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Beowulf (DVD)

Beowulf DVD (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Robin Wright Penn, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Crispin Glover

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment


“I am ripper … tearer … slasher … I am the teeth in the darkness, the talons in the night. Mine is strength … and lust… and power! I AM BEOWULF!”

To that list allow me to add — I am also boring … bloated … tedious … I am the stench from the toilet, the odor in the air. Mine is thoughtless … and long … and impossibly silly! I AM A MEDIOCRE FILM!

Robert Zemeckis’ version of the classic tale of Beowulf has come home in unrated fashion minus the gimmicky 3-D, and the results seem even more pointless than the film itself. For those of you who don’t know, or just didn’t care, Beowulf is a computer generated movie starring real actors who have been enhanced to better fit their roles. Behold the magic of movie making — older, heavier actors can now become ripped young strapping warriors at the cost of your own sanity and a pounding headache by the time all is said and done.

I’m not going to bother rehashing the story. If you haven’t read Beowulf by now, do yourself a favor and pick up a book. The tale is amazing and filled with enough horrific imagery and action for two films. That’s what makes this flaccid offering seems all the more limp. Liberties have been taken not only with the plot line but also with the very essence of the Beowulf character. It’s almost insulting. What we have here, folks, is an uneven mess of a movie that trades in high adventure for Austin Powers-like hide the salami gags and the most impossibly long second act I’ve ever had to sit through.

Beowulf DVD (click for larger image)If you can make it through the countless times Winstone screams his character’s name (which can be a fine drinking game, I might add, and the only way to truly enjoy this insipid drivel), there is some good to be found amidst the absurdity. Namely, some incredible CGI, a kickass dragon, Crispin Glover playing a bitching Grendel, and even some bloody carnage not seen in theatres. Yet, all those factors still fail to push this one even to the average mark. Go ahead and try. See if you can resist the fast forward button. I dare you.

Speaking of good, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the wealth of extras in this two-DVD set. Anything you can think of is here from deleted scenes to an in-depth look at the film’s creatures, several other making-of featurettes, and even a conversation with Robert Zemeckis as he fields questions from USC students. There’s just one annoying hitch about all this extra material — repetition. Literally you will hear the same thing being discussed in about five different ways. Just like the film itself, it all just feels like overkill. The real question is this: After watching the movie, will you even care enough to sift through all this? I think not.

In the end Beowulf, just like I Am Legend, ends up being a story that doesn’t translate well to the big screen. Why that is, is anyone’s guess. It’s a damned shame though. Honestly, I’m done. I can barely stand to write another word. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to stand in front of various household items as a means to cover my junk. Sigh.

Special Features

  • In The Volume picture-in-picture commentary track (HD-DVD)
  • Profiler (web-enabled) (HD-DVD)
  • A Hero’s Journey: The Making-of Beowulf featurette (HD-DVD)
  • The Journey Continues featurette
  • The Volume featurette
  • “T” Pose featurette
  • What is the E.O.G.? featurette
  • Lay of the Land featurette
  • Givin’ Props featurette
  • Scanners featurette
  • Stunts and Rigs featurette
  • Plan of Attack featurette
  • Fight Me featurette
  • Baby It’s Cold Inside featurette
  • Beasts of Burden: Designing the Creatures of Beowulf featurette
  • The Origins of Beowulf featurette
  • The Art of Beowulf featurette
  • A Conversation with Robert Zemeckis featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer

    Film:

    2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    5 out of 5

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  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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