Ken's Review: Beowulf - Not Just A Movie, An Experience
by Ken Evans
November 24, 2007
To be completely honest, I was not ready for Beowulf. After watching the trailers and reading a few early reviews I thought I knew what to expect. You might have read some of the same things I did about how Beowulf is the future. You might have heard that this is the beginning of something new and different, something that no one has ever seen before. Well, I read those things and pretty much put them aside as hype and just expected to see another animated film with closer-to-lifelike CG then has previously been achieved. I was wrong, and like I already said, I was not ready for this film.
Beowulf is a story about heroes having to deal with and face their shame. Unfortunately, I don't remember the story from school so I can't compare it to the film. In the movie, King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) is having a party to celebrate the completion of his gathering hall. The singing and cheering from the hall awaken the monster Grendel (Crispin Glover). Grendel comes down from his cave and kills half of the warriors in the hall until Hrothgar steps in and causes Grendel to flee. Hrothgar spreads the word through the land, promising treasure to whoever can kill the monster Grendel. Hearing about this challenge, Beowulf (Ray Winstone) travels from across the sea with his mighty warriors and close friend Wiglaf (Brendan Gleeson) to kill Grendel. Beowulf soon comes to find out that Grendel's mother (Angelina Jolie) is also living in the cave above the village and that Hrothgar knows more than he is telling.
I have seen Beowulf twice now in the theaters, once in IMAX 3D and once in Digital 3D. I enjoyed it more in Digital 3D as it was much crisper and clearer. While IMAX is bigger, which was awesome to see, it has the annoying problem that if you turn your head the picture gets a bit distorted. That being said if you haven't already seen Beowulf, then you must see it in 3D. I don't care if you have to drive to the next town to see it, don't settle for anything less then 3D. This is one of the reasons I wasn't prepared for this film. The last time I saw 3D was the 3D Shrek show in Universal Studios Orlando. Beowulf in 3D was literally jaw dropping. During the two scenes with Grendel and the final scene with the dragon I had my mouth open in awe.
What I saw during Beowulf excited me because it isn't just a movie, it's an experience. For the second viewing I took my family to see it because I didn't want them to miss the film that changes how we experience movies at the theater. But it isn't just about the 3D in Beowulf. The story is deep and complex, I noticed this much more during my second time watching it. I think I was so distracted by the visuals the first time that I wasn't focusing on the story. This isn't just about a hero killing monsters. It's about heroes who are still human, heroes who are flawed and weak when they need to be strong. It's about admitting when one has made a mistake and trying to put it right instead of hiding it. This is a great story that compliments the visuals instead of relying solely on them.
This was almost a perfect film. The only problem I had was feeling like it was a bit slow in parts, and the character movement in the slow parts was a bit jerky. Other than that, I thought it was amazing and I absolutely loved it. If you still need a reason to see it watch this trailer. This is my favorite of the many trailers and it actually got me pumped to see it again. Just remember to see it in 3D. If you don't, I'm sure it will still be great, but you won't have seen it as it was meant to be seen.