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Beowulf (2007) PG-13 113min

November 16th, 2007 by Maxim · 2 Comments · 7,153 Views


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beowulf-poster.jpgJust came out of the theatre. Saw it in both regular and 3D. This movie should only be seen in 3D! Completely different experience.

The plot is based on the only known surviving Anglo-Saxon poetry manuscript about a warrior Beowulf, hero of Geats (a.k.a. Goths, Swedes)  in 6th century A.D. who defeated three antagonists: the demon named Grendel who was terrorising a Danish mead hall called Heorot and its inhabitants; Grendel’s mother who began killing people in revenge, and later in life after returning to Geatland (Sweden) and becoming a king, a dragon. He was mortally wounded in the battle.

Robert Zemekis directed this animated version of the poem. Wow, where can I start? The story is sort-of following the poem, but it’s a funnier and more sexed up version with nice action sequences. There were no jokes except public urination, the partial public exposure when Beowulf (Ray Winstone) is fighting the monster naked (the monster doesn’t have any weapons, so the real hero must fight him like equal – without clothes and weapons, get it?), but there’s always some object blocking his family jewels from view. That joke was repeated countless number of times, funny every time. Second joke was when Angelina Jolie-like Grendel’s mother surfaced from the water – also naked, and camera panned down from her head to her toes. There were 5-7 year olds in the theater who had no idea what a woman might look like (even animated woman) and giggled. These one or two children’s giggles sparked the whole audience to laugh at it – best part of the movie experience. Oh, and she also had high heals – anatomically. That is, part of her body. Hilarious. There was also a horny booby-girl who was trying to pick up one of the vikings, part of Beowulf’s crew.

Animation. First of all, I hated Zemekis’s motion capture technology he first tried on Polar Express, but this time it was a lot more entertaining. Golum in LOTR was also motion-capture animated, but it stands on it’s own. In 2D all characters look like plastic or clay. The movement, for the most part, especially during horse riding – unnatural to say the least - rather unsettling and distracting. The benefit of the technology, I suppose, that the company can produce both versions of the movie, 2D and stereo, at the same time. Again, the 3D experience was far superior. To have stuff fly out of the screen into your face! Because of these effects, sometimes it felt like it’s raining inside the theatre when it was raining on the screen. Angelina Jolie character was seductive in a way (hey, Zemekis had to convince us that one even Beowulf could not resist her using animated characters), but she spun around Beowulf in the seduction sequence about 100 times too many. Thanks got she wasn’t spinning around her next victim in the final scene.

Acting. The best-animated character was the old king Hrothgar – the voice and likeness of Sir Anthony Hopkins (my favorite actor). Other then him, all characters were interesting and were excellently cast. Robin Wright Penn, Sebastian Roche, John Malkovich, Angelina Jolie, Chris Coppola and others gave animated characters their likeness and their beautiful voices. It would be really nice to have an audio-book (obviously, narrated by Morgan Freeman) and their voices on it. Great performances!

Action. The fighting sequences were ala “300″ – stabbing in the eye, gushing blood, broken bones, dismemberment, grunting of the warriors.

Characters and message. All characters were interesting. Beowulf was self-involved glory-seeking fantasizer. Movie’s tag line: “Pride is a curse”. Oh, and men are so easy to seduce, obviously.

Random thoughts. The poem, and the movie, capture the conversion of Europe to Christianity. In the film the transition from old Gothic and Celtic gods to Christianity was satirical. Kids loved it and were interested throughout the nearly two-hour movie.

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Rated 4/5 on Nov 16 2007
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Tags: Adventure · Animation · Drama · Fantasy · Movies

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Larry M. Lynch // Jan 28, 2008 at 8:42 pm

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    Why not really get the full experience and read the book? There are several good modernized English versions you can read straightforward. Your enjoyment and understanding of the film will be enhanced by reading the epic saga, “BEOWULF”.

  • 2 Hot New DVD and Blu-Ray Releases this week (July 29, 2008) | Maxim's Movie Reviews and Opinions Blog // Jul 27, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    [...] Jolie as Grendel’s tormented mother, John Malkovich as Unferth and Ray Winstone as Beowulf. [Maxim's Review] | Blu-Ray | DVD | HD-DVD | Sound [...]

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