[box cover]

Conan the Barbarian: Collector's Edition

Fans of John Milius's celebrated 1981 fantasy epic Conan the Barbarian have cause to rejoice — Universal, as usual, has done a terrific job of bringing this much-beloved epic to the DVD format, packing the disc with lots of extra goodies and an attention to detail that's truly commendable. Based on the popular 1930s pulp stories by Robert E. Howard, Conan the Barbarian follows the adventures of a slave (Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his first starring role) and his quest to avenge his mother's death by overthrowing the sinister warlord — and snake-cult kingpin — Thulsa Doom (a pleasantly evil James Earl Jones). Although a bit overblown in some places — and showing its age in others — this cult classic has never looked better, and it still has the power to entertain and entrance with its lush cinematography and exciting storyline. Conan the Barbarian is presented in a stunning anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) transfer. Special features include a 60-minute "making-of" featurette, a collection of deleted scenes, a number of theatrical trailers, a special-effects gallery. However, it also has the absolute worst audio commentary track in history (Schwarzenegger and director Milius watch the film, primarily in silence, occasionally interjecting insightful observations like, "Oh, it sure was cold when we shot this scene in the snow-covered mountains." — thanks, guys). Keep case.
—Joe Barlow



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