Beowulf & Grendel (Blog)
Category: Beowulf & Grendel Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: February 25, 2007 | Publication: Cinema Toast - Livejournal | Author: Gamiila
MOVIE TITLE: Beowulf & Grendel
STARRING: Gerard Butler, Stellan Skarsgård, Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson, Sarah Polley
LOVED IT? HATED IT?: Just my cup of tea!
** HWAET! MILDLY SPOILERY! **
If swordfights, beautiful northern landscapes, and mythical monsters and heroes are your thing, then you could do a lot worse than watching the 2005 version of Beowulf & Grendel to while away a rainy Sunday afternoon. Based on the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, this film tells the story of how the hero Beowulf (played by Butler) defeated the monster Grendel (Sigurdsson) that threatened the peace and prosperity of the Danes.
However, in a departure from the poem, in the first few minutes of the film, the monster, or troll as he is here, is given a reason for his destructive impulses toward the Danes led by king Hrothgar (Skarsgård), and is painted sympathetically throughout the movie.
Beowulf, at first unaware of the troll's motivation, soon begins to see a pattern emerging and realises he hasn't been told the whole truth. Torn between his sense of duty, honour, and a dawning understanding of his adversary's psychological makeup, he becomes somewhat of a reluctant warrior, albeit one that ultimately carries out the task that he had set himself in the beginning, when tales of the Danes' plight reached him and his friends in far-off Geatland.
Once you get past the Scottish accent, Butler makes for a convincing 6th century Nordic hero, helped in no small measure by the production's props and costume department. Skarsgård is equally convincing in his portrayal of the careworn king, who through an act of kindness following one of barbarism 15-20 years earlier unwittingly caused his people's present predicament.
Overall, the film doesn't disappoint: it's beautifully shot, completely free of CGI (which is a rarity these days, and noticeable in the creation of both Grendel and his mother, but no biggie for someone who grew up on Doctor Who), the cast are well-chosen, and though it spins a dark tale of the Dark Ages, not without light or levity.
Although personally, I would have liked to have seen a little more swordplay, I think this film deserves to be seen much more than similar recent epics like Tristan & Isolde or King Arthur.