Pix & Flix

Movie News & Reviews from Hennessey Hometown Critics.
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Monday, March 17, 2008


Beowulf, the first preserved poem in Old English, should have been preserved in print just a little longer. This movie was so bad on so many different levels, English Lit teachers across the continent cannot count the ways.

The writing was uneven--from somewhat OK to farcical. The Nordic drinking songs could have come out of a Monty Python flick--the whole movie would have made a good Monty Python send-up, but it missed out on a good thing.

The director turned out cardboard stick-figures, leering, simpering, yelling, pouting, caracatures of epic personages gone California Bay. The line, "Don't touch me," can be sinister, cold, threatening, or whiney. The director goes for the whine. I really didn't like the Queen as she was interpreted and couldn't decide what image Beowulf was supposed to convey.

One expected blood and gore, at least if one has read the poem, but the wenching and the naked bodies were stilted and gratuitous. Beowulf fighting Grendal sans clothing could have been a golden moment if the director had been a little less modest, but the objects thrown into view to shield our male hero's proof of masculinity got to be so comical that the entire scene became ludicrous. For gosh sakes, show all or get the man a loin cloth, don't play maiden aunt censor!

The concept was excellent--just the kind of idea that would play well in a Senior English class--hero who goes out to build his legend at the expense of truth, then finds himself forced to step into the words and become the image he has created. There's some really fine depth there, using the events that the poem hyperbolizes to explain the poem that emerged. Unfortunately, neither the director, nor the writers, nor the actors were able to breathe life into the concept, and the movie became a lost thing trying to find its voice.

Poor movie.

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