A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this extremely violent sword-and-sorcery tale -- which was inspired by Robert E. Howard's 1930s pulp stories, as well as 1970s comic books and two Arnold Schwarzenegger movies from the 1980s -- is in no way a kid-friendly comic book adaptation. There's tons of gruesome blood and gore, including severed heads and body parts, stabbings, bashings, slayings, violence aimed at women and children (including an unborn baby), and many other brutal acts, all of which are even more intense when seen in the movie's 3D version. Conan is motivated by revenge and relies on all of this violence to solve his problems. Women in general are treated like props; several are shown topless for long moments, and there's what amounts to a softcore sex scene. Language is infrequent but includes one use of "s--t," and the heroes drink something alcoholic (mead?) when celebrating.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the Hyborian age of swords and sorcery, Conan is born during a bloody battle. As a boy, his village is slaughtered by the evil Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang), whose goal is to collect all the pieces of a powerful mask. Years later, when Conan has grown into a man (Jason Momoa), he seeks his revenge. Meanwhile, Khalar Zym and his sorceress daughter (Rose McGowan) are hunting for a "pureblood," Tamara (Rachel Nichols), whom they need to help them complete a terrifying ritual. Can Conan find and stop the bad guy and rescue the girl before it's too late?
Is it any good?
Directed by Marcus Nispel, this movie (which would be more aptly named Gron-an the Barbarian) is terrible, terrible, terrible. It starts with stale dialogue, which is delivered badly by all the actors. (Momoa tries for a steely gaze, but he winds up with a silly leer.) The lazy, ridiculous story would have been rejected by the pulps. The action sequences are clunky and incomprehensible, not to mention poorly paced, and the 3D effects are like flat images in a pop-up book.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence. Is it shocking? Why did the filmmakers choose to go over the top? What makes it more extreme than what you see in other fantasy/action movies?
Is Conan a role model? What positive traits does he show? What negative ones? Are viewers intended to admire him?
If you've seen earlier Conan movies, how does this one compare? Is it more extreme? Why do you think that is? Is it the filmmaker's decision or a reflection of how culture has changed?
- In theaters: August 19, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: November 22, 2011
- Cast: Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Ron Perlman
- Director: Marcus Nispel
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, some sexuality and nudity
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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