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Beowulf
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Beowulf More at IMDbPro »

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44 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

A great movie... for a laugh.

3/10
Author: gaiafaye (gaiafaye@hotmail.com) from New Jersey
27 February 2004

We screened this movie in a club as an example of how classic literature can become twisted into some of the most awful movies of all time. Just the fact that the back of the box proudly proclaimed the plot to be set in the "techno-futile" future should have been enough of a hint. I think that word describes the movie itself, because no matter how much technology they tried to use to save this movie, the effort was completely futile. Not to mention that our club advisor told us that it allegedly couldn't get a distributor for two years.

This cinematic failure is littered with cheesy, cliche dialogue that's worse than angsty teen poetry. Beowulf's character changes halfway through in a way that is in no way credible, and whenever he's in an action scene, he's constantly flipping like a hyper gymnast. There is even, as they say, a "token black guy" whose attempts at humor are completely out of place. And, of course, the daughter of the leader of the outpost Grendel is terrorizing is a total vixen. A vixen whose breasts are exposed throughout the entire movie. A vixen who wants to fight the creature, yet she never puts on armor. And her weapon of choice is a little carving knife. And despite their dire situation, she still dresses up for dinner, in a dress with a see-through skirt that exposes her short-shorts underwear. There are a couple scenes that could pass as soft core pornography, and in the second scene they even reuse footage from the first. I thought the portrayal of Grendel was bad enough, but then came the end of the film, which featured a display of CGI that might be decent for the 80s, but is totally ridiculous for a late 90s venture. I could go on, but you all should watch this film for the fully laughable effect yourselves.

The other club members and I did manage to have fun watching this by taking a cue from MST 3K and mocking it the whole way through. I'm still reeling from an extra's weapon: a perpetually spinning pizza cutter on a pole.

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32 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

A late '80s action flick from the late '90s

10/10
Author: mikko_kuusirati from Finland
1 September 2006

Honestly, without looking at the production details, I would never have guessed this film wasn't made in the eighties. It's so eighties I feel it perfectly epitomizes the beloved "'80s action B-movie" genre despite being made a full decade too late. And knowing the extremes B-movies actually from the eighties can go to, that's saying A LOT.

It has Chris Lambert playing Billy Idol in a long black leather coat playing Beowulf; Rhona Mitra, "The original model behind Lara Croft in Tomb Raider!"; the kind of ingenious/insane mix of pseudo-medieval, post-apocalyptic and modern fashion and technology I haven't seen since Knights (and that's another one for the B-movie history books); a rather nice, if forgettable, techno soundtrack; more somersaults than you can shake a lever-action clockwork sword at; and Grendel's HOT MOMMA!

I think Beowulf would have approved. It gets the attitude right, and that's what counts - to quote the poem, Chapter IX, "Me thus often the evil monsters/ Thronging threatened. With thrust of my sword,/ The darling, I dealt them due return!" (The full text of Beowulf is available at http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~beowulf/ )

And, by the way, let's not forget that dirty little chuckle Lambert has perfected. I loved it when he played Raiden in Mortal Kombat, and I absolutely love it here.

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29 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

below expectations

4/10
Author: Mickey Knox (cristane@metallica.com) from Brasov, Romania
28 December 2000

I've heard many things about Beowulf, maybe because i'm from Romania and a good part of the movie was filmed here, in my country. And i expected a lot from this film. At the end, i was disappointed. It is not as horrible as other users said, but it's definetely bad. It's all about a monster killing people in a 6th century castle and Lambert the one who comes to kill him. Lambert is good, as he is in all his roles, but the rest of the characters suck, and the action isn't too good either. Plus maybe the only thing that could've saved this film, the special effects, are also very bad, the monster looks awful (not scary, but awful). Oh and another bad thing: the music. The movie tries, and manages to create the 6th century atmosphere. But all the action sequences are presented on rock music, which is very very bad. I mean action on rock works perfectly on a movie like Charlie's Angels - where that's the perfect way to shoot your action. But here, that was a very bad idea.

Vote: 4 out of 10.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Come on, people, dance, not fight!

4/10
Author: (Vomitron_G) from the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids
4 December 2005

The future of fantasy never looked so dark! Christopher Lambert gets to fight the evil demon Grendel in this grim looking trashy fantasy-epos. "Epos" I said? Er... there's only one location, so you can't really call it an epic adventure, can you? The location is a medieval/futuristic 5 inch tall castle, so how did they manage to cram in all the actors? Oh, I get it, those where special effects. A miniature. Silly me.

Here's some reasons why you might want or NOT want to watch this motion picture:

- Lambert gets to do his sword-swinging tricks over again like he did in Highlander.

- The sets and costumes are amazingly cool (if you're a 12-year-old).

- Rhona Mitra has a voluptuous pair of knockers which she likes to show off through-out the whole movie.

- ...er, Christopher Lambert has white hair...

- Every time they start fighting, this over-the-top raving techno-soundtrack gets going. So why are these medieval slayer-dudes fighting while they should be dancing.

- They don't have electricity in this castle but they do have speakers installed which seem to work fine. So where's the amplifier? I guess they borrowed it from the techno-dj who delivered the soundtrack.

- Watch it for the climax in the end which features an outrageous demonoïd CGI creature coming straight out of any Playstation 2 survival-horror game.

If all this got you interested, then go watch it (at your own risk), but don't tell anyone I told you to. I strongly suspect Pinhead visiting the set while shooting, because this movie has no soul. Anyway, if you want to see beautiful Rohna Mitra really show some skin, then watch Paul Verhoeven's HOLLOW MAN.

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34 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

Outlook on Beowulf

10/10
Author: lurkthepadawan from Anderson, South Carolina
19 October 2004

As an avid reader of the poem Beowulf, I was shocked to hear that so few people liked the movie. Granted it had a few glitches and the portrayal of Beowulf in an almost modern nature, I admit, did not make me want to watch it at first. But I finally did sit down and watch Beowulf. The way that Mr. Lambert and his fellow actors portrayed their parts were superb. Grendel and Beowulf. I think, would be terribly hard to portray. But it was well done. The setting that I was so worried about added to the story in a way that I never could have understood before seeing it. I was very pleased with directing, acting and stunts. I was mostly pleased with the way that Grendel was portrayed. But as said before, other than a few glitches and the artistic freedom that all directors take, it was an all in all good movie.

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15 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Uhm, just what i expected really

Author: Mattias Petersson from Stockholm, Sweden
4 January 2000

When i rented this movie a couple of nights ago i expected to see just what i saw so i can´t blame anyone but myself. This movie is pretty weird really. It´s a sort of neo-fantasy movie with knights living in a castle with steam-engines, body-bags with zippers and rotating chainsaw-weapons. A strange mix to say the least. But i could have lived with that.

The problem with this movie is not with the scenery which is pretty ok, it´s not with the special effects which are ok. It´s rather with the total lack of a plot, the lack of good action coreography and last but definetly not least the lack of good acting! The actors in this movie where horrible... Of course Christopher Lambert was his usual non-inspired boring self, but all the other actors were also stiff and boring. The monster was actually the most interesting character... The monster was at least pretty good with a nice look. But that couldn´t save this movie in any way. Also a note at the music which wasn´t all bad, it just shouldn´t have been in this movie. In a fantasy movie i don´t want to hear a pumping techno-track, not even in a neo-fantasy movie!

All things considered i think this was a cheap, not very exciting and very forgettable movie. It may thrill a lot of 12-year olds, but for the rest of the people i recommend something with a bit more style, plot and acting. I rate this a 3/10 for trying.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Intense, enthralling, Christopher Lambert is Beowulf!

10/10
Author: Lynn Newton (lynn@louisville.edu) from Jeffersonville, Indiana
17 July 2000

After waiting so long to see this movie, which has still not been released in the US, I was not disappointed. The special effects were terrific, the characters totally believable and each given adequate attention by the director. Easy to follow - if you don't see this movie because the story is so difficult to read, throw the story out and get this movie. As usual, Christopher's performance is stunning and the black leather fits him like a glove. I don't know why this movie it isn't running on the SciFi Channel right now. The perfect film for this channel, and the scifi community would devour it. A+!

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A great B sci-fi/action flick

9/10
Author: SimianLogic (learnyourabcs@hotmail.com) from University of Georgia
22 October 2000

I love these b genre movies. I won't give them a ten, since they do lack something on the artistic side, but they're great to watch. Sword fights, acrobatics, bare-chested women...everything needed for a good b movie. Add in a semi-literary plot (the name Grendel is only mentioned once) and a few references to the poem. I liked the misty halls and how the siege camp's fires extended off into the distance--can you say dragon? I give it a 9.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Superior entertainment, and as faithful to the poem as it could have been.

10/10
Author: Tin Man-5 from Auke Bay, Alaska
18 October 2000

`Beowulf' is a theatrical release that went straight-to-video in the United States because of some complications involving distributing. It was picked up by Mirimax around the same time `The 13th Warrior,' the other recent interpretation of the classic poem, went to theaters. Because that film was a flop both critically and financially, Mirimax played it safe and skipped the theatrical release for this, dumping it straight into a Blockbuster near you.

Reactions from this version have varied. People have tended to either like it a lot or hate it with passion. There is good reason for this. `Beowulf' is one of the great works of the English language, and it has been studied by both literary scholars and adventure lovers for centuries. It inspired such classic fantasy works as the Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons, and it has and will be reviewed by every English class that ever had, does, or will exist. Because of the difficulty to convert the original poem into a film, a lot of changes have been made, to the anger of a lot of literary purists. For one, the location has been changed to a techno, midievel future, and the great Hall of Herot has been converted to a battle-outpost, where technology has taken a step backwards. Only a few traces of a superior technology exists, such as night vision and methane-run torches, and everything else has been reduced to a typical sword and cross-bow environment, combined with outrageous-looking primal weapons. In other words, we've got Mad Max meets Dragon Slayer. So now, Hrothgar is the leader of the Outpost, and he's got a beautiful daughter named Kyra who's got a deadly secret. Unferth has also had his name changed to Roland for no apparent reason. Some subplots have been added which discuss Hrothgar's relationship with Grendel and his mother, and Kyra's relationship with Roland.

The most dynamic change, however, is in the character of Beowulf himself. No longer is he a happy-go-lucky, adventurous fighter for good, but a dark, depressed man who is a little more than mortal. The son of a demon and a woman, he wanders the earth looking for evil. `The only way I can stop from becoming evil is if I fight evil,' he says, and thus is his explanation for coming to this outpost and fighting the evil darkness called Grendel, an evil creature who is terrorizing the place every night by killing all of the guards. Beowulf, sort of like an anti-Hercules, has fast healing power and is decked out with all sorts of cool weaponry. He's got short, bleached hair and he's dressed in Matrix-style leather, and he's a lot more dark and weary than the Beowulf of the epic poem.

Such changes are making a lot of Beowulf fans enraged. I am a fan of the original Beowulf poem as well and have been studying it for years, and I can say that the changes didn't bother me. I applaud them, in fact, in their effort to make the story more applicable to the high school/college students who will be studying the ancient work. These changes don't improve the story, but they don't take away from it, either. Any student who might not be interested in studying the text might pick this up and like it, and their interest in the original source will increase. The changes work mostly due to the fact that it film still keeps the whole of the story intact, and it takes it very seriously. Purists need to realize that it would be nearly impossible to make a film about `Beowulf' and keep it 100% true to the original poem. Changes HAVE to be made due to the complexity of the work, and these changes work very nicely.

The film as a whole plays like an extended episode of `Xena: Warrior Princess' with a larger budget, meaning it is dark and brooding when it needs to be, and campy and action-packed with its tongue stuck firmly in its cheek in other places. This style works. While `The 13th Warrior' might have been superior to this visually, this film far surpasses it in capturing the essence of what the poem was all about: A battle with a supernatural foe. The original work was made to entertain and to fill the listener with a sense of wonder, and this film does just that, thanks to a good cast (mostly) and some well-shot action sequences that are both over the top and subdued, depending which is necessary. The setting was also well thought out by the producers. While `The 13th Warrior' used with open spaces, this `Beowulf' captures the clausterphobic feel of the poem, with mostly interior shots of this run down outpost where most of the action takes place. The techno music also works, giving a video-game feel to it in many spots, which is fine because of the video game potential the whole story has (besides, if they had video games in 900 A.D., around when the poem was written, they would have been about Beowulf!).

The monsters also work. Grendel is a fish-like monster in the tradition of Predator, with a mist surrounding him at all times. It's replicated straight from the poem, and the Witchmother is also a powerhouse of special effects, who is a combination of Grendel's Mother and the Fire Dragon from the poem (whose scenes are missing due to plot restraints).

Christopher Lambert is surprisingly good as Beowulf, playing the part subtly and without overacting. Like in the book, he is a man of few words, just wanting to fight and get the job over with. Though the motives are different: The Beowulf of the poem lives for the fight. This Beowulf simply wants to overcome the evil within in. While I don't think Lambert would work in a literal, literary version of `Beowulf' (he would have to be a large, brawling person, like Vin Deisel or Russell Crowe), he does fine here, as a hero torn between his lust for evil and his desire to fight it. He's got just the right tone, and his eyes speak multitudes. His understanding of this kind of Beowulf is right on target, and he holds the film together and plays the straight man when the fights get outrageously fun (`I've been waiting for you. Our evil has drawn us together. I'm like you. I'm one of the damned,' he tells an attacking Grendel in the film's best scene action scene, which takes place in the flooded cellar.) . The rest of the cast is effective as well, especially Gotz Otto as Roland (Unferth), who manages to evoke both sympathy and power in a satisfactory performance.

All this said, however, there could have been a few changes made. The actress playing the Witchmother is horrible. While the character is complex and she's got some great and very important lines, it is clear that she was cast in the role for her figure only (They probably told her, `You just strut what you've got. We'll teach you how to act.'). Every line she says she ruins, and it is only the rest of the excellent cast which manage to keep the scenes featuring her less-than-adequate. The ending is also a disappointing, as many of the characters simply cop-out and the resolution never has time to sink in after a spectacular final battle.

Nevertheless, this is an excellent version of the epic poem, both fun and thought-provoking. Students be warned though, if you're studying the text at school, this is not a substitute for it. It is, however, a good companion piece for it, and whether you've read it or not, you will find it extremely enjoyable.

*** out of ****

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Atmosphere, well made movie

9/10
Author: Darkemoon (ctorm@voyager.net) from Jackson, Michigan
12 November 2000

Beowulf was not at all what I expected. Once I got past that fact it was a very enjoyable movie. The whole neo-Gothic-industrial feeling to the movie almost reminded me of "the Crow" (especially the music.) The combination of suspense, action, and an interesting plot kept me riveted to my seat. I gave this movie a rating of 9, and it could have been improved only by adding a few more good solid fights.

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