11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The 14th Warrior,
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This review is from: Beowulf and Grendel  [DVD] (DVD)
This is an excellent piece for those who want to see their sagas and tales made flesh. Set in rather grimmer terrain than Geatland it has an excellent sense of broken terrain, mist and the sea. The characters are straight out of a saga yet firmly rooted in a real economic and social system; this is not Kirk Douglas running along the oars. The "look" is fantastic from the short legged ponies to the Sutton Hoo helmets. Gerard Butler manages to rise above his signature "This is Sparta" persona to be the hero and sword-brother. Stellan Skarsgård is an excellent decaying king whose cruelty (and mercy) start the whole tale.
If the world Beowulf inhabits has the tang of reality (the fisherman is particularly good) the fantastic is also well-served. The troll-father and Grendel are very well observed, and the nature of Grendel's hate all the better explained. When we encounter Grendel's mother it all kicks up a level (and we find we've met her before as well).
The plot and style share much with The 13th Warrior (except in the nature of The Enemy) and we even have at least one actor in common. However, Beowulf is more firmly set in the Norse world than The 13th Warrior. Though I think both are excellent (and thoughtful) action films.