"Conan Meets The Flower Children of Set” might have been a better name for the film —and if there is any resemblance between the cinema version of CONAN THE BARBARIAN and that of Robert E. Howard, it is purely coincidental. The disappointment which began to grow inside me about one-quarter of the way into the film was not mitigated by anything which happened later on. In fact, bad became worse. I refuse to become involved in even a brief synopsis of the movie’s story line. The armor was good; the weapons less so, but passable. The muscular Arnold Schwarzennegger made a fine Conan, except —as all Conan fans know — the Cimmerian has black hair, not brown. More important, Conan can take out any opponent, even a muscular dude with a huge wooden maul. He doesn’t need to resort to cheap mechanical traps versus anything less than the incarnation of a god, demon, or worse. If you like special effects, the film is passable. If you have any respect for Conan as presented by Howard, then I suggest that you stay away from the theater or else be prepared for great disappointment. Pointless, excessive violence and gratuitous helpings of sex certainly don’t help allay this impression. Director Dino De Laurentiis has a way of screwing up basically good material, as he did with his remake of King Kong. He really did a number on CONAN THE BARBARIAN, and L. Sprague de Camp should have been ashamed to allow his name to appear in the list of credits as “Technical Advisor.”
Stolen from RPG.net, Gygax's review was originally published in Dragon Magazine.
Just so you know every time you complain that "they've ruined it!"...nothing ever changes.
Oh, and here's the trailer for the new movie, just in case. At the moment I'm thinking it has an about 60% chance of sucking hard, 20% chance of sucking, 19% chance of being decent and 1% chance of being good. My assessment is mostly based on the fact that the director is also responsible for this, which means he's perfectly capable of making a good-looking, action-promising movie stilted and dull. But you know, we'll see.