Saturday, November 17, 2007


I haven't seen a review of Beowulf from a person whose taste I know, and I can't figure out from Rotten Tomatoes whether it's going to be worthwhile.

I am fascinated, though, by the 3-star review from Roger Ebert (via RT):


BY ROGER EBERT / November 15, 2007

In the name of the mighty Odin, what this movie needs is an audience that knows how to laugh. Laugh, I tell you, laugh! Has the spirit of irony been lost in the land? By all the gods, if it were not for this blasted infirmity that the Fates have dealt me, you would have heard from me such thunderous roars as to shake the very Navy Pier itself down to its pillars in the clay.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't expect much. It's verrrry bad.

Spoilers follow.

First, I expected some diversion from the poem, but making Beowulf a semi-villain? Instead of killing Grendel's mother, he is seduced by her meaning that she gives birth to another child, which is of course the dragon at the end. I get that having Wiglaf along the whole time makes it easier for the movie, but Wiglaf's role is to emphasize how men are supposed to behave, not by also being seduced by Grendel's mother. Oh, did I mention that she never dies?

Second, many of the touches that they tried to add that could be really good were poorly executed. The idea of having the monsters speak a combination of Old and Modern English had potential. However, they were exceedingly hard to understand. When I saw the original cast list I was excited to see the names of Cain and Finn, thinking they would mention these parts of the poem. Cain was the slave constantly abused by Unferth, and Finn was just some guy that Beowulf defeated and let go.

Third, the movie is often over the top when that is not needed. Why did Beowulf have to be completely naked to fight Grendel? Yes, he's supposed to divest himself of his weapons and armor, and I'm good with most of the clothes, but the need for the CGI to constantly be conveniently placed was annoying and distracting. I really also did not need to see Hrothgar in a loose-fitting very revealing toga. The drinking and initial portrayal of Heorot, Hrothgar, and his thegns are almost exactly like what the poem Judith descibes is the hall of Holofernes, which is intentionally described as being improper to show that Holofernes is a bad lord.

I could, can, and will go on. It was a bad movie made worse by my knowledge of the poem and the culture, neither of which were presented accurately. They could not even pronounce the language correctly (it is pronounced "shop," not "skop")

I'm glad I went to the matinee.


1:43 PM  
Anonymous Kyle said...

I have not seen this movie, but going by Angelina Jolie campy Transylvanian accent (Alexander, anyone?) I am going to give this one a miss, until it pops up on cable.

Beowulf and Grendel, now that's a movie worth seeing.

8:40 PM  

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