TMB’s Beowulf Review

John gives his quick review of Beowulf

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I have not been looking forward to Beowulf. To me the animation in the ads looked ridiculous, the voice acting sounded cheesy and it seemed to be that the whole thing would just be 2 hours of nonsense. But that’s why we still go and give it a shot… because it was a good, fun and entertaining movie.

Based on the famous ancient poem, Beowulf follows a hero (that the movie is named after) who travels to a neighboring kingdom that has been terrorized by a monster named Grendel. The king is delighted that Beowulf and his men have come to rid them of their curse, but Beowulf soon discovers the trouble runs far deeper than it first appears. Not only does Beowulf have to deal with Grendel, but also his demon mother also who shares a dark secret with the king.

WOW… visually the movie was stunning. I had the pleasure of watching it in IMAX 3D while down in San Francisco and the film truly is a feast for the eyes. Brilliant and vibrant, the landscapes almost play a living role in the film. The 3D technology certainly has come a LONG way.

The voice acting was (and I don’t use this word often) PERFECT. Especially strong were Anthony Hopkins as the King, and John Malkovich as the King’s servant Unferth. In the commercials I thought Angelina Jolie sounded silly and forced… but in the context of the film, she was flawless… her voice added so much to the character. And Ray Winstone as Beowulf carried more Machismo than 300 Spartans.

The action. You don’t often hear a lot of praise for action sequences in 3D animated films… but the action in this film was awe inspiring. It was animated to such perfection and directed so flawlessly that you really felt like you were there in the action. It was heart pounding and intense and I loved every second of it. And how can you not love a lead character that swims the Ocean for 5 full days, then fights and kills 9 sea monsters and still have enough left in the tank to do a hot mermaid that just so happened to be swimming by at the time?

As nifty as the 3D was, and as impressive as it was, and as beautiful as it was… the novelty of it wore off for me about 10 or 15 minutes into the film. At about 30 minutes I found myself wishing I could take the glasses off and just enjoy the film… but I couldn’t.

The Story. As exhilarating as the movie is, one can’t deny the actual story doesn’t cover a 2 hour film very well. As a 30 minute tale, it’s perfect… stretched over 2 hours it looked thin. Great larger than life characters hide the shortcomings of the story well… but not completely.

While being over the top can be ideal for certain situation in a film, if you go overboard with it, it can begin to wear down the novelty and start to feel a touch silly. From time to time I felt that.

Not an Oscar winner, nor an all time classic, but Beowulf delivers exactly what it seems to aim for. A fun, intense, exhilarating 2 hours of entertainment. The story is a touch weak, the novelty of 3D wears off quickly and some stuff seems a little too silly (even for a 3D movie) but overall the film works and works well. I give Beowulf a 7.5 out of 10

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