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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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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Toronto Film Festival Star June 4 2006
By Allison
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 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
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale Well Told May 19 2012
By Daffy Bibliophile TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is a great movie that is well worth a look. The production values are excellent, the scenery spectacular, and the characters well cast. Apart from the expected swordplay, there's also humanity in the characters and a surprising thread of humour running through the film (who says the old Norse didn't enjoy a good joke over a few beers).

This movie is not a CGI-generated swords and fantasy production from Hollywood, it's a well-made interpretation of the old Anglo-Saxon epic poem. I didn't find the plot overly complex despite what some claim, but it is a movie that requires the viewers to pay attention in order to follow along and that's not a hard thing to do at all.

Just a heads up for parents: there is profanity and two short sex scenes.
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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
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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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Epic with Serious and Comic Touches April 10 2006
This film was shown three times at the Sarasota Film Festival although it was originally scheduled twice. It sold out so fast a special third screening was added due to popular demand. On Sunday April 9, 2006 I was fortunate enough to attend. Prior to the show, the Producer and Director were introduced who answered questions after the film. The most interesting questions and answers related to how the ideas and vision of this epic story were creatively conceived and made into reality within the setting of Iceland. It was a six year project from idea to finished product ... It was a huge hit at the Toronto Film Festival and was an equal smash at the Sarasota Film Festival. This film deserves wider distribution at theaters throughout the USA and internationally. It has all the qualities of a multimillion dollar multiple-award Oscar-winning film.

Gerard Butler is superbly cast as Beowulf, a hero and fighter from Greatland who comes to help the Danes fight a troll who has been wreaking havoc among them ... The King of the Danes provides a background of the troll's murderous activity but fails to tell the whole truth to Beowulf and his mighty warriors. The scenery in Iceland is breath-takingly beautiful - views of stark rocky mountains, steep icey cliffs, green hillsides and crashing waves against the shoreline. Although, the Danes were fierce fighters a certain fear had taken hold - they no longer trusted their own gods to support and protect them. They were fighting a troll who managed to elude their fiercest efforts ... The Danes succumbed to baptism and the beliefs of the after life as taught by wandering Christian monks. Amazingly, even the Danish King was baptized after falling deeply into depression and alcoholism while watching some of his best men die.
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Most recent customer reviews
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Even seen numerous times, you still see things you missed before.
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. Read more
Published on July 30 2006 by Susan A. Lambert
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty darn good, could have been better

Ok, I got my DVD yesterday, and watched it last night. When I opened the package, the case had been crushed. Read more
Published on July 25 2006 by Benjamin Smith
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 25 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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