Conan The Destroyer 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 271, January/February 2024

WSR Score3
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Arrow Video
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Richard Fleischer
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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In "Conan The Destroyer," Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) must protect a beautiful young Princess and use all of his power to defeat the evil foes that stand in his way. Still mourning the death of his beloved Valeria, Conan is given an offer he can't refuse by Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas): he will escort her niece, Princess Jehnna (Olivia d'Abo), on a quest to find a mystical horn that will awaken a slumbering god, in return for Valeria being brought back from the dead. With a new group of companions by his side –– including a fierce warrior woman named Zula (Grace JonesZ) –– Conan must battle an onslaught of evil beasts, wizards and cannibals, little suspecting that the wicked Taramis intends to betray him with the aid of her head guard, Bombaata (Will Chamberlain). (Gary Reber)

Special features include archive commentary by Director Richard Fleischer, archive commentary by Actor Sarah Douglas with genre historians Kim Newman and Stephen Jones, archive commentary by actors Olivia d'Abo and Tracey Walter, new commentary by genre historian Paul M. Sammon, author of "Conan: The Phenomenon"; the featurettes "Casting The Destroyer" new interview with casting director Johanna Ray (HD 05:12), "Dune And The Destroyer" new interview with art director Kevin Phipps (HD 15:23), "Cut From A Different Cloth" new interview with costume designer John Bloomfield (HD 09:10), "Swords, Sorcery & Stunts" new interview with stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong (HD 13:17), "Behind The Destroyer" new interview with John Walshm, author "Conan The Barbarian: the Official History Of The Film" (HD 10:00), "Conan: The Making Of A Comic Book Legend" archive interview with writers Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway (SD 14:06) and "Basil Poledouris: Composing The Conan Saga" (SD 17:17); newly assembled isolated score track in lossless monaural; double-sided fold-out poster; image gallery; theatrical trailers; illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by Walter Chaw and John Walsh and six double-sided collector's postcards.

The 2.35:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision/HDR10 picture, reviewed on a VIZIO Quantum X P85QX-JI UHD/HDR display, was photographed on Eastman film stock in anamorphic J-D-C Scope using the Arriflex 35 BL camera system and sourced from a new 4K Digital Intermediate restoration from the original negative. Film grain is minor and unobjectionable. The overall look of the film is artificial with obvious set designs that do not project realism. Color fidelity exhibits rich and warm hues though at times exaggerated. Primaries are strong. Conan appears far more bronze colorized. Otherwise flesh tones tend to appear natural, at least on some characters. HDR contrast projects solid black levels and revealing shadows. White levels range from natural daylight to a range of interior lighting that appears artificial. This is very much a amateurish TV style production that is far more comedic than Conan The Barbarian. (Gary Reber)

The repurposed and remixed Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack, whose origin are monaural elements, is still monaural focused with a very narrow soundstage for the orchestral score. Also, atmospherics and sound effects are monaural focused. Foley sound effects sound unrealistic. The lack of convincing atmospherics makes for unrealistic sonics. There is no deep bass in the soundtrack. While the surround channels provide envelopment there is no imaging or directionality. Dialogue is virtually all ADR produced with generally poor spatial integration. Fidelity is less impressive compared to Conan The Barbarian's soundtrack.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of an extension of the monaural-sounding orchestral score. While the sonics add a sense of dimensionality, the height layer sounds compressed and non-impactful.

While this is a holosonic® soundtrack, fidelity is poor and the overall impact fails to impart realism. (Gary Reber)