El-Cheapo Video Finds: Beowulf on Blu-Ray

Beowulf (Blu-ray)Beowulf is the first heroic tale ever written in the English Language, written over 1500 years ago in Old English, which by now is a nearly unrecognizable language.

There have been many versions of Beowulf published in books, audiobooks, DVD, and now Blu-Ray — this one, found in a delete bin at a video store. The version I saw was completely done in computer animation. This allowed for Grendel to be a terrible deamon as in the book, but there were times, you would think that much of Grendel’s appearance was stolen from Gollum, from Lord of the Rings.

If you want to be blown away by animation and sound effects, and if you don’t mind that many liberties were taken with the original plot and character development, then you probably won’t mind this movie. Attempts to infuse vulnerability into Beowulf’s (or Grendel’s) character appeared to be done at the last minue without much sensitivity to the story, and thus came off appearing cheesy and cliche.

Optional video goodies are few, but one option lets you see how they did the CGI for every part of the film, as a picture-in-picture while the movie is playing. But there were passages in the movie that were spoken in Old English which never had a Modern English translation in the closed-captioning. That seems like a careless omission, and any fans of Beowulf would probably have appreciated that being put into the captioning.