Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beowulf (2007)

ImageMovers, Shangri-La Entertainment
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Beowulf - the movie - is a film adaptation of Beowulf - the epic Anglo-Saxon poem. It tells of Beowulf, of how he slew the monster Grendel, Grendel's mother, and a fierce dragon. (If you think those are spoilers, remember: the poem is more than 1000 years old!)

Although the movie follows the main plot of the poem, it does diverge in a number of ways intended, I believe, to give a more coherent plot, and to create the distinction between 'good' and 'bad', as opposed to 'man' vs 'nature'. For example, Grendel is merely a monster - nature - in the poem, but it is part the sin of a man in the story (the issue is a little more complex than that, but I'll leave it be).

However, the plot changes notwithstanding, the film is action-packed and enthralling. The music is well-suited (I'm considering buying the soundtrack, not something I do often) and engaging. Most impressive, however, is the fact that the entire movie is computer-generated. There are times when it's obvious that it is, but there are many times when it's very difficult to tell, and the camera motion that is enabled by the CG more than makes up for the deficiencies.

One of the nice touches was that Grendel speaks in Anglo-Saxon, which is a nice touch. The (partial) recitation of the Song of Beowulf is also in Anglo-Saxon.

There is a bit of nudity, but it is mostly covered (sometimes cleverly, sometimes not so cleverly) to garner a PG-13 rating. But what's surprising is that all the violence didn't push it into R; it's very graphic, and fairly realistic (though not completely, which is probably what saved it).

I certainly recommend Beowulf on the big screen, and it's probably amazing in Imax 3D.
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