Beowulf and Grendel
Category: Beowulf & Grendel Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: October 26, 2006 | Publication: The Dominion Post, Wellington New Zealand | Author: Graeme Tuckett
3 and a half stars
Ever since the last of the Lord of the Rings installments finally shuffled off, there have been precious few directors or producers willing to go anywhere near the whole "swords and fjords" genre. I guess that Peter Jackson’s accomplishments was so overwhelming that other film makers are basically terrified of being compared and found wanting.
Pity really, because as Beowulf and Grendel proves, there’s a still lots to be said about big blokes with swords knocking the bejesus out of fearsome beasties that St Peter of Miramar didn’t get around to: like sex, and swearing, and getting drunk all of the time. All of which Beowulf and his bros get up to whenever the urge takes them – which it seems to a lot. In fact, dialogue like “I’ll see Valhalla tonight”, or “that bastard’s head on a stick” might have been just what Rings needed to liven up some of its more tiresome passages.
Which pretty much sums up why I like this film so much, and why I reckon it’s just the ticket for anyone who thought that Rings might have taken itself just a wee bit too seriously. First, Beowulf and Grendel is only 90 minutes long, which is about the length any film should be. Secondly, the cast, headed by resident Scottish granny-dampener Gerard Butler (Dear Frankie), and the ever-reliable Stellan Skarsgaard, (every bleedin’ film ever made in Scandinavia) are having a ball with this; waving swords around, flinging themselves off cliffs, an chewing their way through great mouthfuls of over-ripe dialogue like kids straight out of drama school. And Thirdly, the film doesn’t take itself seriously for one second, but still manages to tell a rollicking good yarn. Pitching itself somewhere at the vast middle-ground between Return of the King and Monty pythons and the holy Grail: Beowulf and Grendel may not be a particularly good or worthy film, but it does feature a really hot witch, is deranged, quite deliriously entertaining, and is basically just good daft fun. Go, I reckon.