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.Read More