May 27, 2013
The Cinematic Release.
Unlike most people, I thought the theatrical release wasn't so bad. I enjoyed it enough that after seeing it in theatres (3D, for $20) I was still happy to spring for the blu-ray. It wasn't a cinematic masterpiece, but it was a pretty good sword and sorcery movie, and I think Momoa did a better job as Conan than Schwarzenegger did. I think it would have been better had they adapted one of the better stories rather than making something up.
The fanedit makes the film significantly more pulpy. It cuts out a lot of the extraneous garbage, and what's left is a leaner, better, action movie. Quite good. Taking the audio and some soundclips from the old movies was an excellent decision. The quite forgettable soundtrack was replaced with one that was worlds better. I didn't notice the lighting changes from the original, but everything flowed quite well, and that's the sort of thing you only notice if it's done poorly.
The tentacle monster scene with Isla Shann should be cut. I get the nostalgia factor - and yes, it's a Conan movie, so giant snakes. But it's not a giant snake, and it doesn't add anything meaningful to the film. I would have preferred to see it get cut, and a bit more of the fight/dialogue between Conan and Kalahr get added back in.
I also think that the bit of perverse daughter hits on father and gets rejected in the cinematic movie added something interesting there. It made the bad guys a bit more 3 dimensional.
Is it better than the cinematic release? Yes.
Could it be further tightened up/improved if the editor released a version 2? Yes.
Is it currently a good, watchable S&S film? Absolutely.