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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > History > Legend > Romance > Beowulf and Grendel

Beowulf and Grendel


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: B     Film: C



The story of Beowulf comes from one of the earliest surviving manuscripts written in a form of English. It is the story of a hero, Beowulf, a Geat who travels to Daneland to help a small village whose warriors are being killed by a monster named Grendel.  There is some debate as to when the poem was written; some sources claim as early as the 7th century while others place it as late as the 11th.  Whatever its origin, the poem is a heroic epic, a work of fiction that references actual historical figures and places.


The movie captures the experience of reading the poem; it’s tedious.  The cinematography is nice and visually, from the costumes to the landscape, much of the film is beautiful.  Unfortunately the pacing is sluggish, many of the accents impenetrable, and the performances less than stellar.  The characters boats and houses are wooden and so is their acting.


The movie also suffers from the addition of modern sensibilities.  While at base the original conveys the idea that there is a reason for monsters and implies a Nietzsche-like “those who fight monsters may become one” idea, this is pushed a little too far in this version.  There is a post-modern sympathy for the monster that certainly didnąt exist the time of the original.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is weak, as is the Dolby Digital sound mix.  For a new film, why?  That could have kept the dull proceedings more lively, and for all the effort in production and costumes alone, seems odd.  There are a lot of extras on the disc ­commentaries, deleted scenes, and cast interviews among them­, but to be honest I was interested enough to watch them.



-   Wayne Wise




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