Beowulf (the movie): A Review

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We went to see Beowulf last night. Many liberties were taken with the original story – but as i am not a huge fan of the tale, this didn’t bother me much at all. I liked the rewrite of the curse to make it more… humane? I liked the character development which just isn’t there in the poem. I liked the bawdy jokes and the humour.

There were aspects of the movie, however, which i did not like. For one, i don’t think the animation did anything for it at all. In fact, it made the whole “and his name will be known forever” bit less understandable for those of the audience who were unaware that Beowulf, like the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Aeneid, are stories still told today and, for the former two, believed to be based loosely on real people. Heroes are difficult for us to swallow – somehow depicting them in animation turns them into myth rather than legend and i think much of the plot in Beowulf needs to be legend for it to be at all believable.

I missed the sword, even though i found the sword irritating when i read Beowulf. It was all the book seemed to be about… i had been looking forward to this massive, gleaming, phallic symbol… and was disappointed. Sniff.

I also commend the writers for their attempt at integrating the “christianization of the north” narrative into the storyline – but you didn’t make it clear what was going on. Everyone in the theatre appeared to scoff at the lines about Christ because (a) you didn’t make it clear that this story is based on a poem from the middle ages about the period when the North is being christianized and (b) you didn’t develop the theme in your own re-write at all.

I liked the character of the wise Queen. I think she made the movie more palatable to a female audience. Even a contemporary male audience. It’s difficult to empathize with a hero.

We saw it in 3D. I had never seen a movie in 3D before. It wasn’t worth the extra $5.

I would have liked to have seen real actors attacked by CGI dragons. Real blood and gore… a real Angelina Joli bringing sexy back… LOL.

I wouldn’t recommend going to see it on a full-price night, nor if you are particularly devoted to the written version, but as far as adaptations go – it’s an interesting one. And, if you do go, let me know what you think of the rendition of Grendel… i think they could have done better, but i don’t have any brilliant suggestions as to how.

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