Movie Review: Beowulf (2007)

Let me start this particular movie review off by saying I’m a big fan of animated movies. I’m an even bigger fan of films starring real, flesh and blood actors and actresses. I am not however, a proponent of the stop-action animation that mixes these two forms of movies together. Apparently, Robert Zemeckis is. One of his previous movies, The Polar Express, used this methodology to, what I felt was, a disastrous result. So although I had been anxiously awaiting Beowulf, I had some mighty concerns on how it was going to play out using this technique.

But I guess a few years of technological advancements (The Polar Express was released in 2004) can make all the difference. The animation in Beowulf looks fantastic. Most of the movement jerkiness that plagued the other movies has been remedied and this format allows for a more seamless and realistic mixture between wholly animated creatures and the digitized actors. It is still a bit creepy looking at real people overlaid with this computer generated imagery (CGI) but it lends itself well to the Dark Ages setting of the movie.

As for the story itself, I don’t think there is any question as to whether or not it would translate well to the big screen. It’s been done previously several times, just not faithfully to the 6th century poem from whence it came (this version takes a few liberties itself). It’s a story about ego and pride and how it can cause the ruin of even the most stalwart of heroes. The hero in this case is obviously, Beowulf (Ray Winstone). He’s arrived on the shores of King Hrothgar’s (Anthony Hopkins) and Queen Wealthow’s (Robin Wright Penn) kingdom with a plan to slay Grendel (voiced by Crispin Glover), a hideous creature that has been wreaking havoc to all on the countryside. But alas all is not what it seems. It turns out there is a nasty little secret surrounding the monster and the kingdom and Beowulf learns of it when he runs into Grendel’s mother (Angelina Jolie). She reveals the truth and makes him an offer only the humblest of men can resist. In doing so, she ensures her stranglehold on the land and on the men who inhabit it.

For an animated piece, I was particularly taken aback by the level of nudity offered up by Beowulf. Jolie, pours on the sexiness. She’s uses a serpentine seductress voice and strips down to her birthday suit. Watching her gracefully slip out of the water dripping gold from her breasts is quite the sight even though she is digitized and muted (I don’t recall seeing nipples). Our hero strips to the buff as well for one of the better fight scenes of the movie, although thankfully his package is creatively obscured (think Austin Powers) throughout.

And speaking of fights, they are well shot, violent and bloody. Each skirmish is captured from multiple angles and many scenes are slowed down to help catch the intensity of the moment. The final fight is grand in nature and in my opinion, is eclipsed only by the ambitious battle sequences in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

With his latest offering, I believe Zemeckis has hit himself another home run. He’s a great storyteller and deserves a great deal more credit than he has been given (take a look at the movies he’s directed and you’ll be impressed too). Even more impressive is he’s made me a believer in this new animation technique. Beowulf is a movie that deserves to be seen, so get your AD&D friends together for a night out of the basement and check it out.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
5 Star Rating: Fantastic


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: Beowulf (2007)' have 12 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 18, 2007 @ 12:54 am Hide Ip

    I thought it was okay, not great. But I was tired when I was watching it. I think the plot was good, the CG was a bit outdated though. (I’m a graphic designer).

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 18, 2007 @ 1:33 am Sirius Lee

    The CG in this movie brought to mind another favorite of mine, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. The special effects, coupled with the excellent script written by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary and the star power assembled for Beowulf made it a truly admirable adaptation of the heroic epic. Definitely stands up to the Lord of the Rings trilogy in comparison.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 18, 2007 @ 7:07 am sacha

    “It is still a bit creepy looking at real people overlaid with this computer generated imagery”

    Creepy is the best you could come up with? It’s downright fucked up looking, if you ask me.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 20, 2007 @ 11:19 pm Gyutae Park

    lol, funny comment sacha.

    Anyway, I’ve heard good things about this movie and plan on checking it out.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 24, 2007 @ 9:33 am FancyBaller

    See this movie in 3D. It is a LOT better.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 4, 2008 @ 11:13 am patrick

    the animation was pretty good, though the characters’ movement reminded me a lot of Shrek. At least Beowulf gives a pseudo-education in ancient literature (never had to read the book as a child)

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 7, 2008 @ 2:36 pm Asia'h Epperson

    I don’t really get how this movie was awarded a PG-13 certificate. It’s easy to put down Parental Guidance but exposing and expecting you to make a choice for your kids.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 24, 2008 @ 10:54 am curtains girl

    I cant figure it out why they decided to overlay graphics across everything. Its just to weird, its hard to get the right perspective. And the PG13? For what?

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 27, 2009 @ 8:19 pm Personalized Diet Man With Plan

    Jolie did indeed look lovely in this film. She clearly sticks to a healthy diet! Brad Pitt is one lucky man.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 19, 2009 @ 6:53 am HGH reviews

    I liked this film. 8/10

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 12, 2010 @ 2:41 am Martha

    I too love animated movies. I enjoyed Beowulf movie, its really great. The animation was well designed in this movie.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 16, 2012 @ 2:32 pm Ryan

    Why are all reviews for this movie so terribly written? As part of a college literature class, I need to find three reviews of a Beowulf adaption and take note of how the reviewers mentioned differences between the movie and the source material.

    Yet all of said reviews seem more focused on whining about how poor little baby reviewers “saw too much blood boohoo” or “oh cool there were lots of boobs make sure to up-vote me on youtubes!!!”. I mean really now, why public your thoughts if they’re going to be this inane. The internet is cluttered enough as it is.

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