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I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger. I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night. Mine is Strength... and Lust... and Power! I! AM! BEOWULF!
This is the 2007 film written by Roger Avary (who co-wrote Pulp Fiction) and Neil Gaiman, directed by Robert Zemeckis, and starring Ray Winstone. Not (for instance) the very strange 1999 film starring Christopher Lambert.
It's a Motion Capture 3D Movie adaptation of the epic Beowulf. The premise is an External Retcon: the story of Beowulf as we know grew in the telling (with a bit of help from Beowulf himself), and the "true" events are somewhat different — and, in a couple of key sequences where there were no witnesses and the story relies on the hero's word alone, very different.
- All CGI Cartoon
- Antagonistic Offspring: The dragon towards Beowulf.
- The Atoner: Beowulf becomes this towards the end, when he is unwilling to just sit back to let some other hero clean up his mess (and start the whole thing over again). He seems well aware that he's likely to pay for his past with his life.
- Attack Its Weak Point:
- Beowulf reaches through a chink in the dragon's armor and pulls out its heart. Now that is Badass. He knows this because of a speech from Hrothgar about dragon-slaying.
- Earlier, Beowulf notices Grendel's reaction to sounds and his large exposed eardrum, and smashes it bloody with his fist to take most of the fight out of him.
- Badass Boast: The page quote.
- Badass Normal: The titular character. He swam for six days carrying a sword, killing sea monsters on the fifth night (he claims nine, but we only actually see a couple — and that's still very impressive), tore out Grendel's arm, wielded a giant's sword and stood up to a dragon's breath for a long time and, with a timely distraction, killed the dragon.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy
- Bawdy Song: The Geats singing songs of this sort.
- Be All My Sins Remembered: Beowulf instructs this "Keep a memory of me, not as a king or a hero; but as a man: fallible and flawed." However after he dies, Wiglaf and Wealthow both intend to have him remembered as a great hero.
- Beowulf also tries to confess his sins to Wiglaf a few times, but Wiglaf won't have any of it insisting that Beowulf is a hero, and that is all he needs to know.
- Bilingual Bonus: For fans of Old English.
- Black Speech: Grendel can only speak Old English.
- Body Horror: Grendel.
- Catch Phrase: "I am Beowulf," and variations upon "I'm here to kill your monster."
- Censor Steam: Beowulf fought the monster Grendel unarmed and completely naked (in order to fight on equal ground). When smoke (from a barrel overturned into the fire) isn't around, most of the battle consists of Beowulf jumping around like a circus monkey playing "Hide the Wiener."
- Character Title
- Cute Monster Girl: Grendel's mother and the mermaid In the novel of the movie, they're one and the same, but in the movie, they're two different entities.
- Circling Monologue: Grendel's mother does this to the titular hero. She promises the trifecta of Sex, Money, and Power, strumming every chord of this flawed hero's heart and pride as she circles him.
- Cycle of Revenge: Hrothgar killed a dragon (implied to also be descendant of Grendel's Mother), and then went to fight Grendel's Mother. She seduced him and gave birth to Grendel who then plagued the lands. Beowulf killed Grendel, his mother killed Beowulf's men. He went to kill her, but was also seduced by her and their child became a dragon, who also ravages the land. Beowulf even states that he won't sent someone else to kill the dragon, as that will simply start the cycle all over again. Beowulf kills the dragon, but dies in the process. The film ends with Grendel's Mother beckoning to Wiglaf, so it's unclear whether or not the cycle ends.
- Dark Age Europe: "The time of heroes is dead, the Christ-God has killed it, leaving nothing but weeping martyrs and fear and shame"
- Death by Adaptation: Hrothgar
- Death of the Old Gods: Beowulf lamenting than his people have abandoned the old gods for the Christ-God and weeping martyrs.
- Digital Head Swap: After a fashion. The whole thing was filmed using motion capture, and Ray Winstone claimed they put his head on his eighteen-year-old body. The same sort of thing was done with Angelina Jolie, who was pregnant at the time.
- Distinction Without a Difference: "This is not battle. This is slaughter."
- Driven to Suicide: Hrothgar
- Dual-Wielding: During the battle scene in the later half of the movie, soldiers are seen dual-wielding axes.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Grendel
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Grendel's mother in turn clearly cares for him.
- External Retcon: Not everyone was amused.
- Final First Hug: It is revealed the dragon Beowulf fights to the mutual death is actually his own son, by way of the same creature that was mother to Grendel. After the climax of the movie, wherein the dragon has mortally wounded Beowulf, and he has torn out the dragon's heart, they both crash-land on the beach. There, the dragon's form melts away into the waves, revealing a shiny, golden-skin humanoid. It's not quite a hug, but Beowulf looks his son in the eyes and lays a hand on his shoulder before his corpse washes away.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: Grendel
- Full-Frontal Assault: Inverted. Beowulf fights Grendel naked to show off his machismo.
- Gainaxing/JigglePhysics: The maid, Yrsa, seems to have had quite a lot of care taken to make sure her large tracts of land sway and move realistically. Almost makes you wonder if they used motion capture on those as well.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Subverted. We only see the shadow as Grendel tears a man in two, but right after that the severed torso flies into plain sight, innards and all.
- Gorgeous Gorgon: Grendel's mom.
- Groin Attack: By sword. It doesn't work
- Half-Human Hybrid: Grendel. He may be sterile (given his apparent lack of reproductive organs), and though it may just be because he's a monster he gives a good impression of being sickly. He's hideously deformed, has what appears to be a nasty skin condition, and is sometimes heard whimpering as if in pain (though that's probably just because loud noises irritate his super-sensitive ear). The dragon at the end of the film is also a Half-Human Hybrid, born of a mating between Beowulf and Grendel's mother. This is also very much unlike the original poem, where no human ancestry was suggested for Grendel except that he was a distant descendant of Cain.
- Hot Mom: Grendel's mom is played by Angelina Jolie.
- Large Ham: Ray Winstone as Beowulf enjoys Chewing the Scenery. He also has No Indoor Voice!
- Life or Limb Decision: Beowulf cuts the tendons in his own arm in order to reach the dragon's heart.
- Living Legend: He plays with this. He actually does some really awesome things, but he's willing to lie to look more awesome than he really is.
- Love Dodecahedron: In the second act, the King, the Queen, and the Royal Concubine.
- Luke, You Are My Father: The Dragon reveals to Beowulf that they are actually father and son.
- May-December Romance: Beowulf and his "bedwarmer" Ursula after Wealtheow learned that he had a fling with Grendel's mother, she became emotionally estranged from him and gave him the Lysistrata treatment, like with what happened between her and her late first-husband/Beowulf's predecessor Hrothgar, for the same reason.
- The Mountains of Illinois: Zealand does have a couple of hills in real life (the highest natural point being 122.9 meters, or 403.21 feet, up), but it's nowhere near as mountainous as this film suggests.
- Nipple-and-Dimed: This film can show full frontal Jolie and still get a PG-13 rating if they cover her nipples with a bit of gold paint.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Although the Zealanders speak in fake, but at least subtle, Danish accents — Grendel even speaks Old English — the Geats speak in the actors' natural accents, which means that the title character, since he's played by Ray Winstone, is a Cockney ("I'm 'ere to kiw your mhonschtah."), and Wiglaf speaks in Brendon Gleeson's usual Irish accent.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Grendel's mother's true form is only glimpsed in reflections. (And if you are really curious, a figure sculpt was released.)
- Outrun the Fireball: Beowulf has to do this in the cave when the dragon breathes fire at him. Partially justified in that he turns and starts running when the dragon inhales.
- Playing Gertrude: Angelina Jolie plays Grendel's mother. Grendel is played by Crispin Glover, who is older than she is. Although, you know, her character is Really Seven Hundred Years Old. And a Shape Shifter.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: The page quote.
- Prehensile Hair: Grendel's mother (interpreted here as a sexy siren rather than the original's poorly described ogre-she-wolf-like thing) has a long braid that can move on its own. It's likely this was the tail of whatever the hell her real form was.
- Pride: An Aesop.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: For the third time, the page quote. Alsozz
"They SAY! You have a MONSTAH here. They SAY! Your lands are CURSED. My name is BEOWULF! I'm here to KILL YOUR MONSTAH!"
- Punctuated Pounding
- Red Right Hand: The movie gives Grendel's Mother the power to assume the pleasing form of Angelina Jolie, but she has a prehensile and whip-like ponytail, as well as humourously high-heeled feet.
- Sarcastic Clapping: Unferth does this because he's drunk and unimpressed by Beowulf's boasting and doesn't know any better. Beowulf finds it difficult to argue with a drunk.
- Scaled Up
Sean ConneryRay Winstone Is About To Stab You: The movie poster.
- Scenery Censor:
- The titular character fights the monster Grendel completely nude, with his goods blocked from view by his leg, a sword, and a table, among other things. Hell, the shadow of his thigh blocks his fun bits at several points. If you slow down the film, and realize there are parts where his genitals would be visible but aren't, it seems like Beowulf is either hung like a Greek statue or a eunuch.
- Grendel's mother (voice, face and rendered body of Angelina Jolie) is "clothed" in weird gold water... stuff. Though this could be an example of Non-Mammal Mammaries.
- Say My Name: Beowulf.
- Serkis Folk: Everybody.
- Skyward Scream: IN THE NAME OF ODIN!
- Spared by the Adaptation: Grendel's Mother
- Super Strength: The movie certainly implied that the title character has beyond normal strength and fortitude, though it's still to a much lesser degree than the strength of 30 men in just the grip of his hands.
- Talking to Himself: Both Beowulf and the Dragon are voiced and motion-captured by Ray Winstone.
- Translation Convention: The people here speak modern English, except for Grendel, who does speak Anglo-Saxon.
- Unrated Edition: Featuring Zemeckis's original NC-17 cut of the film he intended for IMAX theatres.
- Unreliable Narrator: Takes this tack in regards to Beowulf's exploits for which there are no witnesses. Most notably, he didn't exactly "kill" Grendel's Mother. And he did more than "slay sea monsters" during that storm. It should be noted, though, that not all of the film's divergences from the standard story can be explained this way.