Beautiful Scene, Confusing Beasts
Category: Beowulf & Grendel Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: July 7, 2006 | Publication: The New York Post | Author: LOU LUMENICK
BEOWULF & GRENDEL
Rated R (violence, profanity, sexuality). At the Quad, West 13th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues.
LONG the bane of high school seniors, the epic eighth-century poem "Beowulf" is being turned into a big-budget, motion-capture animated feature starring Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie.
But first, we have the modestly budgeted "Beowulf & Grendel," which shuns special effects, elaborate sets and the third-act dragon. This Canadian-U.K.-Iceland co-production, which employs an oddball international cast, is directed by the Icelandic director Sturla Gunnarsson on some stunning locations in his native country.
Unfortunately, there is also jarringly contemporary English dialogue (Grendel is described as "one tough p - -ck") laced with F-bombs and humor straight out of a Monty Python movie.
In this telling, Beowulf (Scottish actor Gerard Butler, less wooden than in "The Phantom of the Opera") is a western-style hired sword brought in by a depressed and often drunk Danish king (Stellan Skarsgard, who appears to have been dubbed into English even though he frequently acts in that language) to deal with a murderous troll.
The massive albino troll Grendel (Ingvar Siguardsson) has a legitimate beef with the king, who murdered his father, but Beowulf doesn't discover this until they're drawn into a fatal showdown.
"Beowulf & Grendel" has its moments, as well as its debits. Among the later is the grating Canadian accent of Sarah Polley, who plays a witch named Selma.