Ever since I first read and fell in love with the epic poem, I've wanted to see a really good film version of the tale.
I'm still waiting.
But I will definetly put this one in the range of "doesn't suck." Way better than Grendel, in fact.
Visually, I thought it was very impressive. The 3-D effects were good without being too intrusive, and it was rare that the movie makers strayed into "Lookie! 3-D!" territory.
There is still a disturbing flatness to the faces (especially the eyes), though. It's something the technology needs to improve on to really catch on.
This is the same problem that made Polar Express the creepiest kids' movie ever made. Even the trailer gave me the willies because of the conductor's dead, dead eyes. It's slightly better in Beowulf, but Wealthlow in particular really suffered.
The absolute best effect in the movie is Grendel's mother's twitchy, sexy prehensile braid. Simple, but used with great effect.
In plot, Beowulf resembles the epic poem in parts, and veers off wildly in others. I will admit I don't understand *why* Neil Gaiman made some of the plot choices he did. Maybe he thought the poem wasn't enough like Desperate Housewives.
And parts of the dialogue were just laughable. The "I .. am ... BEOWULF!!" got real old real fast -- just give the dude a name tag already.
I did like that Beowulf (Ima here ta kill ya monstarr!) did rip off Grendel's arm, even if he had to smash it in a door to do it. But he does it in the weirdest nude wrestling match since Borat -- a few well placed swords and candlesticks are all that stand between this movie and an NC-17 rating.
In fact, if this movie is set in the far reaches of Northern Europe, where presumably it is *cold* for much of the year, why do so many people spend so much time wearing little or nothing at all?
Actually, even though I've already rambled on for quite some time, just go check out Unlocked Wordhoard. He's got all the info for ya, and can review this movie better than I can.
Because I was left with a lot of questions.
- Did Beowulf really lose an epic race becase he stopped to have sex with a mermaid?
Exactly *how* does one have sex with a mermaid?
- If Grendel hated noise, why did he spend all his time screaming?
Why weren't people smart enough to get off a bridge being smashed to bits by a dragon?
- What fun is it being king if you can't fight and you have to wear armored miniskirts all the time?
- Why did Beowulf need so much instruction on how to kill a dragon? Isn't "aim for the glowy spot" self-explanatory?
And most importantly ...
Why in the name of pie did Grendel's mother have HIGH-HEELED FEET????