Let’s get one thing out of the way, if you see this, see it in IMAX 3-D. The 3-D is phenomenal and a must see for anyone that enjoys film or wants to see the future of the medium. The 3-D gives the movie a bit more life than it might normally have had, but you accept the look and it is a part of the film after the first Grendel attack.
Now the movie. Beowulf is a pretty good, with a classic story, a beautiful look and some amazing action scenes. The movie opens with a celebration of King Hrothgar and his people when Grendel, a beast of terrifying looks and brutality, barges in and kills pretty much everyone in the hall. This leads to a call for a “hero” to come and kill Grendel and Beowulf answers the call. To tell more would take away from the film and while it is a bit predictable and there aren’t any major twists, it is still probably best enjoyed knowing as little as possible.
This movie, as you might know is animated, which looks great, but is drawn to look like the actors who filmed the movie performance capture on a blue screen. This is the best way to tell this story I feel and I don’t think it would have looked as good or as doable as a live action film with CGI elements added in. The movie being animated also allows you to easily accept and not be taken aback by the scenes that would have been blatantly CGI enhanced as it looks just like everything else in the world.
The actors do alright work here, though Robin Wright Penn is a bit too wooden even for being a sad, sad character. Anthony Hopkins is also alright as the King with Ray Winstone playing an excellent bad ass in Beowulf. John Malkovich is also good as the sleazy Unferth with Brendan Gleeason being as great as he always is. Angelina Jolie also turns in some sexy and mysterious work as the mother to the best actor in the movie Crispin Glover. Glover as Grendel is terrifying and is a character that is truly freaky on screen. Glover throws together a performance that is unsettling and just eats away at you. I would love to find out how much of the physical performance he did as well.
Another bit to note with this movie, is that it is brutally violent and in no way is it possible that this is PG-13, I have no idea how it received that rating. Be warned if you are bringing little ones, it’s scary and messed up and there is plenty of blood and bodies tossed around the screen.
Any who, the movie is worth seeing just for the 3-D alone, but you will also be able to enjoy a classic tale, beautifully realized in this animated feature. The movie could have been trimmed up a bit and the acting could have been better, but the action and animation make up for it’s shortcomings easily and it’s ultimately an entertaining movie.