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C. Thomas Howell,
King Higlack of the Gauths entrusts prince Finn and a fire ball weapon to his champion, slayer Beowulf. They lead twelve men on a mission to help king Hrothgar of the Danes, whose once glorious realm is terrorized by the undefeated monster Grendel. The task is made more difficult as Hrothgar kept gruesome secrets. Written by
Just once I'd like to see a version of Beowulf where it appears the screenwriters have at least a passing familiarity with the original poem. Yet again, after watching this Sci Fi presentation, I'm disappointed.
I'm not suggesting the writers need to understand and analyze the poem in Old English, but I wish they could at least try to read a translation in modern English and attempt to construct a story based on what actually transpires. The story is exciting enough; why add plot elements that are non-existent and ruin the story? What's wrong with being faithful to the text?
Grendel is immune to weapons of any kind; why introduce some super-crossbow that is unbelievable and could not have possibly existed in this time period (as correctly pointed out by the previous reviewer)? The fight with Grendel was Beowulf vs. Grendel. That's it. No one else took part in the battle. The only way Beowulf could have defeated him was by choosing specifically to engage the monster without any weapons, the mistake made by all previous challengers. Yet, in this version, Danes and Geats fight the beast and Beowulf hacks off Grendel's arm with a sword! Again, why couldn't they portray what really happened? Personally, I think a one-on-one grappling match between the two would be much more exciting.
Overall, this is a pathetic and abysmal depiction that is faithless to the true tale. Why add in a pact with Hrothgar and Grendel's mother that includes sacrificial offering? Why create extra characters, like Finn, that add nothing to the story? There was no love story in the poem. They couldn't even set the scenes in the appropriate locations (a forest instead of the swamp and no lair under the lake). They fail to notice the metaphor that Grendel's lair signifies it's supposed to be underground to represent hell. Why not instead center on the symbolism inherent in the epic poem? Even my high school students last year were able to do immensely better when they created a short film based on Beowulf, since they focused on the themes and symbolism underlying the story. If Hollywood could create a film that centers on these elements and is faithful to the plot, then that would be a truly great movie.
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