Directed by Robert Zemeckis
USA 2007

 

You don’t need to wait for Angelina Jolie to rise from the vaporous depths naked and dripping liquid gold to know that this “Beowulf” isn’t your high school teacher’s Old English epic poem. You don’t even have to wait for the flying spears and airborne bodies that — if you watch the movie in one of the hundreds of theaters equipped with 3-D projection — will look as if they’re hurtling directly at your head. You could poke your eye out with one of those things! Which is precisely what I thought when I first saw Ms. Jolie’s jutting breasts too.

Ms. Jolie plays the bad girl in “Beowulf,” a wicked demon, the mother of all monsters — here, Grendel, played by Crispin Glover — who can switch from hag to fab in the wink of a serpentine eye. If you don’t remember this evil babe from the poem, it’s because she’s almost entirely the invention of the screenwriters Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman and the director Robert Zemeckis, who together have plumped her up in words, deeds and curves. These creative interventions aren’t especially surprising given the source material and the nature of big-studio adaptations. There’s plenty of action in “Beowulf,” but even its more vigorous bloodletting pales next to its rich language, exotic setting and mythic grandeur.

Excerpt from The New York Times (Manohla Dargis) HERE.

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Theatrical Release: November 5th, 2007

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DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:54:32
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.41 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUBs; French and Spanish
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

Featurettes:
• “A Hero’s Journey: The Making of Beowulf” (23:55)
• “Beasts of Burden: Designing the Creatures of Beowulf” (7:03)
• “The Origins of Beowulf” (5:13)
• “Creating the Ultimate Beowulf” (2:31)
• “The Art of Beowulf” (5:13)
• 6 deleted scenes
• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: February 26th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 15

 

Comments:

This was shown theatrically in '3-D' but this SD DVD is obviously not. It reports the outlandish visuals very well - CGI has this habit of being very indistinct and is always better kept in motion so as not to discern the weaknesses... but the eye-candy treatment (a major plus of the film) seems to have come through exceptionally well in this 'Director's Cut' DVD transfer. Colors are bright enough and detail shines through when called upon for live action and close-up sequences. The DVD is dual-layered and progressive - anamorphic in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It is coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard.  I don't see excessive manipulation and the image is, expectantly, very clean. I don't tend to think anyone will really complain about the image quality unless they are perturbed about the excessive CGI (which is not fault of the DVD). It has a strong 5.1 track that can really let loose at times (window rattling times) but in correspondence to the dialogue it is within normal parameters. There are optional subtitles in a large yellow font. 

There is no commentary but there are some featurettes and such. “A Hero’s Journey: The Making of Beowulf” runs almost 25 minutes and is exactly how it's titled with some background production information on shooting and input from director Zemeckis and other principles. Following that is a 7 minute spiel on "Beasts of Burden: Designing the Creatures of Beowulf” - then something a bit more intriguing - “The Origins of Beowulf” which is what I found more worthwhile as it explained much or the lore and legend of the story. “Creating the Ultimate Beowulf” is but 2.5 minutes long and “The Art of Beowulf” runs 5. There are also 6 deleted scenes - they are visually incomplete but give a general idea of what options were put forth to conclude at later production date. There is a theatrical trailer and some previews. Not the best supplements but standard fare.

The film? - I suspect those who indulge will know what they are in for - and should probably enjoy the spectacle to some degree. If you are looking to see Jolie naked - she's not in it very much and I am pretty sure a lot of her is animated/falsified too. I was keen to see this after enjoying Beowulf and Grendel in Blu-ray HERE which is actually a very tame telling of the tale compared to this. I was surprised to watch the whole film and Zemeckis still knows how to craft entertainment. So, for those keen on monsters, mythology and lots of violence, it is worth watching.  

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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