Beowulf has come to kill a “monstah” and release a Kingdom from it’s curse. He does this not for gold, but for glory and may the Gods help anyone who gets in his way. His desire to become a Legend in the eyes of men has become all consuming and when faced with the dangerous offer of immortality his only question is, “Where do I sign?”
Lets start off by saying this is one weird arsed attempt of a movie. Never before have a seen a film were the monsters are more realistic than the actors but “Beowulf” intentionally goes for this by adopting a motion capture style. It is all a bit odd as actors you know such as Anthony Hopkins as a King and and Ray Winstone as “Beowulf” are strange hybrids of themselves. Winstone is particularly disturbing as the chiseled hero of the movie. His voice is unmistakable yet he looks like he has been on the Atkins while having laser surgery on every body part. In fact, he looks like Sean Bean! Why on earth they did not just cast Sean Bean in the role is anybodys guess as Winstone gives dodgy “Sharpe” speeches throughout anyway.
I get the feeling this is supposed to be a Greek tragedy of a film. The trading of your soul for immortality is hardly a new concept. In this fantasy genre can it can be a great way of understanding and empathising with a flawed hero. However, any empathy we are supposed to share with “Beowulf” is quickly lost as we realise the man is a complete tosser. This is a shallow, arrogant man who lives only for glory. There is no Faustian attempt at knowledge to improve mankind and everything he does is out of a self-centred narcissism. This makes him intensely unlikeable and difficult to watch. This is not helped by the feel of the film were the monsters show more emotion than the human characters. Barely a facial muscle moves throughout the film and it is always a bad sign when a computer generated image out acts every actor in the film.
The motion capture technology does not help me to feel anything for the supporting characters either. Am I supposed to care about Anthony Hopkins’s King? I care even less for his Queen who, as all women do in the film, looks like a reject from a “Shrek” movie. This is a film that is all about cavorting in halls and then getting your head bitten off. It is all a bit strange as it seems to be a very serious attempt at fantasy yet definitely comes as “Shrek: The Directors Cut”.
Considering the 12 certificate this is one graphic movie in terms of blood and violence. Okay so the blood is all cartoon like but it is in such abundance and the violence is so graphic that remain surprised that a child would be able to see this. The action largely involves arms being ripped off and bodies turn asunder and for some bizarre reason “Beowulf” likes to fight naked. This is not only ridiculous but leads to lots of Austin Powersesque “hide the penis” items being used. Angelina Jolie also seems to serve no purpose other than being demonic and completely naked and it all feels a bit silly. I cannot help but feel this would have been a potentially great anime movie but in this weird hybrid of a fantasy epic is not.
Now don’t get me wrong, the action sections are spectacular and the film is almost saved by some spectacular monster fighting sequences. The monsters themselves are brilliant and clearly steal the show. It is therefore, a bit of a shame that I wanted them to win as I am sure that is not the films intention. I think the makers were going for a classic “Voyages of Sinbad” approach but they clearly forgot that it was the people that were real and the monsters that were fake in these kinds of films. Never have I wanted a hero to have his head ripped off so badly!
“Beowulf” is a film that looks totally unconvincing and has no charm. The cast list might be impressive but give nothing but generic overacting to their badly drawn characters. I cannot stress strongly enough that this is a film to be avoided.