Beowulf & Grendel

Beowulf & Grendel: I read Beowulf, or at least part of it, during school at some point, though my memory of it is pretty vague. Basically I remember that there’s this badass dude named Beowulf, he fights a troll named Grendel, kills him, and later on has to face Grendel’s mom too. There’s a bunch of talk about gods and monsters and OMG-Beowulf-is-so-awesome, and that’s about all I can recall. I have not seen the more recent film adaptation (the one where Grendel is played by George McFly – wait, what?), but this one’s been sitting on the shelf for years so I decided to pull it out. Here, King Hrothgar kills Grendel’s dad, Grendel grows up into some kind of Neanderthal and starts attacking Hrothgar’s Nordic village, Beowulf and his Scottish men show up to help out, Beowulf befriends a snarky Canadian witch, and the whole thing is just hellaciously boring. Seriously, nothing happens for about the first two thirds of the film, except for Grendel wandering around yelling incoherently and the Danes and Geats getting drunk together and using a lot of very modern swear words. I might have found Hrothgar’s attempts to worship the right gods funnier had I been able to follow it better, but to be honest after a while one grizzled old white dude with gnarly red hair starts looking much like another. Pretty much all of the fantasy elements have been stripped out, save Grendel’s mom, who shows up randomly for one of the briefest and most anti-climatic climatic battle scenes I’ve ever seen. Seriously, this thing was so boring it didn’t even make good background noise while I cleaned. Why do I own this?

  1. The 2007 film is awful IMHO (sorry, Neil Gaiman, you know I love you anyway). The best part of it is that it’s damn obvious that Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) is actually Grendel’s father… but Beowulf totally doesn’t pick up on the gazillion hints thrown out there from the beginning and so he sleeps with Grendel’s mum anyway, resulting in… well, I won’t spoil it for you. But, Dude, he learned nothing from the whole Grendel debacle. Then again, what man can resist Angelina Jolie?

    Anyway, I remember reading Beowulf in high school… or at least portions of it. And I remember wishing I were more impressed with it then because it was supposed to be this old, important heroic piece. Compared to Highlander, though, it just couldn’t compare ;-)

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