Saturday, November 17

Bad Beowulf review (Spoilers)

Originally, I was hopeful about this movie.

But then I watched the clips and I was not hopeful that it would hew reasonably to the original story.

Then I decided to hold out hope that it might be ok.

I heard a horrible review on NPR yesterday morning, but that did not deter me.

When I saw a graphic novelization co-written by Neil Gaiman at Barnes and Noble today, I was hopeful again.

Hopes dashed: Mr Gaiman decides to be too clever. Grendel is the demon-spawn of Hrothgar and Grendel's mother (hence the seductive Angelina Jolie clips). And Beowulf succumbs to the same temptation. And the dragon is his spawn.

Blast. Leaning towards not going to see it...

For a nice graphic companion to the original story, I recommend Gareth Hinds' graphic novel.


Charlie said...

For what it's worth (and with full awareness that you didn't solicit others' opinions...):

I went through the same process. Excited first, then heard some bleak reviews, then found the graphic novel at Barnes 'n' Noble (although likely a different Barnes 'n' Noble, unless for some reason you were back wandering your old haunts and found yourself in the Coral Ridge Mall (the stupid, stupid Coral Ridge Mall... but I digress)). From there I had a different take, though.

I found the story idea very clever and interesting. It hews (to borrow your excellently Beowulfish verb) nicely to the classic poem, I think, in that it shows how the poem could have come to be. It's not a movie adaptation of the poem, it's the never-before-seen story, and as such I think it's very well done. The humanizing of Beowulf is a fascinating dynamic. The story of the last great hero before Christianity pushed aside the Norse mythos (a storyline developed much more in the movie than in the graphic novel), and the people who insisted that his memory be immortalized through the poem that we still have today.

Plus the movie's well-acted and the music's superb and the Mocap animation is cool. And if you've a theater nearby showing it in 3-D that's more than worth the extra $2 for the polarized glasses.

So, you know, I encourage you to lean the other way. Carry on. :-)

Anonymous said...

How many weeks till it hits Netflix? ;~)

Paul Stokes said...

Friday's WSJ movie reviewer wrote an ecstatic review, but he warned that he had seen it in 3D at an I-Max. I'm not going to wait for NetFlix, because 300 was only OK on the small screen. Any NPR review is likely to come larded with their anti-heroic and therapeutic ideology, so I wouldn't let that stop me.

Jim said...

My kids saw it and thought it was great. I suspect for the same reasons as they liked 300. So, if you go for the right reasons....

Jim said...

...and I think I'll get the book.

Sean Meade said...

hey Charlie, (civil) opinions are always welcome!

you could be right. i tend to be a purist in these matters, but maybe i should give it a chance, especially on the big screen...

Paul: i agree on not letting NPR stop me. it was the screenplay that gave me pause.

Jim: the right reasons, like sex and violence ;-)