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Beowulf: Zemeckis, Jolie Vs. The Others

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Call me foolish, but I’m so excited that director Robert Zemeckis is turning Beowulf into a movie that premieres this November.  I mean, it’s got Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary on board as writers, with Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins and Crispin Glover (as monster Grendel!) as stars.  There’s even a 3D IMAX version of the epic poem-turned-adventure-flick. And the trailer really is quite stunning.

But there have been lots of other renditions of the anonymous scribe’s poem about the brave warrior who takes on the town-destroying monster.  Were they any good?  Hit the jump and find out.

Beowulf (1999) It’s a sci fi version of the poem starring Christopher Lambert, the guy from Highlander.  Send Grendel after the producers.  This is a stink bomb.

Animated Epics: Beowulf(1998)  The cartoon version of the poem may be the best of the bunch — if you like to see Grendel in battle.  This half hour has a lot of decent animation.  But this short is short on story.

Beowulf & Grendel (2005)  This film starring Sarah Polley is the deserving of the title ‘epic’ — if you only care about nice cinematography.  The story and writing, are, unfortunately, laughable.

Zemeckis obviously doesn’t have stiff competition here.  I just hope he and his crew read John Gardner’s wonderfully written 1971 novel Grendel before they shot the movie — to really get to know what the monster was like.  That novel, along  with the poem, is a true epic.

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