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The reviews are out

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  • Cole Matson
    So, the reviews are out for BEOWULF (the naked Angelina Jolie version). See http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/beowulf. I especially enjoyed the Minneapolis
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 16, 2007
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      So, the reviews are out for BEOWULF (the naked Angelina Jolie version). See
      http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/beowulf. I especially enjoyed the
      Minneapolis Star-Tribune's quote:

      *The adaptation replaces the two-dimensional characters of the epic poem
      with more human, nuanced individuals.

      *It makes me wonder how they're defining "two-dimensional" and "human."

      Anybody seen the film yet?

      Cole Matson


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Anthony and Jessica
      If the video game quality of the film isnt bad enough, anyone want to know plot twists? This article from the NYC Daily News, gives us the inside story and
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 17, 2007
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        If the video game quality of the film isnt bad enough, anyone want to
        know plot twists?
        This article from the NYC Daily News, gives us the inside story and
        mentions his thoughts on how scholars may feel about it:
        http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2007/11/16/2007-11-16_a_big_bad_beowulf.html

        Anthony


        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Cole Matson" <ccematson@...> wrote:
        >
        > So, the reviews are out for BEOWULF (the naked Angelina Jolie
        version). See
        > http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/beowulf. I especially enjoyed the
        > Minneapolis Star-Tribune's quote:
        >
        > *The adaptation replaces the two-dimensional characters of the epic
        poem
        > with more human, nuanced individuals.
        >
        > *It makes me wonder how they're defining "two-dimensional" and "human."
        >
        > Anybody seen the film yet?
        >
        > Cole Matson
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • Ellen
        I m curious about what they do with it, but not curious enough to see the film at this point. Maybe when it comes out on dvd and I have a large quantity of
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 17, 2007
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          I'm curious about what they do with it, but not curious enough to see
          the film at this point. Maybe when it comes out on dvd and I have a
          large quantity of beer to deaden the pain.

          Ellen Denham

          Anthony and Jessica wrote:
          >
          > If the video game quality of the film isnt bad enough, anyone want to
          > know plot twists?
          > This article from the NYC Daily News, gives us the inside story and
          > mentions his thoughts on how scholars may feel about it:
          > http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2007/11/16/2007-11-16_a_big_bad_beowulf.html
          > <http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2007/11/16/2007-11-16_a_big_bad_beowulf.html>
          >
          > Anthony
          >
          > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com <mailto:mythsoc%40yahoogroups.com>,
          > "Cole Matson" <ccematson@...> wrote:
          > >
          > > So, the reviews are out for BEOWULF (the naked Angelina Jolie
          > version). See
          > > http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/beowulf.
          > <http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/beowulf.> I especially enjoyed the
          > > Minneapolis Star-Tribune's quote:
          > >
          > > *The adaptation replaces the two-dimensional characters of the epic
          > poem
          > > with more human, nuanced individuals.
          > >
          > > *It makes me wonder how they're defining "two-dimensional" and "human."
          > >
          > > Anybody seen the film yet?
          > >
          > > Cole Matson
          > >
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Mike Foster
          I can foresee literature teachers grading student essays writing, as I sometimes did on essays or examinations about -The Lord of the Rings-, That happened in
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 17, 2007
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            I can foresee literature teachers grading student essays writing, as I
            sometimes did on essays or examinations about -The Lord of the Rings-,
            "That happened in the movie you obviously saw, rather than in the book
            you were supposed to read."

            Mike

            -----Original Message-----
            From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
            Of Ellen
            Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2007 9:42 AM
            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Beowulf scholars be ready to cringe...

            I'm curious about what they do with it, but not curious enough to see
            the film at this point. Maybe when it comes out on dvd and I have a
            large quantity of beer to deaden the pain.

            Ellen Denham

            Anthony and Jessica wrote:
            >
            > If the video game quality of the film isnt bad enough, anyone want to
            > know plot twists?
            > This article from the NYC Daily News, gives us the inside story and
            > mentions his thoughts on how scholars may feel about it:
            > http://www.nydailyn
            <http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2007/11/16/2007-11-16_a
            _big_bad_beowulf.html>
            ews.com/entertainment/movies/2007/11/16/2007-11-16_a_big_bad_beowulf.htm
            l
            > <http://www.nydailyn
            <http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2007/11/16/2007-11-16_a
            _big_bad_beowulf.html>
            ews.com/entertainment/movies/2007/11/16/2007-11-16_a_big_bad_beowulf.htm
            l>
            >
            > Anthony
            >
            > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups <mailto:mythsoc%40yahoogroups.com> .com
            <mailto:mythsoc%40yahoogroups.com>,
            > "Cole Matson" <ccematson@...> wrote:
            > >
            > > So, the reviews are out for BEOWULF (the naked Angelina Jolie
            > version). See
            > > http://www.rottento <http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/beowulf.>
            matoes.com/m/beowulf.
            > <http://www.rottento <http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/beowulf.>
            matoes.com/m/beowulf.> I especially enjoyed the
            > > Minneapolis Star-Tribune's quote:
            > >
            > > *The adaptation replaces the two-dimensional characters of the epic
            > poem
            > > with more human, nuanced individuals.
            > >
            > > *It makes me wonder how they're defining "two-dimensional" and
            "human."
            > >
            > > Anybody seen the film yet?
            > >
            > > Cole Matson
            > >
            > >
            > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > >
            >
            >

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • dbltall42
            ... version). See ... poem ... My son went to see it, and his advice is Don t go! Spoiler warning: He says the movie started out all right, but after Beowulf
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 17, 2007
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              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Cole Matson" <ccematson@...> wrote:
              >
              > So, the reviews are out for BEOWULF (the naked Angelina Jolie
              version). See
              > http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/beowulf. I especially enjoyed the
              > Minneapolis Star-Tribune's quote:
              >
              > *The adaptation replaces the two-dimensional characters of the epic
              poem
              > with more human, nuanced individuals.
              >
              > *It makes me wonder how they're defining "two-dimensional" and "human."
              >
              > Anybody seen the film yet?
              >
              > Cole Matson
              >

              My son went to see it, and his advice is
              "Don't go!"

              Spoiler warning:









              He says the movie started out all right, but after Beowulf fought the
              sea monsters the story went all "Dude,wait .. what?" Wiglaf is his
              jolly old movie-Gimli like same-aged pal throughout the movie, and
              doesn't even help him fight the dragon (?);, and Beowulf becomes king
              of the Wrong Country!

              The part where he goes to find Lara Croft looks exactly like the part
              in LOTR where Aragorn goes to find the Pirates of the Caribbean, and
              Beowulf wears surprisingly little clothing for somebody in Northern
              Europe. In fact, this movie needed "way less naked people",
              especially Hrothgar (?)

              He says he just doesn't even want to talk about it anymore becasue it
              was "just too horrible."

              Mariette
              (glad he went to see it first so I know not to)
            • dbltall42
              More commentary on the Beowulf movie from son s friends, who were equally appalled: Dude, just seriously...wear some underpants. Mermaids, WTF?! Too many
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 17, 2007
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                More commentary on the Beowulf movie from son's friends, who were
                equally appalled:

                "Dude, just seriously...wear some underpants."
                "Mermaids, WTF?!"
                "Too many (male part) jokes"

                and

                "Keep a wide radius away from this movie!"

                Thses are high-school aged boys (the intelligent,
                science-fiction-and-fantasy reading literate kind) who liked "Kung Fu
                Hustle" and Transformers", so if they didn't like it, I don't think
                ANYONE will.

                Mariette
              • Merlin DeTardo
                ... The medievalists are beginning to chime in. Richard Scott Nokes has posted a fairly spoiler-heavy review
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 18, 2007
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                  >>---"dbltall42" <dbltall@...> wrote:
                  << More commentary on the Beowulf movie... >>

                  The medievalists are beginning to chime in. Richard Scott Nokes has
                  posted a fairly spoiler-heavy review
                  <http://unlocked-wordhoard.blogspot.com/2007/11/beowulf-movie-review.htm\
                  l> [1] at his "Unlocked-Wordhoard" blog, as well as a round-up
                  <http://unlocked-wordhoard.blogspot.com/2007/11/beowulf-review-round-up.\
                  html> [2] of links to comments by other Anglo-Saxonists [2].

                  -Merlin DeTardo

                  [1]
                  http://unlocked-wordhoard.blogspot.com/2007/11/beowulf-movie-review.html
                  <http://unlocked-wordhoard.blogspot.com/2007/11/beowulf-movie-review.htm\
                  l>

                  [2]
                  http://unlocked-wordhoard.blogspot.com/2007/11/beowulf-review-round-up.h\
                  tml
                  <http://unlocked-wordhoard.blogspot.com/2007/11/beowulf-review-round-up.\
                  html>





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                • Hugh Davis
                  I ve seen the new Beowulf and thought I d offer my thoughts. This is actually the third film based on the epic in the last two years, along with Beowulf &
                  Message 8 of 9 , Nov 19, 2007
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                    I've seen the new Beowulf and thought I'd offer my thoughts. This is actually the third film based on the epic in the last two years, along with Beowulf & Grendel, which tried to demystify the supernatural elements, and Grendel, a Sci-Fi Channel offering that suggested Grendel was some form of Nephilim. This one is the best of the three by far, but they may not be saying much.

                    Just as Kenneth Rothwell framed for all film Shakespeare that the first question must be "Is it Shakespeare?", I think this film's discussion should start with "Is it Beowulf?" The answer is basically yes. The plot does have variations, but adaptations tend to, and the first hour or so is close. Perhaps I went into the film with lowered expectations, but I did not find it to be terrible. In fact, there are things about it which I liked. The repetitious "I am Beowulf" fits the character, I think, and his confident statements to the Coast Guard (in which Winstone sounded very much like he was channeling Sean Connery) seemed perfect for the male swagger we tend to see in the Anglo-Saxon hero. Malkovich's Unferth was a good combination of arrogant yet sniveling. I thought the character of Wiglaf worked, although I didn't quite get why they had him there from the start (my first thought was that he would be the father of the figure seen with the dragon).

                    I would like to see a straight version of the epic put to film. Retellings with different angles work best when they are working against a more traditional version, but that "Classics Illustrated" approach is yet to be seen, and this may well be as close as one gets. It will be interesting to teach Beowulf next year (I teach high school English, and our BritLit survey starts with this work) and deal with students who have seen this. While I personally do not agree with the decision to leave all of the action with the Danes or to tie the Dragon to Grendel/Grendel's mother, I can see why the filmmakers felt it fit their narrative in important ways. This is not even the first adaptation to have Grendel's mother overly sexualized (the 1999 post-apocalyptic film took that angle, including a pinup model in the role) or to tie the dragon directly to Beowulf's (aging) vanity (HBO's Animated Epic half-hour featured a metaphysical seeming dragon of the mind).

                    I found the animation off-putting at first, reminding me of a video game, and I think it's aiming for a sort of gamer culture, but I found the motion capture was less distracting as the film progressed. I cannot say the same for the attempts at 3-D friendly angles, which forced odd perspectives in, at times, comical (or at least Freudian) ways. Also, since the other characters showed signs of aging in their faces (perhaps the only change of expression on Wealtheow came with a few wrinkles added), I don't understand why Beowulf merely grays. Surely that would have given Zemeckis the opportunity to make Beowulf more closely resemble Ray Winstone, as the other characters look like their actors.

                    When John Huston directed The Dead, some Joyce scholars saw it as a "nourishing experience" to have a leading and iconic director tackle an adaptation of such an important work. I think my disappointment in this is not that it wasn't an entertaining film (which, as action-adventure, I thought it was), but that it was not a "nourishing experience," with the screenplay written by Neil Gaiman. My hope was that his take would invigorate the film (I do not say reinvigorate, as I feel the epic is vigorous on its own). Instead, I felt the screenplay was going through the motions, and that was disappointing as an opportunity lost.

                    My final thought is a query. Can anyone help me decipher the film's actual stance on faith? Hrothgar tells Unferth not to pray to any god (Odin or "the new Roman god, Jesus Christ"), feeling the threat of Grendel is beyond any god's help, yet he uses phrases such as "By Odin!" as exclamations. Beowulf seems similarly godless. Unferth, meanwhile, converts and prays to Christ. The film would seem to suggest the faith is wrong or foolish, yet Unferth is not killed by the dragon (despite some crucifixion imagery), and Beowulf does die.

                    Just my thoughts on a cold morning,
                    Hugh Davis
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                  • SBolding
                    I don t post very often, and my background is in Old French rather than English or Anglo Saxon. However one thought keeps coming back to mind when I think of
                    Message 9 of 9 , Nov 20, 2007
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                      I don't post very often, and my background is in Old French rather than English or Anglo Saxon. However one thought keeps coming back to mind when I think of films like Beowolf and other adaptations.

                      Basically, there are so many people out there who will never ever pick up a copy of Beowolf and actually read it. (Let alone pick up any book and read it.) However imperfect, the film will expose a large number of these people to a great literary tradition, and there is high value in that. Who knows but that the film may just inspire one or two of them to actually pick up the book? And that would be well worth any faults the film may contain.

                      I have seen this phenomenon in several friends who never read Tolkein, but after the Jackson films are now avidly working their way through the novels, discussing them with me, and truly discovering the original works. That to my way of thinking is victory.

                      Sharon Bolding


                      "The worm thinks it strange and foolish
                      that man does not eat his books."
                      Rabindranath Tagore

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