November 25th, 2007


Beowulf - flawed heroes and hot monsters

Went to see the movie Beowulf last weekend - in 3 D no less and thought I’d put in my two cents about it. While it actually exceeded my expectations (which weren’t high), I didn’t think it qualified as a great movie. It was, however, entertaining. Lots of action, blustering heroes, and fabulous monsters, not the least of which was Angelina Jolie’s seductive characterization of Grendel’s mom. (Yum!) If you are familiar with the original poem, you’ll discover that the movie differs from the original in a number of key ways. For one thing, no way did Grendel's mom look like Angelina Jolie. LOL. Certainly every generation reinterprets the classics in new ways, which inevitably say more about our times than about the times in which they were written. So what does it say about us that the modern reinterpretation of this epic tale portrays the "heroes" as flawed men who succumb to the lure of power, violence, and sex, particularly that sex stuff? The monsters are wonderful though, especially the dragon. And wow, the final battle with the dragon is spectacular.

People have raved on about the quality of the CGI effects in which the animated characters, based on the real life actors, look almost real. For me, it was a little disconcerting, and more like watching Sims or a video game than a movie. While I’ve often been wowed by the quality of the graphics and animation in modern video games, in this movie I found them a poor substitute for real actors. I would have preferred to see real actors with the CGI blended in, as in LOTR. But I guess that would have required Ray Winston, who played Beowulf, to actually work out to develop that six-pack. LOL. And the 3D effects were fun, you know, the spears and arrows and such coming right at you.

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