The film opens with Beowulf (Christopher Lambert) breaking through a siege-line to save a girl (only to die seconds later) and enter the unnamed outpost so that he can stop the attacks of the evil creature Grendel.
What I Didn't Like
- King Hrothgar is portrayed as a weak leader and adulterer, whereas the Poem portrays him as a good strong king.
- 'Hrothgar' is pronounced with a silent 'H' instead of the wonderful guttural it contains.
- Beowulf is not a heroic man empowered by God, but rather a half-demon who's father is Ba'al.
- Beowulf's half-demon heritage apparently affords him two super-powers: 1. He is not as incompetent a fighter as those around him. 2. He can perform flips through the air! Multiple flips. Throughout the movie!
- Despite there being a whole host of supporting characters in the Poem, this film decided to invent a brand new cast of characters to support the story.
- The film is intrinsically derogatory to women. In their clothes (or lack there of). In their portrayal. And in their characterization.
- Grendel's mother is portrayed as a seductress who seduced Hrothgar which resulted in the birth of Grendel. While this is an interesting and unique idea, it sullies the moral framework of my favorite character.
- Much of the acting was terrible. Of particular shame was Grendel's Mother and "Roland" (whoever that is).
What I Liked
- The film was less than 90 minutes long.
- Heaven help me, but I really like Christopher Lambert. He was good in this.
- The setting of the story was phenomenal. While there were some misfires in the ancient weaponry (infused with futuristic features) the future-medieval setting was truly imaginative. I wish we could have learned more about this bizarre world.
- The Grendel monster was rather well done. The film-makers opted for a "less is more" approach and it really helped make Grendel appear terrifying!
I'm shocked that my first exposure to Beowulf didn't turn me away from the Poem altogether. (Although I remember reading the Poem the first time through and wondering when we were going to find out that Beowulf was sired by Ba'al.) This really was a film that had some phenomenal potential, but a host of misfires ruined it.
Rating: 2/5 (I Didn't Like It)