Adapted from the oldest story in the English language, "Beowulf" is a hyper violent and highly sexualized tale of the warrior Beowulf (Ray Winstone) who must slay the monster Grendel (Crispin Glover). Later, Grendel's mother (Jolie) seduces Beowulf so that she can produce a replacement heir that will allow her to reestablish her dominion over the kingdom. (Hence, Giiiif meee sonnn.)
As do quotes like this, which, speaking of a fight between Beowulf and Grendel, make it seem more like the wrestling scene from D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love:
His knack for a good scrap is on show in one of the film's pivotal fight scenes when Beowulf battles Grendel in the nude, mano a beast-o. ("Bob asked if he had to be nude, but we said, 'It's in the poem,' " Gaiman explained.) So in a crafty bit of staging to allow a PG-13 rating, Beowulf's naughty bits are obfuscated by random objects in the foreground. It's more subtle and subdued, but shadows, swords, mead flagons and shoulders block all in a sequence not unlike the prankish cloaking device used in "Austin Powers" films.
I trust Neil Gaiman. Kind of. The way I trust Orson Scott Card, or Disney animators. The man's capable of genius, and hardly every fails.
I just worry more when it's a story I love this much.
Then again, I liked Beowulf and Grendel (see post link above). So I don't know that I'm the best judge of these things. So here goes, Neil Gaiman. I'm trusting you. Give me a Beowulf I'll be not entirely disappointed with.
Click here for the disappointingly spare movie site.
Then check out Neil Gaiman's fantastic blog and website. There's a lot on the new movie Stardust, which will be released August 10, I think. Can't wait for that...