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Beowulf & Grendel (R)

Release Date: July 7th, 2006 (Quad Cinema) by Union Station Media.
The Cast: Gerard Butler, Stellan Skarsgård, Ingvar Sigurdsson, Sarah Polley, Eddie Marsan, Tony Curran, Rory McCan, Ronan Vibert, Martin Delaney.
Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson.

BASIC PREMISE: During the 9th Century, Beowulf (Butler) and his warriors set out to the kingdom of Hrothgar to kill Grendel (Sigurdsson), a monster made of human flesh and blood.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Beowulf and Grendel often suffers from stilted dialogue and occasional choppy transitions between scenes, yet still manages to be engrossing thanks to great performances and a thrilling plot. Beowulf and his warriors go on a journey to defeat a monster—essentially a troll who kills people. When they arrive in Hrothgar, King Hrothgar (Skarsgård) greets them and encourages them to kill Grendel. For the rest of the second act, the plot gets more complex as the Grendel’s childhood history gradually becomes revealed to Beowulf. Therefore, classic good versus evil becomes more muddled and leads to unpredictable circumstances. Almost everyone delivers a fine performance, but the stand-out here is Ingvar Sigurdsson as Grendel. Sigurdsson manages to make Grendel into a surprisingly sympathetic character that’s more interesting than anyone else. The only weak performance belongs to Sarah Polley who is miscast as a witch who aides Beowulf in brief scenes. Beautifully stunning settings and great cinematography help to benefit the look and style of the film while the costume design adds to its authentic feeling. A few scenes end too abruptly and could have used smoother transitions. Moreover, in some cases, the accents are too difficult to decipher while the coherent accents come across as unnatural. Fortunately, screenwriter Andrew Rai Berzins doesn’t include too many battle sequences and focuses more on the dramatic confrontations and twists between Beowulf and Grendel which will keep you engaged in the epic story.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Stilted dialogue and choppy transitions.


IN A NUTSHELL: Stunning! A breathtaking, engrossing epic. Occasionally stilted dialogue and weak transitions, but enough fine performances to keep you entertained.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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