Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Movie Review - Beowulf

Today I went back and pulled out a movie I've not seen in a while, Beowulf. This is a prime example of how to NOT make a movie. It follows a similar formula to that of the video game I have ranted on before in my Let's Play, Dante's Inferno. Both take classic works of literature and decide to dumb them down and use the name to try and sell what is really a lack luster title. Both also take cues from other more famous works to try and make it more marketable to the masses. While Dante's Inferno was a shallow clone of God of War, Beowulf takes alot of ideas and visual cues from Fank Miller's 300. So how does this one fair compared to other movies? Read on...

First off, to get the good out of the way: The soundtrack is awesome, pure and simple. This is due to the fact that the score is composed by Alan Silvestri, who has a solid track record of providing some really energetic and awesome scores for movies. From the opening credits to the storm that Beowulf is sailing through to the final scene, the music really helps to try and elevate this to be more of a movie than it really is.

Second, the CGI work for the movie is REALLY good. The detail and effects are really polished and the characters have a real great amount of realism to them. Sadly they don't seem to be totally there, partly I think due to the voice acting, but the CGI has yet to properly capture the look and feel of a real person on screen. Which is the double edge of this blade, while the CGI is excellent (minus the dead eye look), with characters going for that amount of realism, why bother with CGI and just use real characters? Might've made the movie more enjoyable.

And now that we have those out of the way, for the bad parts of the movie...and let me catch my breath before I dive into this one...


There, now I'm ready.

First off, WHAT DID THEY DO TO BEOWULF!?!?! They turned this great warrior, who was an example of man into a joke. He was a lying, cheating, boasting, alcoholic womanizer. They tried to turn him into Captain Kirk, they just failed in capturing the awesome of Kirk. Kirk was an alcoholic womanizer, but he was awesome while doing it, Shatner had alot to do in that I think, but Beowulf comes off as very unlikable.

Also, the dragon that kills him in the epic poem? That's his son. Yeah, what a twist! This is the same moronic crap they pulled in Superman Returns, to make them more related able they give them a kid, not to mention destroy what made Beowulf into the hero he is supposed to be. It's this same BS they use when they make games these days, to make them more able to relate to the player, you usually have younger characters. And you know who people love most? The characters we know next to nothing about, or the older characters who have life experience behind them, not the young brat on a farm who gets swept up into the world's events. Seriously, tell a good story, not try to make a whiny brat of a character that everyone will hate because you want us to relate to him, a good story will give us a good character we can relate to.

But yeah, the crap doesn't stop there, they made Grendel look like a piece of rotted chewed up gum as he runs around whining. He wasn't evil, just misunderstood because he had a giant zit on the side of his head that Hrothgar's cheering in the hall caused him pain, hence he went on a killing spree. Yeah, that whole, "Humans are the real monsters" garbage is old and it's not good story telling, it's overly preachy BS that falls flat in the story. Grendel is EVIL, he is a demon of darkness, to make him into a sympathetic creature who has hearing problems is just annoying. It removes any real weight the character might have had, had he not looked like a rotten potato.

Grendel's mother isn't any better. They made her into Angelina Jolie. BULL. She's called a hag in the story, not, "A hot woman with big boobs that walks around naked." Seriously, they turn her into some sort of copy of the temptation of Adam and Eve, she seduces men with promises of riches and power, but they must give her a child, and guess who is Grendel's father? That's right, Hrothgar! They also turned him into a drunken fool who commits suicide and leaves his kingdom to Beowulf.

Both Hrothgar and Beowulf also have the same queen, they both also cheat on her and largely ignore her. Beowulf also shoved his spear into Grendel's mother, if you get my meaning, and the dragon that killed him in the epic poem is actually his son, in an extremely crappy and poor attempt to string the last part of the poem with the first. At the end the new king after Beowulf's death sees Grendel's mom and you hear the seduction theme and it seems to imply he too will give in, thus the cycle is never ending and thus Beowulf's act is totally pointless.

I really couldn't enjoy this movie, the crappy villains, ruining of the characters, and just poor actions of the characters make the unlikable to any degree. John Malkovich appears as a Dane that's turned Christian and spends most of his time speaking down to people and beating his slave with a stick and adds nothing to the story at all. He suffers without his stone, I suffer because of his bland performance. I hated this version of him more than in Eragon because there is more of him here.

Bad characters, horrible design choices, bad plot points, horrible changes to the story and characters in general, this movie just isn't good. The one positive thing to come out of this is actually an amusing Rifftrax. They always help make a bad movie good, and a good movie great. If you get this movie, get the rifftrax for it too, it'll help to alleviate the sheer amounts of crap they heaped upon this film and used Beowulf's name to try and sell it.

Oh, and they royally ripped off 300, instead of, "THIS IS SPARTA!" you got, "I AM BEOWULF!" He loves to scream his name like a loon, and strip, he likes getting naked. Beowulf, slayer of rotten potatoes, drinker of booze, sexer of womens, and flash of ze miniwulf.

Bleh to this movie.

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