|Beowulf (HD DVD, 2008) YOU NEED A HD DVD PLAYER TO WATCH THIS DVD|
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|Beowulf (Director's Cut) [HD DVD], Good DVD, Sonje Fortag, Brice Martin, Rod D.|
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Average review score based on 119 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
The medieval tale was adapted for the screen by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avery, and no doubt it bears little resemblance to the text you studied in high school. So the story goes, King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) and his people are being terrorized by the horrific monster Grendel (Crispin Glover). Hrothgar puts out a call to any brave man who can come and slay the monster. Enter Beowulf (Ray Winstone) and his brave band of soldiers. Beowulf is a mighty warrior, and he quickly dispatches Grendel, but in doing so he enrages Grendel's mother--played here by an extremely sexy and serpentine Angelina Jolie. Beowulf journeys out to lay waste to Grendel's mother as well, but soon finds his resolve tested by great temptation. His choice ultimately brings about a new curse--one far worse than Grendel--and he must live with regret, until the day finally comes when he is given a chance for redemption
The legend of Beowulf and Grendel has been explored before in films like "the 13th Warrior". Similar to 13th Warrior, this version tries to keep a certain realism feeling to a folklore legend.
Grendel has a reason to kill in this movie, a story of loss and vengeance. You can almost feel pitty for the monster, quite different from the original tale.
The strong aspect of the movie is the landscape. I was completely amazed by the photography and beauty of the scandinavian lands. They had many troubles shooting during rainy and frozen days, but the end-result is unique.
Grendel is portrayed as a Troll, a half-human, half-monster creature. Grendel himself lacks the presence of the real thing. Although the acting is good, it fails to transmit the horrible creature from the legend. Grendel was huge, not just a strong/tall man.
Also, the costumes used to portray Grendel and his father, have some issues. You can notice arm-cloth wrinkles and that reveals that it's just a costume and not "real skin". Perhaps using a WWW wrestler would be a better idea? (for real-life muscle) Instead they used an actor that lacked the real-life physics to portray the beast (then again, no human could faithfully portray it).
The story lacks rythm. Grendel attacks, Beowulf comes and waits for him in the night, several times. It's a back and forward game before the last encounter and you will notice a slowdown in action towards the middle of the movie, gaining pace again in the end.
Although filmed in scandinavia, the "great hall" of king Hrothgar is a joke. It seems more like a big hut than anything else. Also, where are the other's people houses? This is the only house you will see in Hrothgar village, quite strange (i wonder if they only had permission to build that house in a protected area???). In the legend the hall was huge, so huge that it defied the gods and Grendel's attacks were believed to be a punishment for the Danes vanity.
Gerard Butler fits Beowulf perfectly. He has the looks, the build and the strong presence to portray the hero. Unfortunately the story doesnt do him justice and you will get a sense of "unfinished" in the end of the movie.
One curious detail i noticed were the horses. They actually used scandinavian horses in the movie. Shorter than normal horses, with short legs, viewing vikings on their back is quite hilarious (although perhaps realistic) since the horses run faster than usual (as in faster-motion) almost giving a nonsence Monty Phyton feeling of comedy.
Although with many faults in budget, rythm and story i cannot help but to love this movie. The landscape and environment are unique, Grendel story is captivating (the scene with little Grendel shopping his father's head is quite touching).
If only a more complete version would come out, with more details, more houses, more background.... it would be close to perfect.
For the effort, for the landscape and image, for the soundtrack and Gerard Butler/Stellan Skarsgård performances, im giving it a 4 of 5 stars.
What's funny is... if this was shot in early 1920's, in black & white format with no sound, this would be a classic. Try to look at this movie this way and you will love it more, if you expect a big action movie with a very expensive budget, you will be somewhat disappointed.
I have read Beowulf a couple of times. It's great northern European mythology, and mandatory reading when you are young in my opinion (Along with Norse, Greek and Roman Mythology as well). And though the movie wants to re-write some of the epic, you will need to separate the Hollywood version from the beautiful measure of the original works. Being a work of CGI, you will also have to allow for the flaws of pure CGI work. Very stylized and beautifully colored, it is an epic adventure that elevated Zemeckis' previous work "The Polar Express" to a new level. Polar was beautifully modeled after Chris Van Allsburg illustrations for his book, but Zemeckis' adaptation to the story went a little over the top when it became a musical. Even though most of Beowulf's story line is answered here, it did make me pause and wonder:
Why didn't Robert Zemeckis just direct this thing in real life instead of virtual?
With the capabilities of dropping in CGI into real life action, this telling of the story could have had so much more of an impact if the expressions were more poignant. Look what he did with "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"? Zemeckis is fully capable of it. Also, to add to this, when you have CGI characters like Jacksons Gollum and King Kong to compare notes with, the modeling here just isn't up to snuff. I felt the entire movie came off like a gigantic "cut-scene" to a video game than a full featured animated project. I can only give this a little better than a good, hence the exclamation. I do this sadly. You really should see this in a theater, bigger than life. The dragon is excellent, the ugly v/s the beautiful is wild, the sequencing is uneven, though at the end it takes you on a great ride. Oh, and for you people that want to go see Angela Jolie nekkid? IT'S CGI!!! I've seen harder stuff on Fox networks! Seeing my wife and I saw this as a matinée, the crowd was on the sparse side and there was literally no kids present. I couldn't get a solid feeling from the audience though most people as they left seemed genuinely happy with their experience. I'm sure it was PG13'd because of the sequences with Angela, otherwise it would be a solid PG. I wouldn't suggest this for a kid under 8.
There are a few things I would like to say about this film, in an attempt to make this as unbiased as possible. The film was great, but not epic.
This film is loaded with action, blood, velocity, and sexiness. You did not know what was going to happen next in the film, which is something lacking in a lot of new productions. The storyline is about Beowulf, let's not deny that: powerful and confident; however, the film does not parallel the original classic text on any grand scale.
The visuals were amazing, and some people may criticize it being done with 3D animation. Whenever there is a film with live actors, antagonized by a computer animated monster, there is a detachment from the real actors and the monster: it is like their worlds do not parallel. With the whole film in 3D animation, you are not taken from the living world to the computer animated one; rather, you are stuck in a visually stunning and mythical world. The one of Beowulf's time.
The visuals were absolutely amazing. The character detail, environment physics, and texture of the film are enough to make you feel as if some of those places are real.
For my only criticism: the storyline. While the story in the film is actually very good, for those of you wanting it to parallel the original text fully and wholly, you will not find this. IF the film KEPT all that it has right now, and then ADDED about 20 more minutes throughout the film to incorporate original text storyline and dialogue, I feel that the film would have been a truly epic and classic piece of film making.
Do not be turned away by this, however, because the film is still great, the characters and monsters are based off of a great literary work, and there is nothing that should stop you from seeing this film if you enjoy the original Beowulf story.
Angelina IS NUDE IN THIS FILM!!!
A MUST SEE MOVIE!
The recreation of the Anglo-Saxon’s great epic in cinematic form is very entertaining. Beowulf, the poem sees the almighty protagonist, Beowulf struggle very little throughout the duration of the classic until his last encounter with the powerful dragon. However, throughout the movie you witness Beowulf not only struggling with the multiple beasts but also with internal conflicts. Both the poem and movie depict Beowulf slaying Grendel, the pest of the Danes, before he must also defeat Grendel’s mother. Unlike the poem, the motion picture presents Grendel’s mother as a very seductive villain who tempts Beowulf into making love with him. This is the first time one sees Beowulf struggling with himself. The Prince of the Geat’s must decide to give into the mistress or not. The protagonist ultimately decides to give into the temptations of the villain. Examples like this show that, throughout the movie one sees Beowulf more as a flawed person than an almighty hero. This leads to better a story line in my opinion. While in the poem Beowulf is described and praised as almost invincible hero, in the movie he is more seen as a hero with imperfections. The movie watcher is then more at ease to relate to Beowulf the movie character then Beowulf the epic poem character. Also, the addition to making Grendel’s mother into an appealing woman adds more flare to the movie. Though critics of the movie claim by adding in Angelina Jolie into the movie jeopardizes the films integrity, I believe the addition makes the film more compelling. The film also deviates from the poem in several other ways. For example, instead of Beowulf going back to his native land of the Geat’s after slaying Grendel’s mother, in the movie Beowulf stays in Sweden and succeeds Hrothgar. I believe this slight tweak in the story also is a success for the movie writers. By having Beowulf stay in the land of the Dane’s you also see another flaw in Beowulf. This flaw is seen when Beowulf is seen talking to a mistress and his Queen comments on how Beowulf has been unfaithful to her. Once again the movie spectator can see Beowulf as more as a human character than a hero. By making Beowulf into a more relatable character, the movie writers are making this movie watchable for all kinds of people. Throughout Beowulf, many themes stick out. One shown is history repeats itself. Hrothgar and Beowulf both gave into the temptations of Grendel’s mother and thus costing them their lives. At the end of the movie, Beowulf’s successor Wiglaf is seen being persuaded by the woman and gives into the theme of history repeating itself.
All things considered I enjoyed the movie Beowulf. The new twist to the movie have their plus and minuses but in the end the pluses weigh out the minuses. So, on my scale from 0 to 5 stars, 0 being Catwoman 5 being Slumdog Millionaire I would give Beowulf 3.5 stars. The movie has its moments but cannot maintain prosperity to make it an absolute gem.