Shockingly enough, I can’t remember much about a poem I read in 9th grade, so I don’t know how much of the source material was changed/removed for Beowulf. Then again, I DO remember that the story was an oral tale that was told for hundreds of years before being written down, and has been re-translated several times since, so really, it’s kind of difficult to pinpoint what is “faithful” and what isn’t… it’s sort of like the monster movie version of a game of Telephone.
Either way, it’s still a mostly enjoyable film, which is all that matters. The CG, all motion-capture animation is some of the best ever seen on film (far less creepy and odd than Polar Express), and the action sequences rival those in any live action film of a similar nature. However, I should point out that the film’s finale seems to have been written with the video game in mind, as Beowulf has to dodge trees, time his jumps, and even locate the weak spot on the bad guy. I half expected some moving platforms or maybe a powerup to get thrown in.
As said, the “acting” is far superior to the other films of its kind. Crispin Glover in particular; you can TELL it’s him, even though he’s been deformed and turned into a trollish mumbling thing. The rest of the cast more or less looks like their real life counterparts, with the exception of Ray Winstone, who has been made to look like Sean Bean for some reason. Winstone is a fantastic actor, and although he usually plays villains, it’s certainly understandable why they would want an actor of his caliber to play what is essentially the lead role, but it IS a bit distracting that he resembles another actor so much (especially one who has played Odysseus, a character fairly similar to Beowulf to begin with).
At Comic Con, we were told the film would be R, but that is not the case anymore. Still, it’s fairly graphic for a PG-13, and there’s even some nudity on Angelina Jolie’s half snake woman thing. Also, Sean Beanstone plays an entire scene nude, and while his privates are usually obscured, I am sure the animators snuck in a frame or two of CG penis for people to enjoy on DVD.
I know it’s stretching it for horror, but I mean, come on, it’s a movie about a giant monster that runs into a dining hall and tears people apart. That’s certainly horrific, no? They can’t all be Lionsgate scarecrow movies.
Read more at BC’s Reviews at Horror Movie A Day