Beowulf: Director’s Cut

DVD Reviews | Feb 25th, 2008

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Starring Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Brendan Gleeson, Robin Wright Penn, John Malkovich, Alison Lohman, Crispin Glover
Written By: Roger Avary, Neil Gaiman
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
Studio: Paramount
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I really wanted to see Beowulf in the theaters but I simply just couldn’t get the time to go. I really wanted to see it on IMAX 3D since I never saw an IMAX movie before and figured that would be a movie to see it at the IMAX theater. But nope, never happened. But I finally got to see the adult animated movie and really liked it! The film looks simply amazing, it’s entertaining and has a lot of cool scenes in it.

Beowulf is about a Danish kingdom under attack by a deformed creature named Grendel. While the kingdom is partying and fornicating, the King’s hall is under attack by the monster Grendel (Crispin Glover) and a lot of men are brutally murdered. You know, like men thrown across the room like a baseball or heads eaten off. So right off the bat, this movie screams “FAMILY FILM!” Back to the plot: The King (Anthony Hopkins) needs help quickly and the Nordic hero Beowulf (Ray Winstone) answers the call. He arrives with his men and fights off Grendel, the retarded monster who whimpers and cries. After Beowulf succeeds in defeating the monster, he has to face its mother, played by a hot & naked Angelina Jolie. I think any man would fall under the spell if a monster looked like a naked Angelina Jolie. I know I would. Years pass and Beowulf ends up being crowned King of the kingdom and things seem peaceful. But things return from Beowulf’s past that still haunt him and he has to overcome it or perish.

The first thing that needs to be said about Beowulf is obviously the animation. Director Robert Zemeckis keeps getting better with the motion capture movies. I didn’t see Polar Express but just from seeing the trailer for it, I think I would find it more scary than anything. Scary in the sense that the CGI characters look creepy. With Beowulf, the animated characters look a lot more realistic, and it’s pretty scary how much the characters look like the actors. Motion capturing really has come a long way in the such short of time it has be created for the movies. Gollum, King Kong and Davy Jones are two notable CGI characters that are pretty much flawless, and now you can add Beowulf to that list. But the thing with Beowulf, is you can sort of notice it’s a cartoon. But there are certainly scenes that look pretty much spot on & realistic. Seeing the CGI Angelina Jolie was excellent, and they made her character so sexy yet evil at the same time. She has that strange looking hair-tail and high heel feet, but its sexy even for an animated character. I wonder if Brad Pitt does stuff looking at pictures of CGI version of Jolie? Nah, I guess not, he has the real thing. Lucky bastard!

As far as the story is concerned, sometimes it was a little bit over the place. I know they branched off from the story to make the movie flow better but not sure that really was the case. Th story sometimes feels cluttered. I never read Beowulf when I was in school so I really don’t know what was different. The acting was really great and not wooden or anything. Sometimes the animated faces would be wooden but not the actors’ performances. Ray Winstone was great as Beowulf and you can really see his body movements and facial expressions in the character. I’m glad Ray is getting to be more well known now since I loved when he was Will Scarlet back in the 80s in Robin of Sherwood. You can see him next as the sidekick to Indiana Jones in the upcoming sequel. Crispin Glover gave another noteworthy performance as Grendel. He made him like a crippled mama’s boy and that’s exactly how Grendel came off as. My ears were ringing and couldn’t stand when he was yelling and screaming, it made his character that much more terrifying. The opening sequence of when Grendel attacks the hall is really great, and is pretty gory too. I can’t believe I was getting grossed out by an animated movie! All the other actors did a decent job as well but Winstone & Glover were the two that stood out.

The extras included on the Director’s Cut DVD edition include a few featurettes, deleted scenes, and a few other things. I liked watching the making-of stuff and thought it was really interesting to see how the film was shot. I wish they went into the motion capture process a little more extensively but maybe they will come out with an extended, special edition DVD one of these days? You see in one of the featurettes that Tom Hanks shows up on the set and Robert Zemeckis is showing him around. Sadly, Jolie is missing from featurettes. The deleted scenes weren’t that special and just showed more scenes with Robin Wright Penn’s character and more scenes with Beowulf.

If you’re an adult and love animated movies, Beowulf is the movie for you! The film is beautifully shot & animated and really raises the bar for other animated movies. I’m still scratching my head on why this wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. Doesn’t seem like justice that a movie like The Golden Compass wins and this wasn’t even nominated. Definitely check this movie out!

Deleted Scenes
A Heros Journey: The Making Of Beowulf
Beasts Of Burden: Designing The Creatures Of Beowulf
Creating The Ultimate Beowulf The Art Of Beowulf

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 2.35:1 Color

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: Besides a few minor flaws, Beowulf is quite entertaining!
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 114 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: