of attention to this product. Look into the Blu-ray Custom Cover Art thread here at AVS for the real deal.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...7#post20787087

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post #8 of 20 Old 08-05-2011, 09:07 AM
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I didn't care about the score in the past but I know the score was re-recorded in 2010 in Prague but not completely. Could it be that the old score has been replaced by the new score for the BD remastering?
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post #9 of 20 Old 08-05-2011, 12:09 PM
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I saw this in the theater when it came out and didn't care for it. Since then, I've caught bits and pieces on tv and still have the same opinion. I was a big fan of the comic and Arnold at the time but the movie was so lacking in action and Arnold's horrible acting - he was nothing like the wise-cracking Cimmerian from the comic book - that I was disappointed in it. His childhood as a slave is totally fabricated too. That never happened in the comics or books...I actually like the second one better.
Ralph, I have to question how you could have been an avid bodybuilder and not heard of Arnold?! He was pretty much the face of bodybuilding back then. I started lifting weights a few years prior to the release of this movie and everyone knew of Arnold. He was the most well-known bodybuilder around - except for maybe Ferrigno - at the time, and probably still is. It's the only reason he got the role of Conan.
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post #10 of 20 Old 08-05-2011, 12:43 PM
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^^^ +1

Always seemed like little more than a B movie to me. Would have been a bit better if Arnold didn't have any lines at all.
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post #11 of 20 Old 08-06-2011, 08:16 AM
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I had this line on my answering machine at one time: "I'm not in right now because I am crushing my enemies, watching them driven before me, and listening to the lamentation of their women."
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post #12 of 20 Old 08-06-2011, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busa View Post

Ralph, I have to question how you could have been an avid bodybuilder and not heard of Arnold?! He was pretty much the face of bodybuilding back then. I started lifting weights a few years prior to the release of this movie and everyone knew of Arnold. He was the most well-known bodybuilder around - except for maybe Ferrigno - at the time, and probably still is. It's the only reason he got the role of Conan.

Greetings,

I was 17 years old and worked out to build strength and flexibility for sports. I didn't follow bodybuilding the sport until a little later. By then Arnold's time as a professional had passed.

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post #13 of 20 Old 08-06-2011, 02:35 PM
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The (anonymous) reviewer over at the Blu-ray.com website missed many of the points you are making in this thread.

Quote:
Not all of the orchestration is as crisp or precise as modern filmfans are used to, but for an early '80s production, the bellowing horn flurries and beating war drums that invade the soundscape are mercilessly precise.
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Conan-...Blu-ray/23286/

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post #14 of 20 Old 08-06-2011, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NagysAudio View Post

I can now confirm another glaring mistake on Conan the Barbarian Blu-Ray. At 25 minutes into the film, the night filter is completely missing!!!! What should have been an almost night time (like on DVD), it's now a bright day.

This Blu-Ray release is a complete botch job. What kind of idiots worked on it? If this does not warrant a recall, then I don't know what does!

Ralph, is there any way that you can include all of the problems in your review? This film has been completely messed up. If all of the reviews are going to overlook these major problems, then Universal will never care to fix it.

Greetings,

I went back and watched these sequences. Quite frankly I am not intimately familiar with the score and can't comment regarding where the chorus should be and is now missing etc. Sorry.

I watched the sequence at the 25 minute mark. The transition from the nighttime shot where Conan is freed to where he is running from the wild dogs goes from dark to dawn/twilight to daylight and looks fine.

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post #15 of 20 Old 08-06-2011, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post
^^^ +1

Always seemed like little more than a B movie to me. Would have been a bit better if Arnold didn't have any lines at all.
True except for: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women."

amen. and pass da butter

best move for Universal-Stop transferring, mastering.If not for the sake of the films, do it for our planet.-Harris;
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post #16 of 20 Old 08-14-2011, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

5 for dialogue on a Schwarzenegger movie? I see you're using a sliding scale...
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post #17 of 20 Old 08-16-2011, 07:52 AM
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I added my voice to the calls for correction, and Universal responded with this reply, which is slightly different than the one NagysAudio received - and a bit discouraging:

Quote:


Hello,

Thank you for contacting us regarding our recent Blu-ray release of "Conan the Barbarian." We have forwarded your comments to the appropriate department.

No plans have been announced for any other version of this release.

Again, thank you.

Sincerely,

Consumer Relations
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT

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post #18 of 20 Old 09-08-2011, 03:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NagysAudio View Post

I've received an email response from Universal Studios. Please keep sending them complaint emails, it's the only way that they'll listen: http://www.universalstudiosentertain...contact-us.php
I will keep everyone updated as I get more information. Here is their response:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting us.

We are looking into the matter that you reported, and we'll be back in touch as soon as we have information for you.

We appreciate your patronage and hope that you will continue to enjoy our releases.

Sincerely,

Consumer Relations
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Knowing a little bit about soundtracks were recorded back then I doubt that a lot of the elements in the soundtrack that you find missing were actually laid down as seperate mixable tracks so I find this a little difficult to believe.

I have not seen the BD yet though as I'm currently all over the place currently supervising about 15 films.

digital film janitor
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post #19 of 20 Old 09-01-2013, 06:08 PM
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Does anyone know if the Blu-ray has been updated in the stores or if there was a customer main-in and trade disc program? I bought this disc a few years back and was pissed about the soundtrack changes. The score was what made me fall in love with the movie and it was completely ruined as others had mentioned.

Any fix??
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post #20 of 20 Old 09-01-2013, 07:40 PM
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By the way, the video has sick edge enhancement too. It's disgusting how much it has. I just finished watching the first hour of it. Totally unacceptable release. I wasted my cash on this one.
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