Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Movie Review: Beowulf & Grendel

Well, we watched Beowulf & Grendel last night, and I was not impressed. It didn’t completely suck, but it was neither “authentic” nor terribly clever.

A better title might have been the “The Vengeance of Poor Misunderstood Grendel Upon the Redneck Danes”. Seriously, the Danes and Geats act like a bunch of rednecks constantly dropping the F-word in Scottish accents. At least the rednecks are smart enough to wear their helmets when they go into a fight.

Grendel is vaguely like an adolescent taking revenge for a legitimate wrong. He lacks the supernatural invulnerability that helped define Grendel in the poem. He's just big, strong, and cunning in a neanderthalish kind of way. He's obviously meant to be a sympathetic character, and quite frankly kicks the butts of Beowulf and everyone else he fights. He pwnez Beowulf and company so bad that he actually has to cut his own arm off so it can get nailed to the wall.

And then there’s the witch Selma, played by Sarah Polley, who helps the story by dropping hints about her friend Grendel’s motivations in an undisguised American accent.

Add in a disposable subplot involving a Christian missionary and a gratuitous visit from Grendel's mother, and you've got something resembling a story that doesn't very much resemble the classic Beowulf.

I’d give this two out of five stars, I guess. Don’t rush to the video store.

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