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The Dragon


Grendel's Mother





Beowulf is a 2007 performance capture fantasy film based on the Anglo-Saxon English epic poem of the same name. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film was created through a motion capture process similar to the technique used in The Polar Express. The cast includes Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson, John Malkovich, Crispin Glover, Alison Lohman, and Angelina Jolie. It was released in the United Kingdom and United States on November 16, 2007, and was available to view in IMAX 3D, Real D and standard 2D format.
Set in Denmark, the film opens with King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) celebrating the construction of his new mead hall, Heorot. The noise echoes into Grendel's (Crispin Glover) cave, tormenting him. In a mad fury, Grendel breaks into the hall and kills many people. After being challenged by Hrothgar, Grendel runs off into the night. Back at his lair, Grendel is admonished by his unseen mother for attacking the humans and possibly inviting retribution. She calms down after Grendel tells her that he did not harm Hrothgar.
Meanwhile, Hrothgar closes Heorot and proclaims that he will give half of his kingdom in gold to any man who can defeat Grendel. Beowulf (Ray Winstone) and his men arrive by ship from Geatland and convince Hrothgar to reopen Heorot. Beowulf's credibility is challenged by Unferth (John Malkovich), the King's most trusted advisor. Beowulf proceeds to tell a tall tale of how he slew several sea serpents in a past adventure, convincing the people of Heorot that he is capable of killing Grendel. Hrothgar offers Beowulf his Golden drinking horn, a trophy taken after slaying the dragon Fáfnir, in the event that Grendel is destroyed.
That evening, Queen Wealtheow performs a song for Beowulf, which entices him. As Beowulf's men lock up the mead hall, Beowulf strips naked to fight Grendel and orders his men to sing loudly, to attract the monster. A predictably enraged Grendel attacks the hall once again and kills several of Beowulf's men. Beowulf leaps on Grendel's back and starts pummeling him, but Grendel appears to be impervious to attack, until Beowulf discovers an external eardrum sensitive to loud noises (the source of Grendel's pain), and badly damages it. This disorients Grendel, who attempts to escape, but Beowulf and Wiglaf snare him with chains and slams the door on his arm, breaking it off. As Grendel retreats, Beowulf loudly boasts of his victory and is proclaimed a hero. Grendel's arm is nailed above the door of Heorot signifying his defeat.
Later Hrothgar and Queen Wealtheow (Robin Wright Penn) argue. Hrothgar states that he needs an heir. Wealtheow refuses to comply due to Hrothgar's earlier involvement with Grendel's mother (thus conceiving Grendel).
After Grendel returns to the cave to die, Grendel's mother shrieks out in demented fury in grief over the loss of her son. Determined to avenge his death, she flies to Heorot in a murderous rage and initially appears to Beowulf in a dream, disguised as Wealtheow. When Beowulf wakes, he finds all his men dead except for Wiglaf, who (stricken with grief at the deaths of some of Beowulf's band) had elected to forego the festivities and tend to the ship. Beowulf confronts Hrothgar, whose evasive answers imply that he knows more of Grendel's past than he will state openly, tells Beowulf how he can find Grendel's mother. Unferth appears before Beowulf and apologizes for his previous behavior, offering him the use of his ancestral sword Hrunting, which Beowulf accepts.
Beowulf and Wiglaf find the cave. Beowulf enters it alone, eventually confronting Grendel's mother (Angelina Jolie). She appears to him as a beautiful nude woman, dripping with liquid gold. She promises fame and power if Beowulf gives her a son. She also demands the Horn of Hrothgar with the promise that as long as it is hers, Heorot will be safe: she also destroys Hrunting to prove her power. Beowulf gives in to her temptations.
Beowulf returns to Heorot with Grendel's severed head and tells a disbelieving Hrothgar that he killed Grendel's mother. Hrothgar, realising Beowulf has succumbed to the same temptation as him, states that his curse has been lifted (implying that it has passed to Beowulf) and then publicly proclaims Beowulf heir to his kingdom — and its queen. Hrothgar then throws himself from the battlements to his death; Wealtheow looks over the balcony in time to see Grendel's mother steal away Hrothgar's corpse. Stunned, Beowulf is duly crowned king and marries Wealtheow.
Many years pass. King Beowulf is now old and disillusioned, a shadow of his former glorious self. Unferth's servant, Cain, finds the Horn of Hrothgar on a desolate moor, and Unferth presents it to the king. Beowulf is furious to see it, realising its meaning: Grendel's mother has reneged on their bargain, and Heorot is in danger. (It is heavily implied that she breaks her deal because of Beowulf's adulterous/amourous nature since becoming king). That evening Beowulf dreams of a golden man (his son by the demon) threatening both the old Queen Wealtheow and Beowulf's young mistress, Ursula. The next night, a dragon attacks a village outside Heorot. The dragon slays Unferth's wife and children before his eyes, and leaves a message with Unferth for Beowulf. Unferth, badly burned and mad with rage from seeing his family burned alive, gives Beowulf the dragon's message: 'The sins of the fathers!'
Beowulf, intending to break the cycle of the female demon's curse, rides with Wiglaf to the cave of Grendel's mother to kill the dragon and end the madness. Beowulf tells Wiglaf that he has instructed the heralds to proclaim Wiglaf king, should he fall in battle. Beowulf also tries to confess his past sins to Wiglaf, but his old friend refuses to listen and gives Beowulf encouragement. Beowulf enters the cave alone and attempts to mollify Grendel's mother by returning the Dragon Horn to her. To his dismay, the demon tells him it is too late and then sends the dragon to attack Heorot. The dragon overcomes a desperate attempt by Beowulf's army to kill it, but fails to drown Beowulf by diving into the sea. It then proceeds to the castle and attempts to murder Queen Wealtheow and Ursula. Beowulf kills it by a daring maneuver, remembering advice on dragon-slaying given to him by Hrothgar: dangling from a chain round its neck, Beowulf attempts to rip out the dragon's heart with his bare hands, but fails as the chain holds him to far away. He then stabs his shoulder to be able to reach, and succedes, but fataly wounds himself. The dying beast plummets from the sky, dragging Beowulf to oblivion with it: Wealtheow and Ursula survive, narrowly managing to avoid being crushed by the monster.
Beowulf and the dragon fall to the shores far below. The dragon reverts to the golden man of Beowulf's dream, whom Beowulf realizes is his son, and his dying body is swept away by the tide as Beowulf reaches out for him. Beowulf then dies in Wiglaf's arms. The latter, still refusing to believe his friend is anything but a hero, finally listens to Beowulf's confession.
Beowulf is given a Viking Funeral and Wiglaf is made king. As he watches Beowulf's ship burn out at sea, Grendel's mother appears before Wiglaf, possibly intending to continue the curse....