Thursday, November 15, 2007

I am Beerwolf and I am here to kill your Monst-AH!!!!

Tonight will be different! I am the ripper, the terror, the slasher. I am the teeth in the darkness! The talons in the night! My name is strength! And lust! And power! I AM BEOWULF!This new performance-capture version of BEOWULF is a noble addition to the genre of meat-headed sword-swinging action flicks, of which CONAN is the best example. It's transparent nonsense - wilfully sending itself up at every turn - and bears precious little resemblance to the Old English epic. It's laugh-out loud funny rather than noble and moving - but hey! there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.

In this 3-D animated world, Ray Winstone - an old fat East Londoner - is transmuted into BEOWULF - a ludicrously buff sword-swing Hero with a capital "H". In fact, he looks more like Sean Bean in Lord of the Rings than anything else. He harrumphs around Denmark shouting stuff like "I am Beerwolf and I am here to kill your Monst-AH!" and "My name is strenff! And lust! And power! I am Beerwolf!!" He is in Denmark to kill an evil beastie called Grendel who is terrorising King Hrothgar's mead-hall. Unfortunately, he is then seduced by Grendel's mum and sires a dragon who will come back to haunt his mead-hall twenty years later. This all unwinds against a background in which the crumbling Roman Empire is giving way to Christian kingdoms and Heroes of old are giving way to feeble martyrs. Whatever intelligence there is in Neil Gaman and Roger Avary's script lies in its tackling the issue of hero-myths versus reality.

But let me be very clear. This is not a subtle, magical epic poem brought to life with sensitivity and pathos. No, no, no. It's full of swearing, jokes about deflowering virgins and blow jobs. There's a lot of nudity and a lot of violence. It is absolutely amazing to me that the movie got a 12A certificate in the UK. The acting is also completely hammy, with John Malkovich in particular having a lot of fun as a camp pseudo-villain. The accents are also all over the place. Robin Wright Penn and Alison Lohman decide to give their Danish characters accents that are sometimes English, sometimes Welsh, sometimes Scottish. Anthony Hopkins as Hrothgar has a pronounced Welsh lilt. Angelina Jolie does that bizarre thing she did in ALEXANDER as Grendel's mum and Beowulf is, as we said, from Aldgate East.

Still, for all its many flaws, Beowulf is a visual feast. The 3D works brilliantly and the performance capture has come on in leaps and bounds. The animation is magnetic. You have to see this, but just think twice before taking the kiddiwinks.

BEOWULF is on release in Indonesia, the Philippines, Germany, Hong Kong,Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the UK, Italy and the USA. It opens next weekend in Belgium, Egypt, France, Argentina, Greece, the Netherlands, Russia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Spain. It opens on November 29th in Australia, Hungary, New Zealand, Slovenia, Brazil, Lithuania, Sweden, Turkey and Japan.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds absolutely fucking awesome. As if Jolie's fuzz wasn't enough. I'm booking my tickets right now.