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Barbarian Movie Review: Werner Herzog’s Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Review: I just watched the new Conan the Barbarian (2011) directed by Marcus Nispel.  It could have been worse, and it could have been better. Here’s a write-up of the Conan movie I actually wanted to see. Without further ado, I give you: Werner Herzog’s Conan the Barbarian (2011).

The movie opens with a voice-over by Isabella Rossellini. “The legends tell us that before the lands of time parted the red sea of space, in a world where money was made out of lava and chickens had fangs, the gods made a bet with themselves that someday a movie would be made with dubbed Italian actors in loincloths and somehow it would sweep the Academy Awards. The forger-god Klügmân knew it would take powerful magic indeed, and he bottled the necessary magic forces into a Golden Statuette and hid it deep within the bowels of the earth. The gods fought, and man was created in this war. As mankind developed he learned the basic arts of civilization: irrigation, mining, and roads. The story of Klügmân’s Golden Statuette was foretold in prophecies by magical fortune-telling witch soothsayers in leather bondage gear. And so, man began the hunt for this magical talisman, and many nations would perish before the end of this pointlessly overwrought exposition.”

The emblem of the evil Parakeet Cult

We move to a shot of the villain, Thoth Magumbo (Edward G. Robinson) and his drooling mutant henchman Gary (Michael Berryman), leaders of the evil Parakeet Cult, who peer into a cauldron and discover that the Golden Statuette has been unearthed by the Sumerians. Their inability to spell leads them to prepare a massive army to take the Golden Statuette from the Cimmerians. As Thoth Magumbo explains: “What we’re gonna do, see, is we’re gonna attack ’em, see, and we’re gonna take away that statue, nyah? Yeah, that’s what we’re gonna do, see?”

Edward G. Robinson and Michael Berryman in Werner Herzog's Conan the Barbarian

Edward G. Robinson (right) and Michael Berryman in Werner Herzog's Conan the Barbarian

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