13. Beowulf (2007)

The consequences of sleeping with a monster

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Written by: Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, based on the epic poem ‘Beowulf’
Starring: Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich.

Legends have a way of reeling in an audience. This is beacuse stories of epic proportions and ol’ school heroism make for good action, ankle-exposing sexuality and some ideals of bravery, loyalty etc. that we seem to take for granted today, but still value. So it’s hard to see where a movie like Beowulf could go wrong. You’ve got monsters (it’s not hard to pick out the sexy Jolie one… the others are kinda gross), curses, flawed heroes and a plotline that’s been entertaining people from the old days. But despite the great graphics and the truly creative perspectives that we’re given in witnessing Beowulf‘s unfolding action, the film doesn’t take the time to give depth to the characters or expand on the goldmine of interesting ideas that this epic poem lends itself to.

Keep your eyes on the face... keep your eyes on the face...

Having said this, the vocal talent in Beowulf animate the characters as well as the intricately detailed graphics and Zemeckis’ exciting visual direction. With the flexibility and freedom of CGI action, Zemeckis takes us through epic battle scenes, magical mountains and swinging from great heights – leaving no detail looked over or vaguely touched on. Had Beowulf (Winstone) faced greater challenges of personal and inner struggles, things may have been a little more interesting. The notion of temptation and creating one’s own demise, for instance, stands as the strongest and most compelling aspect of the film – only to be lost in easily overcome physical feats. Likewise, the story is engaging enough to last you through to the end of the film, but when you get to the final sword swings, Beowulf does descend from its climactic peak far too quickly.

On a much more immature note, it is kind of funny to watch Beowulf’s character fight a monster butt naked. Unfortunately, we never do get to see Beowulf’s most prized asset, leaving us feeling… well, a little disappointed.


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