Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Review of "Beowulf: Director’s Cut" DVD version

Review of
Beowulf: Director’s Cut DVD version

Five out of five stars
 Beowulf is an ancient English epic poem of over 3,000 lines that is known as having been first written down sometime between 975 and 1025 CE. It is set in Scandinavia, a land of bitter cold, mountains, moors and mysteries. Beowulf is a traditional hero, coming to the aid of a king and kingdom besieged by a hideous monster, defeating it in battle and then being hailed as a hero.
 When the original story opens, the mead hall of Hrothgar, King of the Danes, is attacked by the monster Grendel. Beowulf vows to kill the monster, which he does. Enraged by the death of her son, Grendel’s mother seeks revenge, and in a second titanic battle, Beowulf succeeds in killing her as well.
 Beowulf then returns to his own kingdom and assumes the position of king. Fifty years later, a dragon becomes enraged when a gold cup is stolen from its’ lair. It emerges and begins burning everything it encounters. Beowulf and his warriors come to fight the dragon and Beowulf insists that he carry on the battle alone. Outmatched, Beowulf is losing the fight until his warrior friend Wiglaf disobeys orders and assists Beowulf. The dragon is killed, but Beowulf is mortally wounded, and the story ends with his funeral pyre burning.
 The producers take some significant poetic license with the original story, specifically in the rendition of the battle between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother and Beowulf’s ascension to the throne. Yet, this is another demonstration of how the old epic poems of heroism can be made into quality modern movies.
 It is unfortunate that Beowulf is not given more attention in K-12 English classes, for it is the northern European equivalent to the Iliad of Homer. With this movie as an educational aid, it will be much easier to generate interest among the students in this key element of Western Civilization.

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