The elaborate animation of Beowulf can make-up for the alterations made to the classic novel. Although the effects lag behind in some ways, the voice-overs and settings are on cue and amaze the viewer.
Beowulf is an old English poem that dates back to the tenth century A.D. The text describes the adventures of a great warrior, Beowulf, who becomes a hero to the Danish after defeating Grendel, a grotesque-looking monster who dislikes the rambunctious lifestyle of King Hrothgar-supplier of tasty mead. Beowulf battles three villains, Grendel; Grendel’s mother, played by Angelina Jolie; and later in life an unnamed dragon. The tale is fantastic and complex, but nevertheless interesting.
However, it is centuries old. Because of this movie producers decided to spruce things up and update Beowulf to compete with 21st century mentalities, which don’t exactly view dragons guarding gold as exciting. Grendel’s mother receives a makeover. Originally an old shabby, swamp-ridden, woman, she becomes a vengeful vixen who tempts Beowulf and is spared from death. The hero is also left to live in Danish lands contrary to literature, becoming king and marrying a simple girl rather than a powerful deserve-to-be queen. The updated story pretty much becomes more attractive for the OK Magazine addict audience of today.
The changes can be accepted because of the graphics that accompany the flick. Animators successfully recreate the era environments with images of Denmark’s countryside, vast and green, and gruesome battles. The characters are also interesting, since they appear like the real deal yet have rubber-looking faces. It is a different style of animation to get used to, specifically because the animated humans move sluggishly.
On the bright side the dialogue portrays the actors that inspired the movie’s cast well. Ray Winstone, who is the least similar to his animated self, successfully enlivens Beowulf’s macho image with energetic roars and speech. Jolie’s Old English also adds to her character in being enigmatic and sexy. If one were to close the eyes and only listen, it would be easy to decipher who is saying what.
The movie is appealing. Although not a masterpiece it is a box office hit. It involves what director, Robert Zemeckis, claims is the newest animation technology with mystical entertainment. The PG-13 rating could have been exchanged for a NC-17 because of the exposure-even if it is animation- and language, but overall Beowulf is entertaining and innovative.
Beowulf is now in theaters.