Beowulf (2007)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Interesting telling of the classic story

Sometime the visuals wow but often they underwhelm

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Beowulf

Studio:  Shangri-La Entertainment

Genre(s):  Animated/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  November 16, 2007

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Hey McFly!!!

King Hrothgar land is being plagued by a beast known as Grendel.  Grendel seems to have a personal grudge against the king and his kingdom that results in an unquenched rage.  When Beowulf arrives to save King Hrothgar, Grendel’s legacy will be exposed and lead Beowulf to make a decision that will alter his course in life forever as a seemingly never ending cycle continues.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Beowulf was a big deal in its motion capture technique.  The adaptation by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avery is a version of the oldest English written poem.  The movie was met with moderate reviews and a small profit at the box office.


Hey, you’re Angelina Jolie!!!

Beowulf was one of those Old English poems that you were always forced to read in school.  It was also one of those poems that you didn’t mind too much.  With dragons and monsters who wreak havoc on a society of warriors, it was a bit darker than some of the stories that were given to high school students.  With that in mind, I looked forward to Beowulf’s big screen adaptation.

Beowulf got a lot of attention to due to high grade motion capture visuals for the film.  Though at the time, they were top notch, there have been a number of improvements over the years since Beowulf’s release.  I also felt that while sometimes the characters looked extremely lifelike, they also would come off as wooden and unrealistic.  It was these inconsistencies in the graphics that hurt the movie’s visuals for me.


I’m the side of the family that Beowulf doesn’t talk about…

What I did find really interesting and compelling in Beowulf was Neil Gaiman and Roger Avery’s adaptation of the story.  Beowulf was very random as a poem and like many old epic poems was probably passed down orally before being put to paper.  Gaiman and Avary’s script considers that what was lost over the years was the meaning behind attacks of Grendel, his mother, and the dragon which seemed unrelated in the original form.  Here, Gaiman and Avary proposed that it was a story of the sins of the father and that Hrothgar begat Grendel and Beowulf begat the dragon with Grendel’s mother leading to both attacks.  It is a very smooth way to bring the story together and makes sense of things like Beowulf’s rather dismissive fight with Grendel’s mother in the poem.


This is my grasp at Oscar!

The actors as part of the motion capture were almost filming a live action film.  Ray Winstone is strong as the boisterous Beowulf and Anthony Hopkins plays a good Hrothgar which passes his crown to Beowulf.  John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson, and Alison Lohman play supporting characters but both Crispin Glover as Grendel and Angelina Jolie as his mother steal the show.  Much was made of the computer animated Jolie’s nude scenes in the film.

Beowulf is an interesting film, but not necessarily a good film.  It is a unique and smart take on one of the oldest tales in the world.  The visuals have not aged well and what once was cutting edge looks like slightly better video game art at points.  Though I do recommend sticking with the poem, the film would be a nice addendum to the reading.

[easyazon-block align=”center” asin=”B001AII4RM” locale=”us”]

Related Links:

Beowulf & Grendel (2005)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response