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    Beowulf Month: 1999 Film (Ahhhhhhh!)

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    What Did You Think About Beowulf 1999?

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    Nathan James Norman
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    Beowulf Month: 1999 Film (Ahhhhhhh!)

    Post  Nathan James Norman on August 12th 2013, 7:06 pm

    (Originally appears at my blog.)

    My first exposure to Beowulf was the 1999 film of the same name starring Christopher Lambert. The movie takes place, not in 7th century Scandanavia, but rather, in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world that blends elements of fantasy and science fiction together.
    The film opens with Beowulf (Christopher Lambert) breaking through a siege-line to save a girl enter the unnamed outpost so that he can stop the attacks of the evil creature Grendel.

    What I Didn't Like
    -King Hrothgar is portrayed as a weak leader and adulterer, whereas the Poem portrays him as a good strong king.
    -'Hrothgar' is pronounced with a silent 'H' instead of the wonderful guttural it contains.
    -Beowulf is not a heroic man empowered by God, but rather a half-demon who's father is Ba'al.
    -Beowulf's half-demon heritage apparently affords him two super-powers: 1. He is not as incompetent a fighter as those around him. 2. He can perform flips through the air! Multiple flips. Throughout the movie!
    -Despite there being a whole host of supporting characters in the Poem, this film decided to invent a brand new cast of characters to support the story.
    -The film is intrinsically derogatory to women. In their clothes (or lack there of). In their portrayal. And in their characterization.
    -Grendel's mother is portrayed as a seductress who seduced Hrothgar which resulted in the birth of Grendel. While this is an interesting and unique idea, it sullies the moral framework of my favorite character.
    -Much of the acting was terrible. Of particular shame was Grendel's Mother and "Roland" (whoever that is).


    What I Liked

    -The film was less than 90 minutes long.
    -Heaven help me, but I really like Christopher Lambert. He was good in this.
    -The setting of the story was phenomenal. While there were some misfires in the ancient weaponry (infused with futuristic features) the future-medieval setting was truly imaginative. I wish we could have learned more about this bizarre world.
    -The Grendel monster was rather well done. The film-makers opted for a "less is more" approach and it really helped make Grendel appear terrifying!


    I'm shocked that my first exposure to Beowulf didn't turn me away from the Poem altogether. (Although I remember reading the Poem the first time through and wondering when we were going to find out that Beowulf was sired by Ba'al.) This really was a film that had some phenomenal potential, but a host of misfires ruined it.

    Rating: 2/5 (I Didn't Like It)

      Current date/time is December 7th 2016, 7:25 am