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Article for the week of 12/16/07


Beowulf roars back onto the big screen with a decent effort
By, Ezra Paul Mann (Editor and Old English Nerd)

Just when you thought epics couldnít get any more epic; Hollywood dares to redefine the very meaning of x-treme. In a move very stereotypical of the movie industry a decision was made to yet again tackle a story thatís been told a few times before. Granted, this particular story has had more misses than hits, but the redundancy factor was still a bit present. Literature nerds everywhere have had to enjoy or suffer the epic poem of Beowulf at least ten times in their academic career and the wounds of joy or distress open each time the story reaches the silver screen. The latest offering of Beowulf is a CGI animation done awesome with a rather different twist for those who know the tale well.
I feel itís only fair to warn the hardcore anal purists that this particular rendition will come across as a double edged sword. As far as movies by the name of Beowulf (Ray Winstone) it is the most dedicated to the actual story so far. That being said, it also takes more than its share of liberties that will throw some who have practically memorized the modern English translation. Letís just say that Grendel (Crispin Glover) and his mother (Angelina Jolie) have a rather more involved role in than the original manuscript. If you can accept a major change in their involvement then youíll not be too disappointed with the rest.
Other than the differences mentioned any other liberties taken donít really affect the moviegoing experience. Once I was able to shed my nerdy reactions I actually found that the film was actually pleasant overall. The animation was absolutely fantastic and really complimented what CGI can do for a movie. Characters were fun and amusing while keeping to what Iíd say is a fair representation of the well known grit of the old world hero mindset. Besides, the changes in the story were explained well enough to explain why such an interpretation could be warranted.
Even secondary characters such as Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) got a fair shake in the movie. In any case who doesnít enjoy a good goblet of mead and drinking song? The movie is rather graphic with violence and nudity at times and I would not recommend it to anyone under the age of 15. (True Discretion is for the parent who is actually involved in raising their children) Other than that I recommend it as a decent afternoon or evening out flick. For a unique presentation of a classic tale with plenty of monster smashing fun I give Beowulf three and a half manly grunts out of five.




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