MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:53 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Rogin Wright Penn, Angelina Jolie
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Pictures
Kiddie Movie: It should really be rated R.
Date Movie: Only if she likes video games.
Gratuitous Sex: Would have been better in real life.
Gratuitous Violence: Even though video-game-ish, there was a ton of it.
Action: The dragon scene at the end.
Laughs: A chuckle here and there.
Memorable Scene: Hrothgar’s final questioning of Beowulf about how Beowulf got away from Grendel’s mom.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

I love technology, and I love CGI for the most part, but so far, between “The Polar Express” and now “Beowulf,” I still can’t stand performance capture movies. I guess I’ll get more into that later, let’s first get to the story of “Beowulf.”

If I ever had to read “Beowulf” I must have really hated it because I have absolutely no recollection of the story. Pretty much, though, the movie gives us Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) as King of some land up in Viking land. He’s an old dude, but has a younger wife, Wealthow (Robin Wright Penn). Even though Hrothgar brags about his killing a dragon, there’s this strange creature, Grendel (Cripsin Glover), who really doesn’t like the singing going on in town so he attacks it a lot. The King is finally fed up and says that the town will no longer have any fun, so as not to have Grendel come back, and that they need a hero to kill the beast.

Enter Beowulf (Ray Winstone).

Beowulf’s some kind of badass who has heard that the land has a creature to slay, and he and his men are just the people to slay it. Of course knowing that those who have tried to kill Grendel have used various weapons to no avail, Beowulf figures it’s best to fight the beast in his birthday suit, with his willy hidden by various objects, reminiscent of “Austin Powers.” And so Beowulf kills Grendel and now Grendel’s Mother (Angelina Jolie) is both pissed but also looking for some lovin’ and a new son. Beowulf, in the meantime, is looking to stop the violence, and maybe a kingdom wouldn’t hurt, so hey, he takes one for the team.

Beowulf eventually becomes King, replacing Hrothgar, and his reign is pretty benign, with his folks pretty much running roughshod over neighboring regions, but then some things change, Grendel’s Mother is pissed again, and now a dragon threatens to destroy Beowulf’s kingdom, or at least kill his Queen Wealthow (she became his when Hrothgar died), and his young hottie to sleep with girl, I believe she was Ursula (Alison Lohman). So it’s up to Beowulf to save the day, and hopefully, once and for all, remove the curse from the land.

In its premise “Beowulf” had so much potential to captivate me the same way I loved “300,” but damn, I just can’t get over the performance capture look that just gives the film cartoonish feel, like I’m watching a video game. For me I would have liked to see Robin Wright Penn in real life as the Queen, maybe Ray Winstone wouldn’t be buff enough but I think he’d still be good in real life as Beowulf, and the animation work they did for Angelina Jolie, well, they might as well just had her there in real life, and I think Unferth’s character (he was in line to be King until Beowulf came along) would have been better played by a real John Malkovich. Hell, it even would have been better seeing Anthony Hopkins old-man butt when his toga-thing almost falls off rather than the cartoon version.

The only thing I guess “Beowulf” being “animated” helped was the fact that the MPAA, in its still bizarre wisdom, let a movie that had tons of violence, lots of people getting pulled apart, lots of talk about sex (although no one dropped the F-bomb), general debauchery, and Angelina Jolie might at well have been naked for real because the only thing missing from her character when it came out of the water were some nipples and a landing strip, be rated PG-13. I guess even when the line between real and cartoon becomes as close as “Beowolf” put it, being a cartoon lets you get away with a lot more.

As much as the look of the movie bugged me and really disconnected me from the story, I went to see this version of “Beowulf” in 3-D, and I will give props to 3-D technology because it has become incredible, but so far it’s been limited to cartoon movies, of which “Beowulf” technically is (though there was a preview for “Journey to the Center of the Earth” next year, with real people, that looks very cool). If you do see this movie do yourself a favor and spend the extra two bucks (which I don’t really understand because I didn’t get to keep the glasses) to at least be a little dazzled.

In the end “Beowulf” just didn’t wrap me in to a movie that done in real life, and just going balls out for the R rating like “300” did, well, it probably could have been fantastic for me. As such I’ve got to only give the movie 2 stars out of 5. The only reason I can tell you to see this movie is for the 3-D version because it will give you a glimpse of the future of movies.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!