Beowulf and Grendel
C Sound: C Extras: B Film: C
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.
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.
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.
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.