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Beowulf (2007)

November 6, 2009

VERDICT:
3/10 Epic Fails

What a bastardized and unnecessary movie this was.

Beowulf is about a warrior of epic proportions that moseys on over to a small town in Denmark to take out Grendel – a hideous monster that’s been terrorizing the said town and eating folks up because they’re all boozehounds and party too hard for Grendel’s liking. The Wulfmeister also has to fight Grendel’s mother, and then he has to fight a freakin’ dragon, but that’s about it.

Thought I would go ahead and give this one a write-up what with A Christmas Carol coming out this weekend (aka: Robert Zemeckis’ second journey into the…THE THIRD DIMENSION!) I’ve got a lot of problems with this movie, but how am I supposed to forgive the catalyst that re-ignited this ridiculous 3-D movie craze that somehow went from dumb as hell to cool as Fonzie without anyone batting an eye to it. Am I the only one who thinks that this is gonna be more fodder for the next episode of I Love The New Millennium on VH1? 

Who cares if it looks like that spear is gonna poke you in the eye. Go outside, real life is in 3-D. Why has this become a selling point? What a joke.

Anyway, this movie is based off the Old English poem of the same name, a poem which happens to be very badass. Granted, it’s a tough story to adapt, but harder things have been done in movies. My point being that I don’t know what compelled Zemeckis to animate this movie of all things, but it doesn’t work. Everything that was cool and epic about the source material, from the characters to the action, just ends up feeling they way it looks – cartoonish. With real people, I’m confident this could have had the potential to be something else, something like a mix between Braveheart and The Lord of the Rings. But alas, Zemeckis didn’t get the memo that just because people liked The Polar Express doesn’t mean you can animate any damn thing you want.

Just a bad call that makes the finished product seem unfortunately childish. The overtly-epic dialogue really doesn’t help either. Tone it down there, Rob.

It’s too bad because there’s a slew of great actors doing the voice acting here. Ray Winstone, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie (not so great), and Robin Wright Penn (sure, why not) all contribute their vocals, and even though I have no idea how to judge whether someone’s got a good voice or not, I guess that’s a draw to some. 

Another big WTF moment was Jolie as Grendel’s mother. Go ahead, click on that link. What the hell is that about? That sure isn’t what she looks like and what goes down between her and Wulfie definitely doesn’t happen in the poem. Who wants to see a near-naked, animated Angelina Jolie? Man, shaking my head as I write this.

Grendel also looks nothing like I had imagined him being from the poem. He looks like a mutant man-child, like The Elephant Man mixed with The Hulk…after falling into a vat of battery acid. Not terrifying, just gross.

The thing with Beowulf is that it seemingly completely disregards everything about the source material that didn’t involve Beowulf killing things along with anything that might lead its audience to believe there’s any kind of depth to be found here. Being a big fan of the poem, it deserved a much better treatment than the one it got. It’s just eye candy and nothing more, and that’s a damn shame.

I have no idea if the same is going to be true for A Christmas Carol, but whatever, I’ll give Zemeckis the benefit of the doubt this one time. Go back to making movies with real people already, you’re the guy who did Forrest Gump for chrissakes! What happened, man?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2009 8:30 am

    ‘Go outside, real life is in 3-D.’ thats funny AR, but i disagree with you on this movie, i thought it was great fun
    Boring poem + Brendan Gleeson + Ray Winstone + action = fun

  2. Aimée V. permalink
    November 17, 2010 6:18 pm

    Did you happen to see “Beowulf & Grendel”, the 2005 movie? Was it any better?

    • November 18, 2010 12:38 pm

      Never did, but judging by the screenshots on IMDB and the fact that it’s not computer generated or in 3D, I’m guessing it’s way effing better.

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