Beowulf (film)

Although “Beowulf” was one of the most stupid movies I have ever seen, it actually made me think of several different aspects of the story that I found interesting. Despite most of my classmates finding the film completely inaccurate, I found some similarities between it and the translation of the book that we read. Obviously, there were more differences, as everyone has pointed out, but I didn’t find the movie to be 100% inaccurate.  

First of all, I found the character of Beowulf to be mostly true to character. In the movie, he is portrayed as arrogant, over-confident, and really annoying. For example, when he was explaining how he defeated all the sea monsters and when he burst through the monster’s eye screaming, “I AMM BEOWULFFF!!” I was completely frustrated with his character. I also found the way he treated women to be disgusting. Besides cheating on his wife with that young girl, he treated them all so disrespectfully. Beowulf was also characterized as a pompous and egotistical man in the translation of Beowulf that we read. People didn’t initially trust him and did not believe that he could defeat Grendel. I think that the movie depicted Beowulf fairly accurately. 

Grendel, on the other hand, was quite surprising to me. When reading, I imagined Grendel to be some satanic, animal-like monster from Hell. When I saw Grendel for the first time in the movie, he looked almost child-like. Well, a zombie-like child, but he definitely had human-like features. After getting over my initial hatred of Grendel (mostly because of the beyond-obnoxious wailing noises he made), I started to think about why Grendel was portrayed like this. Eventually I thought that the human-like features in Grendel were, in a way, showing how everyone has a monster in themselves. Also, because I mentioned that Grendel seemed very young, I think this almost showed that he was oblivious to the horrible acts that he had done, since children represent innocence and ignorance. I am not saying that Grendel was innocent, but just that he may not have been so at fault as many would believe him to be. In both versions of Beowulf, I actually almost pitied Grendel. The description of him being lonely, and of the tormented cries when Grendel had his arm ripped off, made me feel sympathy for the monster while reading the translation. Hearing the pain in Grendel’s screams, and the sadness in his facial expression was unnerving to me. 

The last character I would like to mention is the King at the beginning of the movie. I remember that although he didn’t do much when we read Beowulf, he was crying and mourning for the lost people of his kingdom. He desired so much to have Grendel killed, although he didn’t really take initiative to do anything about it. However, when observing him in the film, I got a very different impression. At many times, the king seemed almost indifferent to the attacks of Grendel. He never seemed to show any grief in the tone in which he spoke. He said that he wanted to be rid of Grendel, but, in the translation, didn’t do anything to bring it about. Even when Beowulf showed up, he just said something like, “Oh good. You’re here. Why don’t you just go kill Grendel for us why don’t you?” In my opinion, his main concern was just trying to get rid of the curse that Grendel’s mother had planted on him. For these reasons, I didn’t particularly like the king. 

The last thing I would like to point out is the lack of religion in the movie. Obviously, the Middle Ages was a completely religious based culture. In every piece of literature, the Bible and God played a major part; Beowulf being no exception. Throughout the movie, I waited to see more religious symbols being used. Unless I just completely missed them (which is possible because I’m not very skilled at catching some of them), I really did not notice any major religious aspects of the movie. To make the movie more accurate, the use of religion should have been a much more featured idea. 

One major part of the movie that was just completely wrong, was the setting, which was placed in Denmarl. Throughout the entire movie, you could see huge mountains in the background. After quickly looking up the landscape of Denmark, I realized that there would not have been mountains in the first place. Denmark only contains hills. This is a small aspect of the movie, however it was annoying to me. 

Overall, I did not enjoy watching this movie nearly as much as “The Knight’s Tale,” The amazing graphics did not make up for the bad scenes whatsoever. 

To follow Emma, I would rate this 1/5 stars. 


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