Monday, 23 December 2013

Advent calendar 2013: day 23 "Beowulf"

Not long to go until Christmas! Today’s peek behind the advent calendar door reveals to us Beowulf. Yes, we’ve done Beowulfalready, but that was “Beowulf and Grendel” starring Gerard Butler. This is the 2007 animated picture written by Neil Gaiman. We’ve covered a lot of ground already there in what to expect of a Beowulf movie, and the fight scenes in this are suitably violent, and Grendel comes across a lot more sympathetically in this film.

Beowulf sadly is not a character portrayed with much depth. Throughout most of the film he is a shouty ,angry hero, telling everyone how great he is, and not really doing much to endear the audience to him. "I! AM! BEOWULF! And I've come to kill your monster." Etc. When he does make a mistake in the scene with Grendel’s mother, it is almost with a sense of relief that he is human after all.

Beowulf’s mother is interesting; rather being a screeching hag as seen in other versions, she is seductively portrayed by Angelina Jolie. This is where the plot majorly diverges from the original text, and I’m not going to give any spoilers, but it does lead to the introduction of the dragon in the final part of the film. This is particularly welcome, as it is not often that we find the dragon in a cinematic production of Beowulf, because the focus is usually on the Grendel part of tale.

This film already dates badly. The animation was tip-top when it was made, but with advancements made by such films as Avatar which came out two years later, it was quickly outclassed.

It is an enjoyable film, with a brilliant musical score. You can obtain it on DVD from Amazon UK by clicking here.