Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Movie Review: Beowulf

Movie: Beowulf (2007)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Production House: Paramount (Viacom, the same company that owns MTV, VH1 and Nick)
Genre: Mythology
Starring: Ray Winstone as Beowulf, Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother, Woody Schultz as Aesher, and others
Special Features: viewed in 3D
Rating: **** (Very Good) + ***** (Excellent) for 3D SFX
International Distributor: IMAX
The legendary tale of the warrior Beowulf, epitomized in an ancient poem, is brought to 3D life by director Robert Zemeckis. Set in 6th Century Denmark, the movie charts through the trials and tribulations of a small Danish Kingdom led by an incumbent, drunk king and cursed by the Grendel: the last child of the demons.

The story is filled with plots and sub-plots: treachery, lies, revelery, freshly prepared mead and a lot of that three lettered 'S' word.
However, the movie is overloaded with nudity and mild scenes of sexuality. The main character Beowulf, for instance, spends most of the first hour naked, his manhood subtly hidden behind candles, fog and even a sword: kudos to the director for this half-hearted attempt at pleasing the censor board!

This, of course, means that Beowulf is not a family flick (it's rated PG-13). That does not however, mean that it's not entertaining. With ultra-cool 3D effects (in which you can have a spear poking right at your nose and a tree's branch slicing through you!) and an excellent storyline, this movie hardly counts as a noshower.
Getting to the story, it's based on an ancient English poem that runs into more than 3,000 lines and shares the same name. A Kingdom in Denmark is under seige of the demon Grendel and Beowulf is the only person who manages to defeat it. However, the death of Grendel releases the horrific wrath of his mother (Angelina Jolie). When Beowulf tries to finish her off too, he finds himself enamoured by her beauty and the desire to bear her a child. So they do the smoochin' and the snoggin' and a contract is sealed wherein Beowulf's kingdom (he's just been made the new King) would be demon-free as long as Mommy Demon keeps a golden drum.
Then of course the movie follows the old trail: Beowulf becomes legend, conquerer of lands, vanquisher of demons and all that mumbo jumbo. Then his son returns and lays seige on his kingdom, and Beowulf kills his son and dies in the process. The End.
The music is just great: a song sung by the queen to the tune of a harp, it takes you to a mystical world. The tune itself is unforgettable.
As for constumes, I'd say the designer deserves an award. From clothing kinghts and kings to disguising Angelina Jolie's private parts (which he mostly fails at doing), the costumes fit perfectly. Of course, the easiest part must have been designing Beowulf's costume: he's naked most of the time!
But for the very art of storytelling, Beowulf deserves full points. You will never feel bored while you watch the movie. Either it's the hilarious (and at times vulgar) jokes, the mighty fighting scenes, the mystical music or simply the 3D-ness of it all, this movie is a must-see for all!


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