Heroes and Monsters
Beowulf
Review by Ross Anthony

Wow. What a cinematic experience! Truthfully, the radio ads for this film were quite off-putting. The TV spots didn't much improve on that. I expected cartoon bludgeoning and inane tough talk. Still, Anthony Hopkins in the cast had me wondering what he saw in the project. Coupled with Robert Zemeckis directing … I lifted an eyebrow. The 3D Imax release was the last straw – I had to see it. And, I must admit, I'm glad I did see it!

Most notably, there is a strong story thread -- not that complicated, but strong. There is rock solid direction. The dynamic ups, downs, humor, and grit of the film are artfully managed to create a very sweet piece that entertains at all stages, builds smartly and climaxes commandingly. Add to that a great cinematic eye for camera movement. It's something that greatly impressed me with Zemeckis' Polar Express – he's simply got a great feel for 3D space. That "virtual" camera movement in these two films brings the viewer in and enriches the drama. And speaking of the visual, those responsible for creating the actual image on screen certainly seem to have had a fun time putting it all together. Their passion comes through. Yes, at times the characters do look somewhat cartoon-ish, but the care taken in detail, especially in close-ups, makes their world all the more real and dramatic to the viewer.

I mentioned "humor" as a dynamic. To my surprise, the picture flaunts an unexpected, though entirely welcomed, sense of humor. It's subtly integrated in the dialogue, lifting the "I am Beowulf" bragging out of the inane. It's also integrated in the visual, the sequence of Beowulf slaying sea-monster after sea-monster had me laughing out loud with the sweet tongue-in-cheek of it all. In fact, the film cajoled rather strong laughs from me with several jabbing elbows and winks of the eye. Then, darkness falls with the dark choices and the humor is replaced by rich intense visual drama that instead invokes awe. Just as I was deciding I'd be giving this thing an A-, the real goods take the screen with art, confidence and command. Yes!

Alas, there is still the bludgeoning, so if you don't like that kind of thing, this may not be the film for you. That said, those who liked 300 will like this even more. My only negative comment, I simply was not that impressed with Angelina Jolie's contributions. Her imaging wasn't as seductive as the real Jolie (that's not her fault) and her accent didn't work. Her character should have been entirely hypnotizing, and it falls short of that. Nonetheless, the picture on the whole stands strong.

See it in 3D if you can, even at a regular theater showing it in 3D. Since the image didn't cover the entire IMAX screen (at Universal CityWalk) where I saw it, I think your viewing experience won't be markedly improved by driving the extra miles to the IMAX theatre.

-- Book Contest --


  • Beowulf. Copyright © 2007.
  • Starring Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson,, Crispin Glover, Angelina Jolie.
  • Directed by Robert Zemeckis
  • Screenplay by Neil Gaiman, Roger Avary
  • Produced by Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke at Paramount/Warner/Shangri-La/ImageMovers.

Grade..........................A (3.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Friday, 07-Dec-2007 17:53:24 PST