Sunday, 19 October 2008

BEOWULF (2007)

I believe there is another film based on this story and hopefully it is more successful than this one. Using the same process that gave us both SIN CITY and 300 and directed by Robert Zemekis, this really got off on the wrong foot for me by casting English actor Ray Winstone as the heroic dragonslayer. Now, I actually like Winstone in a modern setting but something goes disastrously wrong when Ray steps back in time. He's a fine actor given material within his range but remains a "geezer" from East London and to hear that accent, which never changes, coming from characters as diverse as Henry VIII, Sweeney Todd, an Arthurian Knight and now a Dark Ages hero just doesn't work dramatically - and here we don't even have Winstone's physical presence as his animated alter ego looks more like Sean Bean. The whole thing comes over as a rather flat comic strip with the monsters coming off better than the humans (and as John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins are both on call this is no mean under achievement) and the climatic battle between Beowulf and the dragon is undeniably impressive. But the final result is clever rather than being a satisfying. Rating **

Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mum

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