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Beowulf & Grendel [Blu-ray] [Import]
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The Dane King Hrothgar (Stellan Skarsgård) crosses paths with a troll (instead of some Harry Potter or Shreck type creature this is more of a Neanderthal) who had the audacity to steal a fish. That is a killing offence. Unfortunately after the troll is dispatched Hrothgar realizes he left a trollet behind. Through an act of kindness or for some other reason he lets the little Grendel (Hringur Ingvarsson) survive. Now grown up Grendel (Ingvar E. Sigurdsson. Actually two actors) as required by tradition takes revenge on Danes.
With out knowing the facts the Geet hero Beowulf (Gerard Butler,) (twelve years later, even though they are a day's sail away) hears about King Hrothgar plight and takes his men to the rescue. There he meets a distraught King, a mad monk, a witchy woman and an illusive and cunning Grendel.
One thing that gives the film worth is that Grendel may be strong but mortal and Beowulf is not as strong as 30 men; this makes the tale more like something that could have really happened and turned into a myth.
You will enjoy the real scenery and the refreshing absence of all that mind warping CGI.
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!
The whole concept of this film was based around, "What would it be like if Beowulf were based on an event that actually happened? How might we tell it?"
One of the biggest complaints of the movie is in regards to the amount of swearing. The swearing actually goes way way back in history and one must remember that Christianity was not the big thing back then, as well as the culture itself being non-Christian (pagan). To the critics I say, lighten up and realize that there is more than one kind of belief system in the world.
People argue that it's not true to the original story. But the film makers had to make a creative choice, stay true to the sanitized barbarians who bore no resemblance to the scandinavians of the time, or stay true to the feel of the age while re-envisioning one third of the original story to make it feel like something that could have actually happened. It's simply not possible for a man to totally rip Grendel's arm completely off. Try pulling a wing off an uncooked chicken and it'll give you a good idea.
If you watch the film carefully, you won't see Beowulf's men seeing what Beowulf sees. For example, on their journey to Daneland, nobody sees the sea witch grab Beowulf's arm, as he had his back to them. That's why they look at him wondering why he was suddenly so upset. The men don't see Grendel's arm come off as he killed the one witness (apart from Beowulf) before prying off his arm with a spear head for leverage.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on May 19 2012 by Daffy Bibliophile
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
As most legends go, the story is quite intricate. I had never heard of it and found it quite interesting. Read morePublished on Nov. 20 2010 by Angel
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 morePublished on Sept. 6 2006 by David Meyler
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 morePublished on July 29 2006 by Susan A. Lambert
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. Read more
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