Review of 'Beowulf'

beowulf.jpg First, let me say that I have NOT read the original story so I cannot comment on how close the movie comes or does not come to the original story (judging by Hollywood's past history I would strongly think the later).

Beowulf tells the story of a kingdom terrorised by a monster (Grendal) living in a nearby mountain with his (rather seductive) mother (also a monster – “played” by Angelina Jolie). When the hero Beowulf (“played” by Ray Winstone) comes to their aid from adventures abroad he promises their king (“played” by Anthony Hopkins) to rid them of the monster. This promise comes to fruition but there is the small matter of the mother remaining…

I found this an interesting tale much more than the simple “hero saves the day”-type narrative with a lot more character and motivation aspects. I particularly enjoyed the ambiguousness of the ending (without giving anything away). Beowulf is a flawed hero and that is refreshing to see in what could have been yet another action film from Tinseltown.

The technical aspects of this movie are quite well done as it is completely computer-generated with characters animated based upon live action motion capture. The overall effect is mostly convincing though in a few places the fact that it is in a computer is quite obvious. Incidentally, it was amusing to see the film-makers succumb to previously established norms to avoid any sort of (blatant) nudity – the scene where Beowulf battles Grendal in the nude is particularly amusing with many conveniently positioned candles and people…

I saw the film in 3-D (in IMAX) which was quite impressive. I would not have thought a standard cinema presentation would have been as effective.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised. Fantastic source material I think helped this offering. A bit long in the middle but I found myself pretty much griped for the whole 2 hours. A bit violent in places but nearly as much as it could have been with the animation playing down much of the impact.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2008-01-13

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Studio: ImageMovers

Year: 2007

Length: 113 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Robert Zemeckis: