Beowulf is based on an Old English epic poem of the same name, which is thought to have been written in the eighth century, chronicling the exploits of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the indomitable monster Grendel.
Robert Zemeckis has lined up an all-star cast to bring the legend to life, but then does something rather odd. He animates the movie in much the same way as Polar Express. What this ends up looking like, at least in the earlier scenes, before the action really kicks in, is a grown up version of Shrek.
At it’s lowest point, Beowulf looks and feels like a bad computer game cut scene, but when Beowulf arrives on the scene, he seems to conjure up some magic that makes the animated approach work. Weather it’s the charisma of Ray Winstone’s character, or the excitement of getting down to the essence of the story, I’m not sure, but the movie draws you in at this point, and for the most part enables you for forget that this is an animated epic.
The story is an interesting one, having not read the source material I can’t say how it adheres to it’s influence, rather I can tell you that it’s a tale of cyclic pride, male weakness almost Garden of Eden-esque with a serpent cum Eve tempting Adam by appealing to his ego and promising him everything.
The tag line claims ‘I Will Kill Your Monster’ but in the process Beowulf only seems to be creating a bigger monster than the one he sets out to slay.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Contains violence and sexual references.
Duration: 110 mins.
Genre: Animated, Fantasy.
Director: Robert Zemeckis.
Actors: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Crispin Glover, Brendan Gleeson, Robin Wright, Alison Lohman.
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: Available now.