Set against the coming of Christianity, this is the story of the last hero: in 507, a monstrous troll wreaks havoc in the mead hall of the Danish king, Hrothgar. He offers rewards for the death of Grendel, so Beowulf, a great and boastful Geat warrior, arrives with his thanes. Beowulf sets aside his armor and awaits the monster; a fierce battle ensues that leads to Beowolf's entering the watery lair of Grendel's mother, where a devil's bargain awaits. Beowulf returns to Herot, the castle, and becomes king. Jump ahead many years, and the sins of the father are visited upon Beowulf and his kingdom. The hero must face his weakness and be heroic once again. Is the age of demons over? Written by
Beowulf is considered the oldest known piece ever written in English. See more »
Grendel and his mother speak Old English. Even though it is the language of the original Beowulf poem, it is not the language spoken in the time and area where the action takes place (East Old Norse is more probable). However, it is "substituting" for Old Norse just as modern English is "substituting" for the Danes' language. See more »
It seems we have a new cinematic fad coming into fashion... the genre of mythological action. It began with '300' (a film I really enjoyed), and the first that stands to benefit from 300's success is Beowulf. Beowulf is the newest film from Robert Zemeckis. Zemeckis implements many of the same visual themes of his last project, the heart warming Polar Express, with varied success.
Beowulf tells the story of the kingdom of King Hrothgar (a delightfully campy Anthony Hopkins)which is currently being terrorized by a monster named Grendel (Crispin Glover). Help comes in the form of mighty Beowulf (Ray Winstone), who arrives with an army of 14 men and his right hand man, Wiglaf (Brendan Gleeson). It his his job to slay the monster. However, he must also deal with Grendel's mother (Angelina Jolie). Beowulf is opposed by Unferth (John Malkovich), and has also been paying close attention to the king's wife, Wealthow (Robin Wright Penn).
Perhaps the most surprising element of the film is its sly, wink and a nod, sense of humor. This can be viewed two ways. The first view is one of enjoyment and laughter. However, it is hard to comply when we are asked to feel or identify with these characters after so many scenes presenting them as mere caricatures.
As expected, Beowulf is visually stunning. I'd argue it is the one category where this film bests 'Polar Express'. The 3-D photography is shockingly good. It is a film I wouldn't want to imagine in the traditional two dimension format. I strongly advise anyone who is going to see this to view the film in 3-D. Without it, the film would be borderline un enjoyable. The highlight is by far the final battle scene,which just begs you to forget the film's past misdeeds. Close, but no dice.
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