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By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Beowulf is an ancient English epic poem written in 700 AD told through animation. It is a simple story about a Geatland warrior Beowulf (Ray Winstone) who arrives on Danish shores to rid them of a monster known as Grendel (Crispin Glover). Grendel's mother (Angelina Jolie) is both stunning and seductive in the movie. The movie is directed by Robert Zemeckis of Forest Gump and Back to the Future Fame.
The film has a perfect opening and showcases the brutal nature of that era. Danish King, Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins), inaugurates his newly constructed mead-hall. The townsfolk and soldiers are are intoxicated and enjoying however the King's beautiful young bride, Queen Wealtheow (Robin Wright Penn), is aloof from her husband and his subjects.
The joy turns into sorrow when a gruesome monster named Grendel (Crispin Glover) attacks the hall, killing half the people. Grendel has done it previously and he is a threat to the kingdom. King Hrothgar, challenges him and the the monster retreats back to his cave deep in the mountains.
Beowulf, a young hero from distant lands,pledges to kill the dreadful beast. His previous accounts of bravery hardly ease the worries of local townsfolk, who eye him with distrust. Unferth (John Malkovich), the king's advisor, predicts death for Beowulf and his men. He relates that Beowulf once lost a swimming contest in the North Sea to another hero named Breca.
In the original, the character Beowulf is completely one dimensional and seemingly without flaw. He is the archetypal hero. In the poem, he guffaws at Unferth's accusation, denies his claim and explains that he simultaneously won the competition and saved Breca's life by fighting off sea-monsters. Beowulf however has a weakness, his lust for beautiful women. He lost the race in the sea as he was seduced by a mermaid.
Beowulf fights Grendel completely naked. Grendel is injured and retreats to his lair, where we first meet his mother (Angelina Jolie). Hrothgar meanwhile tells Beowuld his past with Grendal's mother the Grendel is his son. Angelina appears to be seductive and seduces him for a son as a compensation for killing his son. Beowulf returns with Grendel and is crowned the king by Hrothgar who kills himself. Years later a handsome young man comes to his life.
Zemeckis has on many occassions deviated from the original poem and added cinematic touch to it. The movie is however not for the children as it is full of sex and violence. Visually one of the best ever movies created, the animation is top notch coupled with excellent sound effect and background scores. However the storyline at times seems to be inconsistent. Over all its a movie worth watching if not for anything than for Angelina's seductive role.