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BEOWULF - 1 Slime
Rated R
Copyright 1999 Kushner-Locke.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 31 August 2007

The Characters:  

  • Beowulf - Christopher Lambert! Why does his sword have a hand brake?
  • Kyra - Bosoms!
  • Hrothgar - Look, if you want to be a successful border lord, remember to wear a condom when you take an eldritch spirit as a mistress. Then you will not end up like this guy: dead.
  • Roland - Hrothgar's captain of the guard. My advice to any potential captains of the guard is not to have sex with eldritch spirits at all. Another pile of dead meat here.
  • Any other human in the fortress - Dead meat.
  • Grendel - The distortion effect that they used for this creature was exceedingly annoying. Vanquished by Beowulf.
  • Grendel's Mother - They obviously hired this woman for her looks (good enough reason for me) and the way she could say the words "pumping" and "throat." Beowulf defeats her with propane materia after she becomes Jenova-MILF.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

One of my main problems with this film is that I cannot fathom why certain revisions were made to the story. Hollywood loves to make sweeping changes to the plot when it is feared that audiences might find the art of following the actual storyline boring. "I paid $7 to see the 'Beowulf' movie and it was exactly like the thousand year-old epic poem!" is not a complaint that you would normally worry about.

Anyway, "Beowulf" is set in a world that is a strange blend of medieval and industrial. It appears that the people live in a feudal society, including holding land and defending castles from invaders, but there are also bizarre nuances. For example, the wall sconces that provide light are obviously fueled by propane. Not since "Krull" have I been so confused by a movie's technological setting. That film involved swords, interstellar travel, laser lances, and a herd of Clydesdales running so fast that their hooves burst into flames.

Let's not even get into the "Junkyard Wars" style weapons on display. I mean, unless circular saw blades on motorized staves, automatic crossbows, or a chainsaw/broadsword hybrid is something you would consider normal. Is it all that difficult to invent gunpowder? What is this place, Amber?

Oh yeah, and techno music. Why must we have techno music? (On the other hand, I suppose the other gritty elements would have seemed out of place without the synthesizer to keep them company.)

Things are obviously not peachy-keen in Hrothgar's stronghold. An evil shadow is butchering the inhabitants of the fortress every night; though it refuses to engage the border lord himself. As a result, everyone within the stone walls is experiencing an elevated level of stress. One girl cannot take it any longer and flees the cursed citadel. She is captured by an army that has encircled the fortress, then taken to a device constructed to purge the evil from those tainted by whatever ails Hrothgar's domain. Now, I am not a doctor, but chopping someone in half at the waist might result in more than a simple "purging of the evil spirits." Beowulf rides up just in time to stop the execution. He spends a few minutes kicking butt and doing flips before the enlightened crowd agrees to release the girl. She is happy to be alive, until she realizes that Beowulf's destination is the very same place she just fled. Then the girl hops off the horse and runs back to the zealots, who quickly chop her in half with a very large axe.

Again with the chopping in half thing. Eh, they are zealots. What do you expect?

Beowulf has been drawn to Herot by the malevolent force that haunts the great halls. Much later, we learn that he is the product of a union between mortal woman and an immortal evil (that is why his hair is white). Killing monsters is his way of resisting his own natural inclination to become a fiend.

Speaking of wicked and immoral acts, Hrothgar's daughter, Kyra, inspires dreams of several. Equipped with full lips, tight clothing, and a push-up bustier, she does a wonderful job of momentarily distracting us males from the film's myriad problems. Soon as you start wondering why a medieval castle would have a public address system, she walks into view and you forget about what is troubling you to stare at those. Beowulf completely ignores her. Of course, this means that Kyra finds the tragic hero irresistible. Roland is jealous at first, but quickly learns his place after getting thumped by the new arrival.

After the creature kills the Weapons Master (meaning the individual who fixes them) during daylight hours, the women and children are herded into the fortress' sanctuary. The doors are locked from the inside and guards take their positions outside the secured entry. No mere beast could possibly gain entrance and butcher all of the huddled innocents.

You see the hole in this plan too, right? Yep, you got it. The creature slaughters every last person inside the donjon while Hrothgar and Roland try to pry the doors open. After shaking his head in despair that humans are so stupid, Beowulf climbs the tower and enters via a window. What he discovers is a bloody mess. Whoever is tasked with cleaning the sanctuary is going to need a mop and a lot of Pine-Sol.

Later, a bloody encounter with Grendel in the great hall leaves Beowulf badly injured and several more men dead. No worry, our bleached protagonist heals extraordinarily quickly. He is ready for round two against the monster after a solid night's sleep. To even the odds, he has the Assistant Weapons Master craft him a special weapon. Beowulf cannot immediately pursue his desire for a rematch, because it is "Confess to Beowulf Day" in Herot. Roland and Kyra spill out their souls, telling Beowulf everything from their sins to what is missing in their personal lives. Once that is done with, Beowulf is finally able to do what he came here to for: fight Grendel. The monster loses its arm during the battle.

Have you read the poem? Did you know that was going to happen?

The victory over darkness is a cause for celebration and Hrothgar tells his men to break out the wine. Kyra finally gets what she has wanted: a roll in the hay with Beowulf. At least the sex scene meant that she finally put away the ridiculously tiny dagger she insisted on waving around all the time. Despite the triumph over evil, Roland is unhappy. He wanted Kyra. Despondent and inebriated, the forlorn captain wanders the empty castle grounds. He encounters Grendel's Mother, who has made a few prior appearances in the movie (usually in Hrothgar's bed, undulating atop the slumbering lord). She is beautiful and desirable, but she is not a mortal being. What lurks behind her fair exterior existed before the age of man and is rooted in a deep evil.

Yes, I mean bad CGI. A huge mass of it that Beowulf must destroy to finally cleanse the fortress. It is a stupid ending. If you think that the fight between Grendel's Mother and Beowulf is bad, just wait until you are forced to endure Kyra and Beowulf talking about their future after the battle is over. Ugh.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Paper cutters were invented to purge evil spirits from people.
  • Horses love techno music.
  • Beatings do not improve morale.
  • Prescription eyewear can only do so much to counteract natural selection.
  • Grendel's mom has got it going on!
  • Coal is a relatively clean-burning fuel when compared to a human body.
  • Women are inherently evil (this is not all that surprising).
  • Castles burn faster than thatched huts.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 8 mins - Just how many trick weapons does he have?
  • 18 mins - Yeah, I was looking at those too!
  • 27 mins - What is she wearing? I like it; I just don't understand why she is wearing it.
  • 34 mins - Are you going to use a spike-studded VW muffler to defend yourself?
  • 49 mins - Speak for yourself. According to the cover I still have forty-four minutes of this crap to go.
  • 52 mins - Christopher Lambert must be getting tired of women saying that to him.
  • 68 mins - A tattoo would have been more interesting.
  • Ending Credits - Does he have two brothers by the names of Tim and Gregg? Wait, false alarm, there is no "t" at the end.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note beowulf1.wav Weapons Master: "Beowulf, I've heard that name before."
Other Guy: "Oh, yeah, what'd you hear?"
Weapons Master: "Stories only idiots would believe."
Other Guy: "Only an idiot would come to this damn place."
Beowulf: "Unless he was already damned."
(Recognize the Weapons Master's voice? He usually appears with a Bull.)
Green Music Note beowulf2.wav Kyra: "You claim to be here to fight our beast."
Beowulf: "It's not a claim. It's the truth."
Kyra: "Well, it can't killed. Not by my father, or Roland, or any man."
Beowulf: "I'm not like other men."
Green Music Note beowulf3.wav Asst Weapons Master: "Well, of course everyone's going to die anyway, but one thing's for sure is that I ain't the weapons master."
Beowulf: "You don't have to be good all the time. Just when it matters."
Green Music Note beowulf4.wav Hrothgar and Grendel's Mother talk about their relationship.
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipbeowulf1.mpg - 3.5m
Beowulf takes on an entire camp of zealots to save a young woman. Look at him flip! Gymkata!

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 4
Re: Beowulf
Reply #1. Posted on August 31, 2007, 02:43:39 PM by trekgeezer
You do know that Robert Zemeckis has made a new all motion-capture CG version of Beowulf.  Angelina Jolie plays Grendel's mother. It is also in digital 3D.


http://www.beowulfmovie.com/
Re: Beowulf
Reply #2. Posted on August 31, 2007, 08:57:30 PM by Torgo
My friends and I suffered through a Christopher Lambert night of 3 of his lesser movies (which is pretty much all of them with the exception of Highlander) and Beowulf was one that someone brought.

Thoroughly stupid, pointless and technically inept in every way.
Re: Beowulf
Reply #3. Posted on August 31, 2007, 10:13:20 PM by nshumate
I wrote a review of it a while back.  Right now, the only things I can remember are:

1) Backflips
2) Cleavage
3) Rust!  Everywhere, rust!
Re: Beowulf
Reply #4. Posted on September 01, 2007, 03:34:18 AM by steve
dude,

i thought that was rhona mitra!!

omg, i would watch her in anything.  err...as proven by me watching her in this thing...sometimes I don't know how you do it.

i mean, i'm a cop and i face danger sometimes...but...these movies are downright dangerous to your sanity.
Re: Beowulf
Reply #5. Posted on September 02, 2007, 02:39:38 PM by Dr. Whom
I checked out the imdb page of the actress who plays Grendel's mother, and guess what? Most her appearances are in Playboy specials. Talk of astute casting decisions.
Re: Beowulf
Reply #6. Posted on September 02, 2007, 05:23:45 PM by BoyScoutKevin
A number of thoughts.

Tim and Greg? Would their last name begin with the letter "H," as in Hildebrandt?

The main difference between this film and "Krull," is that "Krull" is a good "bad" movie, while this one is just a bad "bad" movie.

This is turning out to be one of the great B-movie cliches, as this is the second time I've seen it, in three reviews. Everybody line up one by one, so the hero can beat the snot out of you individually, instead of everybody ganging up on the hero at the same time.

That three-bladed knife Lambert carries, actually existed. You'd catch your opponents' swordblade in it, and with a flick of your wrist, snap the swordblade, leaving your opponent at a disadvantage.
Re: Beowulf
Reply #7. Posted on September 05, 2007, 05:55:51 AM by Neville
I watched this one while in college, I was doing a piece on the original poem and though the film would make a good comparison. So I rented the DVD and coerced my best friend, who had a brand new DVD system, to watch it with me. I don't know what freaked him out worse, what was going on on the giant TV set or that I spent the whole movie taking notes.

Andrew, next time you think of doing a Christophe Lambert movie I suggest "Mean guns". It's bad, but also loads of fun. At least you'll save yourself the aspirins.
Re: Beowulf
Reply #8. Posted on September 05, 2007, 09:47:42 PM by ZScaleKitty
Wow...  I've been visiting this site for years with hopes of one day sending in some of my reviews.  Beowulf was going to be one of them.
Andrew, you beat me to it.   TeddyR   Awesome review!
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