The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I just got back from watching the much anticipated Beowulf with a certain flakey ex-neighbour. In fact, this marks the first film I have seen in theatres since I moved from TO.

As there is no shortage of reviews both positive and negative, I will spare the reader a full-fledged commentary. I will, however, briefly throw in my two cents.

I can confidently say that the film will be more admired by people who have not read the Anglo-Saxon epic. Much of the film is faithful to the original, with perhaps a few too many innuendos thrown in. However, they almost ruined the film by turning Grendel's mother into a hot, semi-reptilian, Angelina Jolie who, as in the disastrous Alexander, again insisted on using a horrible Russian accent. Turns out that both Beowulf and his predecessor, King Hrothgar, did the nasty with her, and it is implied that Grendel is in fact the fruit of Hrothgar's loins. I'm not making any of this up! Beowulf himself is also far from the spotless character of the poem.

Of course, this will undoubtedly irritate readers of the poem. If, however, you are not among them, this won't be a problem.

Apologists will undoubtedly point to the film's unprecedented use of a CGI/live-action hybrid. However, as a friend of mine astutely remarked, there's seems to be little point in it. Yes, some of the sequences are truly eye-candy, but I got the impression that this has been done before (Lord of the Rings, etc). In terms of eye-candy, 300 was far more impressive.

Although I've read about people leaving the theatres, I did not share their reaction. For all its faults, I think the film is very watchable and entertaining. This film will not go down as a classic, but neither will it end up in the dollar bin at a gas station.


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