Butler did it

Category: Beowulf & Grendel Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: September 22, 2006 | Publication: Buffalo News | Author: TONI RUBERTO
Publication/Article Link:http://www.buffalonews.com

The Scottish actor shows off his skills in new DVD releases

With his striking good looks, irresistible Scottish brogue and magnetic old-Hollywood screen presence, you would think Gerard Butler would be an international superstar of paparazzi-obsessive proportions.

The fact that Butler is a darn good actor and a funny guy who isn't above making fun of himself only adds to his appeal.

So what gives? Maybe it's that Butler takes on flawed characters and roles that defy typecasting - not the usual Hollywood thinking. He's equally at home in wonderful "small" films like "Dear Frankie" as he was in the big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera," or taking on Angelia Jolie in "Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life."

Butler's two newest films to arrive on DVD again show the diversity of his projects. One is an inspiring true story with mainstream appeal; the other is a visually stunning movie based on an eighth-century poem.

"The Miracle Match" ($29.99, Buena Vista, available now) is the story of the U.S. soccer team that scored one of the greatest upsets in sports history when it beat Great Britain in the 1950 World Cup. (Butler loses his brogue for a midwest twang in this one.)

Originally called "The Game of Their Lives," this movie has a fun cast that includes Patrick Stewart, John Rhys-Davis, Zachery Ty Bryan (the oldest son from "Home Improvement") and rock star Gavin Rossdale.

The subject of a bonus feature will be familiar to some Western New Yorkers: It's the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta.

In "Beowulf & Grendel" ($29.98, Union Station Media, available Tuesday), Butler plays the Norse warrior Beowulf who, in seeking the murderous troll Grendel, learns that all is not as it appears.

It's a shame that we didn't have the opportunity to see this gorgeous movie, filmed in Iceland and featuring hauntingly beautiful landscapes, on the big screen. But it had only a limited theatrical release earlier this year.

Though the script uses modern profanity, has some odd dialogue and can be difficult to follow early on, it's still a movie worth watching. Its ages-old story of how people judge anything or anyone different than us is even more relevant today.

Bonus features include deleted scenes, storyboard comparisons, a featurette of material from the documentary "Wrath of Gods" and interviews. Butler is a big part of the extras. It's fascinating, as always, to hear him talk in-depth about his character and film, a movie he calls "a once in a lifetime experience."