(Review originally written at 4 September 2008)

This movie is like one big pile of long empty shots about nothing, with as a redeeming quality that it features some beautiful scenery, which really fits the Beowulf story. The movie was entirely shot in Iceland, Oscar nominated Icelandic director Sturla Gunnarsson's native country.

Problem is really the movie its script, that just never knows to pump any excitement into the movie. You could really say that "Beowulf & Grendel" is for most part a boring movie, in which just nothing happens for a long while. Of course there are some moments of action but it's so incredibly small scaled and fast cut off and above all things the movie more lays its emphasis on its scenery and (very dark) sets it seems. The actually story also quite differs from the original old poem about the Beowulf legend. It's of course OK to differ, though only if it is for the best of the movie and its story. Can't really say this is the case with this movie.

Gerard Butler probably just thought it would be a good practice for his "300" sword and sandals action-role to appear in this movie. I just can't imaging that it thanks to the script that he approved to star in this movie. Stellan Skarsgård also shows up in the role of Hrothgar. He is always good in these type of roles and this movie is no exception, though it obviously isn't the best or most interesting role out of his career, which is not his fault though really. Most of the other actors are below par. (Sarah Polley? Whoa! You are horrible!) There also appear a lot of Icelandic actors in the movie but they aren't given any large speaking parts. The spoken language of this movie is still plain English...well, more Scottish English actually. Most of the main characters remain totally uninteresting, including the main character Beowulf, which of course is obviously never a good thing for any movie.

Sturla Gunnarsson might know how to handle scenery but he just doesn't know how to bring a story interestingly and/or exciting. Also his action-direction is severely lacking. He is also a person with some documentaries under his belt. I think this is also were most of his talent lies. The one Oscar nomination he has received in his life (as of yet) also is for a Canadian produced documentary, entitled "After the Axe". No idea what that one is all about though. Apparently it's 'a cinematic drama that examines executive terminations and a new industry that specializes in handling them.' Sounds very interesting...My advice to him; start making some more nature documentaries, this is obviously were most of your talent lies.

All the movie is basically about is Beowulf trying to fight and kill the 'troll' Grendel, who is troubling and killing the Danes. All that ever happens though is Grendel refusing to fight Beowulf, with as a result lots of uninteresting mumbling about religion and long empty shots in which never interesting is ever happening. It's a very flat movie and I'm not too sure what they tried to achieve with it really. It's flawed in basically every department but foremost you should blame the script.

A boring small scaled epic, that is a real lackluster. Never thought I would say this but stick to the 2007 Robert Zemeckis version instead. I tend to believe that even the Christopher Lambert movie version is better than this one, even though I haven't even seen that movie yet.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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