Thursday, March 27, 2008

DVD REVIEW: BEOWULF

I finally got around to watch BEOWULF. Unfortunately, I missed the 3D experience while it was in theaters. Many have told me seeing it in the theater, in 3D, was absolutely amazing. So before I spew out a my review, I am acknowledging that the movie was apparently awesome in 3D.

Beowulf is the oldest epic poem of the Western Civilization. This movie adaptation was co-written by Neil "Sandman" Gaiman, so I had high hopes for a good story. So it amazed me that the story was so weak on so many levels. Instead of doing justice to the story of Beowulf, we get cynical storytellers writing their own sad shortcomings onto classic characters. If you're going to adapt it... and name your movie after it... then you better do it right. This movie should have been retitled with a small disclaimer "Inspired by the Epic Poem "Beowulf". The story is twisted into essentially a weak story of Angelina Jolie sleeping with Kings, and a "hero" who is a liar and a fake. They took a classic tale of heroes, honor and good-vs-evil, and twisted into a trite, cliche tale of late night sex and seduction.

Writers Gaiman & Avery with director Robert Zemekis try to "put a modern, original spin" on the story where the HUMANS are the real monsters and the monster are actually innocent outcasts who deserve our sympathy. If Zemekis wanted to tell that tale, then he should have adapted John Gardner's novel "GRENDEL" in which he tells the tale of Beowulf throught the eyes of Grendel. Its a great book that is vastly more superior and successful than Zemekis' forgettable flop.

They also took two of the oldest, greatest monsters in Western literature and twisted them into boring, unimaginative characters. Instead of a magnificant visual creature worthy of its namesake, Grendel is Crispin Glover playing George McFly's more pathetic, deformed brother with a speech impediment, fond of poetic drama. He felt like the Son of Pumpkinhead throwing a temper tantrum with a screen presense that induced cringing and laughter. And Grendel's Mother simply becomes a naked Angelina Jolie having sex with Kings throughout the ages. I kept wishing I could have plucked the Alien Resurrection Newborn and AVP-R Predalien out of the Alien mythos and shove them into Beowulf. Both series would benefit.

The rest of the cast are stiff, soul-less motion-captured people that annoyed & bored instead of entertained. I got more emotional range from the Team America marionettes. There was no need to make this an animated feature. Live-action would have improved the film immensely....improved, but not enough to salvage.

Not only was this an absolute waste of my time, but after thinking about it a few days, I've come to the conclusion that I truly hate this film... not only for the above review, but for every other reason one can come up with when critiquing a film.

Grade: F

Beowulf vs Predalien & Newborn - an improvement!

6 comments:

Scott King said...

finally a smashing we 150% agree on

Anonymous said...

I hated it, too!
We fast forwarded through most of it.
Grendel and his mother were stupid.

Anonymous said...

love the beowulf vs predator alien and newborn creature!

Robiscus said...

" I got more emotional range from the Team America marionettes."

ha ha!

Anonymous said...

Well said. I do have one caveat though, and that is, according to John Gardner himself, Grendel, in his book of the same name, is intended to be a villain protagonist, and ultimately unsympathetic.

Jim said...

Yeah, I wouldn't want Grendel to necessarily be sympathetic or spun into the now-cliche "no he's good, just misunderstood". In many ways that's what they did in this CG Beowulf... he felt more like an abused monster child we are meant to be sympathetic towards. Atleast that's how I took it.