Beowulf. Sounds like the name for some unnatural sex act a Brit would order while visiting a downtown Berlin leather bar.
"Cheerio mate, I'll have me a Beowulf!"
"Would you like shit in the mouth with that sir?"
"Would I! Soil me like a set of unbrushed dentures lad!"
"Right away sir!"
"Top Notch! TOP NOTCH I SAY!"
So what is Beowulf really? Beowulf is a giant German queen that enjoys shitting in the open mouths of English queens!
Ok seriously. Beowulf, is one of the earliest tales ever written. The original sword and sorcerery fantasy (not counting the Bible of course) that weaves a yarn about a legendary warrior, called on to save a Kingdom from a monster named Grendel. The story is actually half-way decent (I'm referring to the written work in this case), if you can manage to get past the Old-English it's written in.... man you guys talked like douches back in the day.
Director Robert Zemeckis, chose to bring the story of Beowulf to life through animation rather than live-action. An unusual tactic, but with the state of computer graphics being what they are these days, perhaps he could pull it off (after all he did bring us never-ending joy through the on-going adventures of Marty McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy).... or perhaps not.
While the CGI in Beowulf is pretty good, it's still a bit off. What really confuses me, is why spend all the time and money to create this feature through animation, if you were going to make the animated characters look exactly like the individuals that were providing the voiceover. Beowulf sports an impressive cast as well. SIr Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, Angelina Jolie and Brendan Gleeson (he played Hamish, the giant red headed fella in Braveheart, who tossed rocks at Mel Gibson..... unfortunately for us, he stopped). Amazing actors all that provide ample support for the star of this film.... Ray Winstone. Huh? Yeah, let that sink in real good for a minute.
Who the fuck is Ray Winstone? That is the million dollar question. We may never know, however I will let you know what Mr. Winstone isn't. A competent actor, who's career is largely one of voiceover work, and is unable to command the presence necessary to stand side by side with an Anthony Hopkins or John Malkovich, nor is he able to carry a film as the leading role. In Beowulf, Winstone is terrible. Wooden, stiff, unemotional. Yes there are those who would say this personified the character Beowulf, and his true nature, but you are assuming that Winstone made these choices. I think rather this was all he could muster in his limited acting abilities.
You would think I would pan this film for such a casting choice, but rather that do so, I celebrate. Beowulf is borderline bad movie magic. One shitty actor, surrounded by amazing actors. Can you do better than that? Yes you can, because the acting of Beowulf was so poor, that the animators actually had to animate the character to match the thespians skills (or lack thereof) as well. Brilliant. Just brilliant!
The animation in Beowulf is really top notch. Aside from the intial wierdness at seeing famous actors as video game characters in medieval clothing, it's an entertaining film. Throw in the lead actors shitty acting and an awesome battle scene with a giant dragon (which they stole directly from the Bible... remember when Jesus slayed the dragon and saved the Jews?) and you have a bad movie worthy of your viewing.
Hamlin Grade: 6
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,