Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Hringur Ingvarsson, Spencer Wilding, Stellan Skarsgård, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, Gunnar Eyjólfsson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
The otherworldly landscape of Iceland lends an appropriate touch of dark fantasy to this modern retelling of Beowulf, the oldest epic poem in the English language. Gerard Butler (The Phantom of the Opera) brings the right ... more »
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Superb Epic with Universal Appeal, Serious & Comic Touches
Erika Borsos | Gulf Coast of FL, USA | 04/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film was shown three times at the Sarasota Film Festival although it was originally scheduled twice. It sold out so fast a special third screening was added due to popular demand. On Sunday April 9, 2006 I was fortunate enough to attend. Prior to the show, the Producer and Director were introduced who answered questions after the film. The most interesting questions and answers related to how the ideas and vision of this epic story were creatively conceived and made into reality within the setting of Iceland. It was a six year project from idea to finished product ... It was a huge hit at the Toronto Film Festival and was an equal smash at the Sarasota Film Festival. This film deserves wider distribution at theaters throughout the USA and internationally. It has all the qualities of a multimillion dollar multiple-award Oscar-winning film.
Gerard Butler is superbly cast as Beowulf, a hero and fighter from Greatland who comes to help the Danes fight a troll who has been wreaking havoc among them ... The King of the Danes provides a background of the troll's murderous activity but fails to tell the whole truth to Beowulf and his mighty warriors. The scenery in Iceland is breath-takingly beautiful - views of stark rocky mountains, steep icey cliffs, green hillsides and crashing waves against the shoreline. Although, the Danes were fierce fighters a certain fear had taken hold - they no longer trusted their own gods to support and protect them. They were fighting a troll who managed to elude their fiercest efforts ... The Danes succumbed to baptism and the beliefs of the after life as taught by wandering Christian monks. Amazingly, even the Danish King was baptized after falling deeply into depression and alcoholism while watching some of his best men die. Perhaps the soul of the King was tortured by some dark untold secret? Along with the obvious good versus evil aspects of the story, there are unexpected gems of hilarious moments with respect to the literary license used in the dialogue and deeper hidden meaning of the plot and story line.
After Beowful met Selma the witch and had personally encountered the troll, he uncovered some bewildering aspects of the troll's character and behavior ... rather than seeing him as a wild animal, as described by the Danes, Beowulf noticed the troll carefully selected victims each of whom had harmed or threatened the troll. Beowulf and his warriors continue aiding the Danes but the battle lines are not drawn as straightly or clearly as before. The amazing curves and twists to the story line are very satisfying. The cinematography is outstanding. The battle and fight scenes are just as gruesome as required for the subject matter ... The most appealing aspect of this film is how the big bad monster is shown in a different light toward the end when the deeper hidden meaning of its behavior is better understood. While the film does deviate from the original adventurous epic poem, it has a universal appeal due to the engaging mannerisms of the characters and the gradual blossoming of the character of Grendel. The use of comedy helps balance the more gory gruesome scenes and their aftermath. Due to some adult content should not be viewed by anyone under age 18 without parental consent. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
Saw this opening day in Toronto - magnificent!!
D. DArcangelo | Schenectady, NY | 04/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Icelandic scenery is enough to make you want to see this movie more than once! I found myself wanting more as the credits rolled. It contains everything - including well-placed humor - and brings up so many varied emotions. Beowulf and Grendel was meant to be made and seen by so many. I've pre-ordered mine on amazon.ca and am hopeful it will come to the 'big screen' in the States. I want to see it again!!!"
Movie, Just okay; Gerard Butler, Intensely Watchable; Icelan
Mir | North Miami Beach, FL USA | 02/23/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Unless you just get a kick out of--
1. sweeping, windy, frigid landscapes with a sort of terrifying beauty
2. modern revisionism that updates a classic adventure tale's meaning
3. extremely attractive Northern European he-males
--you may wanna skip Beowulf.
And yet...and yet, I suggest you try it, even though I was less than blown away.
Well, certainly number one above. Visually, this film takes you someplace stunningly cool (metaphorically, not just literally), an environment so bleak in spots and so callous in others and so apathetic to human suffering, that it's a fitting background for this stark tale of revenge and bloodshed and loss and heroics and loyalty. A cold wind surely does blow, outside and inside the soul.
Also, you may enjoy the revisionist take. Grendel is now the terribly injured party dealing with a sort of bigotry for his "monsterhood": He and his kind are hated for being different, ugly, smelly, not evil. (I believe, if memory serves from the long-ago high school reading, that Grendel did represent evil, and not merely a symbol of aggrieved minority.)
And almost certainly you will enjoy the charisma of actor Gerard Butler. That man is good. He can act--see THE JURY or PHANTOM OF THE OPERA or DEAR FRANKIE or even CRADLE OF LIFE to see how he can inhabit various types of roles and make them come to life with that combination of personal magnetism, vocal expression, facial expression, body language and just plain emotive power. I have no idea why this man is not a huge, huge star. He's got everything it takes, the complete package of ridiculous good looks and acting chops and versatility. He can be funny or menacing or romantic or so vulnerable you weep. Perhaps 300 will do it for him in 2007.
As to the others: Stellan Skarsgaard is dependably good as an actor, if not always top-notch. He's good here, definitely a man chased by a Gredelian fury for his bloody deed long ago. Sarah Polley is less effective as the witch, and yet not totally ineffective. She simply was miscast. (She was terrific in THE SWEET HEREAFTER and I liked her in GO! and know she can act. It's just not a good fit for her, this role.)
Still, at the end of the day, Gerard Butler and the marvelous landscape are the two reasons to buy or rent or just borrow this DVD. Two potent forces of nature--Iceland and Butler--do manage to make a somewhat lackluster movie work in spots.
Bottom line: Try it, because parts of it work. And if you're a Gerard Butler fan, buy it, because he is a gift to cinema and quite easy on the eyes and ears. And if you can't travel to a high Northern wilderness, but kind of want to, visit a remote and windy spot with BEOWULF & GRENDEL.
Available at Amazon.ca!
J. L. Bolender | Silver Creek, WA | 05/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm uncertain why this film hasn't been released in the United
States. However, this film adaptation of the ancient, beautiful, epic tale, Beowulf, was a blockbuster in Canada, Iceland, and the rest of Europe. It can be purchased, nonetheless, on Amazon.ca (Canada's Amazon.com)."