Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
on 21 April 2009
I admit I did not expect much from this film and bought it at bargain price much after it came out in dvd just to see the state of the art in animation of adventure stories, not to mention that as an amateur linguist specialised in Germanic languages I was also ready to have to shut ears, eyes and brain not to be too appalled.
Well, I got more than I bargained for.
In a strange, elusive way this film manages to portray rather faithfully what my imagination has depicted as the Germanic world of the X century or whereabouts (I know, I know, Beowulf is older than that but who cares): primitive and rough but not entirely devoid of cultural refinement (the queen's songs); cruel and violent but not illogical. Authors must have done some research and they have done it well.
The plotline is very simple but not silly and the many well executed action scenes are aptily counterpointed by more intimate ones where the basic needs and flaws of human beings are highlighted, first and foremost the choice of Beowulf to give in to the demon's allurement. This is too very faithful to what I consider to be the spirit of that distant age as are the final scenes when we see Beowulf reach out for the beautiful (and dying) demon son he has just slaughtered or when we see Angelina -the demoness- Jolie kiss for the second and last time the man she may have really loved.
With the only exception of an Angelina Jolie in her prime who could have possibly outshone any animated replica of herself the other actors profit from the animation device. First and foremost Ray Winstone who, in the film, is simply gorgeous: it's far too easy to forget we are not facing a real body there. Beowulf, even in his old age, is nearly as alluring as the demoness, this effect being the sum of a competent actor (Winstone) given the body and charm of a world class model, which is quite an interesting possibility.
All in all a good film: possibly too difficult and gloomy to please kids and simpler audiences but well scripted, well acted and entertaining.