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Beowulf & Grendel [Blu-ray] [Import]

Sarah Polley , Stellan Skarsgrd , Sturla Gunnarsson    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 32.95
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The otherworldly landscape of Iceland lends an appropriate touch of dark fantasy to this modern retelling of Beowulf, the oldest epic poem in the English language. Gerard Butler (The Phantom of the Opera) brings the right balance of physicality and world-weariness as the Swedish hero Beowulf, who travels to Denmark to fight the monstrous troll Grendel (Icelandic superstar Ignvar Sigurdsson), which has been plaguing the house of King Hrothgar (Stellan Skarsgård, buried under a mound of prosthetic hair). However, what transpires is not a battle between good and evil, but a convoluted mystery of sorts, with Beowulf playing the detective who discovers that his foe is more human than monster, and Hrothgar less wronged innocent than catalyst for his own downfall. Director Sturla Gunnarsson succeeds in pulling this legendary story from the dust of academics by contemporizing the dialogue (Andrew Rai Berzins has an excellent ear for hard-bitten palaver), and his visuals are nothing less than striking, but the film attempts to be both monster movie and melancholy drama, while never quite satisfying the requirements of either genre. Regardless, the quality cast (which includes Sarah Polley from Dawn of the Dead as a sharp-tongued witch with a connection to Grendel) and some well-handled action sequences should hold viewers’ attention even when the unnecessarily complex plot does not. --Paul Gaita

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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality Scenic Film With A Great Sense Of Humor July 6 2006
Format:DVD
I just saw this film in San Francisco. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this troll myth but some gory violence and primitive script spoken with unintelligible accent.

So I was more than pleasantly surprised when the impacting music and the spectacular pristine scenery quickly took me into the world where a giant's young son experiences a major trauma of getting his dad killed in front him and grows up alone and isolated with retribution in mind. So this Grendel is actually portrayed much more as a human with an unfortunate fate than a murderous monster without any personal identity, and I liked that. Beowulf who steps up initially to exterminate the troll starts sensing and detecting that there's more to this huge person than what was told of him, particularly after one of the troll's visit to the king's beer house (in which all Grendel did was pee on the front door to tease the warriors inside -- this scene was really funny). A great sense of humor with a modern twist is felt all throughout this film and really lightened up this stark ice-clad Scandinavian setting, and save the film from being unnecessarily dark and serious.

All the actors were great. Skarsgard (Hrothgar) and Butler (Beowulf) in particular, fit right into their roles. Although Sarah Polley's accent did't really mesh with the rest and her portrayal of the character was a bit too modern at times, she played the part of the mysterious firey witch really well.

Gunnarson's interpretation of the tale, making Beowulf's compassion towards the troll and those around the troll an integral part of the epic, really sets this film way apart from the rest of the average monster movies, and makes this a classy entertainment film of its own. No, it's not your typical trashy monster movie. It's WAY better than that and IS worth your viewing time if you have good enough a taste for a quality film with substance and many subtleties.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Toronto Film Festival Star June 4 2006
By Allison
Format:DVD
I saw this film at the Toronto Film Festival 2005. For a movie that realied completely on nature and make-up, it is amazingly scenic. No weird CGI creatures or backdrops, it's all real. The script is quite funny and the storyline and interpretation is very well thought out. This is the best Beowulf interpretation I've yet encountered. And the DVD promises to be PACKED with goodies!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hot Scot in a cold climate! June 24 2006
Format:DVD
This movie is excellent, the scenery is divine, the cast has been chosen to perfection(well apart from when Ms Polley's speaks, the accent doesn't mix with the rest of the cast's)

The movie has pretty much everything, drama, action, comedy,even a teeny sex scene with the Gorgeous Viking Beowulf- he really is a beo wulf= Live Wolf;(Can I keep him please!) Gerard Butler is charismatic(as always) as the Geat hero.

Grendel is fantastic I really felt for the troll, the movie isn't a hollywood action flic, because this movie has credibility, BUY IT! Do yourself a favour watch a great movie and if you like intelligent gorgeous hero's with a heart you'll fall madly for Beowulf!
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Format:DVD
I did not expect a lot from this movie, however the tidbits and previews I saw on television, seemed to say otherwise. I purchased it from Amazon.Ca, because the States did not have it available until September.

Knowing that the breathtaking scenery I was seeing, was real and not CGI'd, almost gave me goose bumps, it was so unbelievably beautiful ! You could imagine a real communion of the soul and a very near presence of God. The clouds, fog, horizontal rain, snow crusted elevations, unrelenting wind, and 45 foot waves crashing onto the rocky shore, all became characters in this awe inspiring epic tale.

STURLA GUNNARSSON not only did a masterful job of directing, but it was as if he had a computer give him the perfect actor for each role! Or maybe it WAS just his innate talent and vision for knowing exactly how it should all come together.

INGVAR SIGURDSSON gave Grendel emotion, conscience, and humor that was so unexpected, but perfectly played out. I am not ashamed to admit he made me cry when Grendel discovered his cave vandalized, and his father's remains destroyed. It was the most gut wrenching, mournful cry that came out of him. It made you relive the moment, when you first knew one of your parents were lost to you forever.

Beowulf was portrayed by GERRY BUTLER, with such intelligence and sensitivity, ..but with an innocence you would not expect. You could see Beowulf starting out with confidence, leading his men on a mission to help King Hrothgar get rid of a menacing, evil troll. Beowulf found that his need to seek the truth, and do the right thing, was not always as easy as he first thought, and it came with a price. It took a personal toll on him, but you could see him grow from it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty darn good, could have been better July 24 2006
Format:DVD
WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW

Ok, I got my DVD yesterday, and watched it last night. When I opened the package, the case had been crushed. :( Thankfully the DVD was not marred.

As for the movie itself, I really liked it. It was certainly an adaptation of the poem, as there were additional characters not found in the poem, and many variations to the characters actually described in the poem. A few major and several minor differences and variations aside, it was pretty faithful to the epic I love. I actually like the movie over the poem in certain aspects. Since the poem was written after the Christian conversion of Anglo Saxon England, there was a high amount of Christianity found throughout, even though it was set in a time before the spread of Christianity in the region. The movie had a wonderful mix of paganism and Christianity. I enjoyed the interaction between the heathens (many of whom wore Thor's Hammer pendants) and the newly converted Christians. In that way it was probably more faithful to history vesus the poem itself. I also liked the story of Grendels origin, and the way he wasn't made out to be 'just some beast'. In the poem, he is simply demonized. But having read John Gardners "Grendel" and understanding the character of Grendel much more, I really appreciated the way Grendel was portrayed.

The one thing I did not like about the movie was more of a casting issue than anything else. One new character, Salma, played by Sarah Polly, was disappointing. Having a seith-woman (witch) was an interesting addition, but her role was poorly written, in my opinion, and also fairly pointless. Also, the actress herself may not have been the best choice. Every one of the actors had an accent, except her.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale Well Told
This is a great movie that is well worth a look. The production values are excellent, the scenery spectacular, and the characters well cast. Read more
Published on May 19 2012 by Daffy Bibliophile
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I thought this was an OK movie. It only deals with a portion of the Beowolf novel. It is certainly a good effort.
Published on Nov. 1 2011 by Juan Luis Vasquez
4.0 out of 5 stars Beowulf and Grendel - a legend
As most legends go, the story is quite intricate. I had never heard of it and found it quite interesting. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2010 by Angel
5.0 out of 5 stars Selma (Sarah Polley) can bewitch you with her forwardness and charm
The story is now nearly two thousand years old. We are used to the written version that was solidified centuries later. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2008 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars The bones of the story
Some regard this film as an international movie. The truth is, without the Canadian screenwriter and director, this film would never have happened. Read more
Published on July 31 2007 by Vance L. Schowalter
4.0 out of 5 stars Beowulf the Anti-Hero
If you are expecting a literal retelling of the epic, heroic poem, you won't get it from this movie. That's not a criticism on my part. Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2006 by David Meyler
4.0 out of 5 stars history changed
After watching the Beowulf and Grendel trailer for months and months on my computer, the Canadian amazon finally got me my copy here in the states. Read more
Published on July 24 2006 by W. Grass
4.0 out of 5 stars Think period piece and not fantasy hack and slash
Here'' the deal. I would have personally done a lot of things differently, like making the characters in the film a little more hardy and the action scenes more violent. Read more
Published on July 22 2006 by Wyatt
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