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.
Reader Feedback - 10 Comments
So... did you see the same movie I did? Cause I am pretty sure the Beowulf I saw was a epic piece of shit. It's like they didn't even try and stick to the Epic Poem. It's like they were handed a list of characters from the poem and were told "Make this look as fucking epic as bad ass as possible and put in Angelina Jolie naked in it as much as you fucking can... make sure you don't read the poem though.. that would make waaaay too much fucking since" But on top of all that are you sure you just weren't blinded by how it looked.. I will say it, the movie was really pretty to look at... that is about it. Other than that... it was pretty much just horrid.
CSpuppydog on Nov 25, 2007
I would say it was about dead even between Mr. Evan's and your view, CSpuppydog. It was beautiful in 3D. And there were deeper themes than I thought there were going to be. But I felt like it was made too comical and too far from the original material too not be taken superificially. The visuals were distracting from the story; the camera was flying around every god damn second, i mean c'mon.
Keith on Nov 25, 2007
You say it Ken Evans, it's a beautiful film. In Spain we don't have too much cinemas that offer the film in 3D Digital or IMAX 3D, only 10 cities in a country of more than 40 millions of persons have this opportunity. For me it was impossible to see the film in the better way, even though it was one of the best experiences in modern cinema I have ever seen.
Uruloki on Nov 25, 2007
I have to agree with CSpuppydog, this movie was total crap. The animation was horrible and not revolutionary...we have seen this a million times in video games. I don't get all the hyoe around it. Seeing it in 3D doesn't help it any. The big fight with Grendel and Beowulf was crap. They were more concerned with hiding Beowulf's penis. Show me more fighting, not you ingenious clever ways of hiding body parts.
Jeff Warner on Nov 25, 2007
Wow, This, in IMAX 3D is an incredible film, in the same category of the first Star Wars, almost as good as the second Lord of the Rings. The beauty of the move is two fold: One; The 3D IMAX experience is the difference like radio and Color TV, and two; the writing, the script, the intellectual embellishment of the original text - is sublime. Those that like movies that deserve a second viewing, and think the third viewing is even better, will love this movie. The cast is fabulous, the sound track, especially BEOWOLF's them is fabulous. The above comments are nuts.
jim on Nov 25, 2007
In these superficial times, a bunch of eye-candy on a cinema screen seems like enough to rate something as a brilliant movie. It's just not enough to look good.
avoidz on Nov 25, 2007
Definately have to say that it should be seen IN 3D. Didn't look like it would of had the same effect in regular theaters, especially with the digital animation quality and action sequencing.
Zach on Nov 26, 2007
Okay, I loved this movie (IMAX, 3D, the ONLY way!), but was bothered by the treatment of the female characters. I think I notice it because I am a gay man, but none of the female characters had any physical flaws, nor did they age correspondingly with the male characters. I guess my gripe here is, Hollywood loves to ideolize women (at least physically), because men want to lok at them, and women want to be assured that men are looking at them. Not only do I not find Jolie attractive, I find her actually a bit reptilian looking. Despite the fact that she is a demon, we never see her in any form other than that of a golden-skinned goddess. There is a suggestion that her real form is more terrifying, but we are denied it, instead being force-fed ideals about women who never age. Even the queen apparently only ages from early twenties to maybe late thirties, while Beowulf is clearly decades older.... Small complaint for an otherwise exceptional entertainment, but something most people may not pick up on as strongly as I do.
Chowski on Nov 26, 2007
you're totally right on, ken! beowulf rocked! it will be a cult classic....the visuals were great, it was mythic in action and gore and bawdy viking behavior. lit snobs who don't like it because it wasn't like the epic poem are just poor geeks who don't understand what movies are about to begin with. let them pick at their acne, have orgasms over chaucer and homer, while we enjoy great film like beowulf! i can only compare beowulf to an old classic like the heavymetal movie. it was that cool.
joe on Nov 27, 2007
this movie was a pile the cgi was choppy and the movie was nothing like the epic all copies of this should be burned so that this will never be done again if this cgi world and actors are to be animated please stop making movies now and save us our money time and precious eye sight gag gag worst movie in the history of cinema wow hollywood is in trouble if this crap keeps oozing out to the public this is totally a skeezy 40 year old live in my moms basement nerdo-freek gamers flik this movie actualy makes me shameful that i enjoy watching movies so do yourself a favor buy as many copys as you can and send them to people you hate for christmas you will never have to deal with them again
non-fan on Jan 25, 2008
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