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Has anyone seen the trailer for Beowulf and Grendel?

What did you all think of it?

My thoughts: it might be all right, but given what we see in the trailer, which is supposed to be representative of the better (if flashier) aspects of a film, I'm very apprehensive. To be frank, it looks awful, however much you may be fond of looking at Gerard Butler. (And I understand that a goodly number of the ladies do like looking at him.)

Geats with Scottish accents? Are "gits". Seriously, "thairtin gits". There's some poetic justice there. ;-)

"Valhalla"?! I just think making Geats into Vikings is a non-starter.

What is with all the corny tagline-spouting? And if that wasn't enough: "a son must avenge his father". Eh? Sympathetic Grendel? He's Grendel! He's a monster by definition! This is getting a tad bit too touchy-feely, IMO, even if you like reimagined classics.

As for the special effects, "period" costumes, and gratuitous rolling in the hay, I say: this looks to be a movie in the "grand" tradition of First Knight - I expect to find the trailer better than the film once I've watched it. This was not the case for The 13th Warrior (whose trailer I did not see first) and Rob Roy (whose trailer I did see first). Prove me wrong, why don'tcha.

Another aside about Mr. Butler: I liked his performance in The Phantom of the Opera and I hear he was good in Dracula. He was fantastic in Attila. The upcoming 300 looks interesting. So, it isn't Butler. I just don't care to see Beowulf (the epic poem) turned into an el cheapo edition of The 13th Warrior (which, as figgylicious noted, was good because it didn't purport to be Beowulf).

While we're on the subject, don't you think it would be funny if Nathan Algren's summary of the Battle of Thermopylae from The Last Samurai was used in a trailer for 300? ;-)

I'm sure we'll be treated to Carmina Burana and "Three hundred defenders... ONE MILLION INVADERS... a day that would live in history". Some things never change. :-P

Edit, 18:00 CST: In other news, last night gondhir and I lost to taiji_jian in ST:TNG trivia. 11 to 19 to 21! What's the world coming to?




( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 9th, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC)
It's a big ad!
# Ve-ry big ad! #
# This better sell some bloody horned helmeeeeets! #

Jan. 9th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
first thing I thought before I clicked on the cut was "um, hasn't this already been done?" I enjoyed '13th Warrior' though my knowledge of Beowulf is lacking (after we saw 13th Warrior, my mom told me the Beowulf story according to the Seamus Heaney? translation that had just come out). Mostly we just like quoting the scene where he learns how to speak their language....

I do not get the Gerard Butler thing. and that is some bad hair is has in the trailer. But is he swoonable? I say "no". But that could just be my taste in men. Perhaps it was 'Phantom' that attracted all the fangirls. I still can't bring myself to watch that movie.

and for me, the Carmina Burana will always make me think of that fantastic scene in 'Excalibur'....
Jan. 10th, 2006 12:04 am (UTC)
Hwaet! We gar-dena...

Beowulf is one of my favourite poems in the English language. A few years ago, I learned enough Old English to actually read it in the original, and it was beautiful.

With my head-hoard full of Dane-gold, I am wary of this movie.

Jan. 10th, 2006 10:12 am (UTC)
Hwaet wot?
I don't think a quarter of the people involved in this production know hwaet from w00t. ;-)

Jan. 10th, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Hwaet wot?
There's a frightening thought.

w00t! we pwn-danes...
Jan. 10th, 2006 02:08 am (UTC)
I read both "Beowulf" and "Grendel" in ninth grade, yea on 5 years ago, but this trailer looks to be a horrifying twisting of it. Le sigh.

Next time: The Canterbury Tales. Heheh.
Jan. 10th, 2006 02:11 am (UTC)
Chaucer's already spinning
There was already A Knight's Tale, n'est-ce pas?

Jan. 10th, 2006 04:45 am (UTC)
Re: Chaucer's already spinning
Ah, you have a point. Pointy point.

Hmm. Hollywoodizations of classic literature... Scary thoughts. "Baghavad Gita: The Movie"?
Jan. 10th, 2006 05:59 am (UTC)
Yeah, haven't you heard?
Orlando Bloom plays Arjuna and Ben Kingsley plays Krishna!

Jan. 10th, 2006 06:00 am (UTC)
Re: Yeah, haven't you heard?
Insert shuddering here.
Jan. 10th, 2006 06:21 am (UTC)
Oh, it gets better!
There's an upcoming edition of Troilus + Cressida starring Lindsey Lohan and Vin Diesel! And featuring the music of Evanescence!

Jan. 10th, 2006 06:22 am (UTC)
Re: Oh, it gets better!

I thought Vin Diesel was going to play Socrates for the movie version of the Dialogues, though? That man must be heavily booked.
Jan. 10th, 2006 06:34 am (UTC)
The other bald guy
Actually, that was Patrick Stewart, so, not so bad.

Plato's Apology, though... I don't care what they say, I think Harrison Ford was miscast as Plato. And I didn't really care for all that posturing with the bronze swords and "truth means never having to say you're sorry" tagline.

Gary Oldman as Aristophanes... who didn't see that coming?

Jan. 10th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
Re: The other bald guy
Well, Greeks aside, I know that I can't wait to see Joaquin Phoenix as Tirian in "The Last Battle."
Jan. 10th, 2006 06:45 am (UTC)
Have I missed the battle?
Aslan: You have missed the world!

Seriously, ya had me going for a second. ;-)

Jan. 10th, 2006 06:49 am (UTC)
It is time. Time! TIME!
Heheh. If only Andre the Giant were still around, he could play Father Time.
Jan. 10th, 2006 06:54 am (UTC)
Too short a season
Huh. I kind of figured he played Fezzik, and I think I remember hearing of his passing in 1993, but I watched TPB much later (maybe 1998, maybe later) and so I never made the connection.

There's always Gheorghe Muresan.

Jan. 10th, 2006 06:57 am (UTC)
Re: Too short a season
We could have Sean Connery play King Frank, what do you think? For The Magician's Nephew, that is.
Jan. 10th, 2006 07:55 am (UTC)
I always thought of King Frank...
... as a man in his forties who was ethnically diverse, or very dichotomous with his wife. Seeing as his children populated Narnia with humans, etc.

Jan. 10th, 2006 07:57 am (UTC)
Re: I always thought of King Frank...
Then it'll be Sean Connery and, I don't know, Halle Berry? ;)
Jan. 10th, 2006 08:56 am (UTC)
Yes, Halle Berry
Because white and mocha make Calormene. :-D

(Deleted comment)
Jan. 10th, 2006 11:23 am (UTC)
Hey Ram
Why'm I not surprised? :-P

OK, next up is the hajira, only this time with Kevin Costner as the sagacious wiseninny sidekick...

(Deleted comment)
Jan. 10th, 2006 06:46 am (UTC)
To be frank, it looks awful
Sorry, no Franks, only Geats and Danes.

And Grendel the Barbarian.
Jan. 10th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
Frenks, GITS, and Deans
I just want a Dane named James... so we can have Jimmae the Dean!

Jan. 10th, 2006 07:17 am (UTC)
Is it just my computer, or did the entire site change in the last hour or two, and did the trailer vanish from existence? And I just finished ranting about it, too. *sigh*

I was going to give up and hang my hopes on the 2007 version, but it's rumored to be motion-capture. Despite how far the technology has come, I don't think it's nearly advanced enough to pull this off. Maybe I'm just having nightmare flashbacks to The Polar Express, but I don't want Beowulf looking anything like that.

So it looks like it's just me, my Seamus Heaney translation, and The Monsters and the Critics. *hunkers down in Cave of Denial*
Jan. 10th, 2006 10:10 am (UTC)
I read that rant
And let me just say: you rock in innumerable ways. :-)

1. Someone got the idea, from the successful introduction of N'kara/Ildico in Attila, that Gerard Butler and redheads are like the Resse's Pieces. Unfortunately, someone failed to take into account that the historical Attila was different in so many ways from Gerard Butler that belief had already taken a flying leap over Cabed Naeramarth. So, instead of the short, stocky, pugnacious, alcohol-abusing Attila we got the tall, well-muscled, pugnacious, elegant Attila. So much for canon. But Beowulf is not Attila; you can't romanticize a story that is already the literary equivalent of an ornately gilded shield.

2. Mocap can be more than your basic Toy Story-esque CG. Did you know that the vast majority of the Rohirrim on the Pelennor field were controlled via MASSIVE using mocap playback of several hundred primitive maneuvers? If you didn't, have a look at Disc 6 of the SEE DVDs of LOTR, which is part of the ROTK set; if you did, let's just hope it's at least like that. OTOH, Final Fantasy-type animation is really difficult to do using mocap (as opposed to compositing live action and hand animation), so I do understand and share your concerns. Either way, you might be interested in massforge, our agent-based character/vehicle animation project.

3. Frankly, the Grendel the Barbarian thing turns me off from ever going to see B&G in a theatre - not that I would without it. "Beowulf the Dark Knight" was idiotic. The gratuitous roll in the hay was worse, for the reasons you enumerated, but you can see from the introduction of "Grendel's son" as a character that the scriptwriters have gone "give everyone a family"-happy.

4. Yes, the site changed. The couple of blogs they put up are an interesting read, if a little predictable and blase about the whole thing.

I shall gain Valhallame glory, or grim-trask shall take me,
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 10th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
Agreeing to disagree
I understand what you mean, but I guess it's a line I draw between "[Author's] [oeuvre]" and "[oeuvre]". e.g., Bram Stoker's Dracula and J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. This one does say "based on Beowulf", so I should give it the benefit of the doubt, but then Troy didn't even claim that.

I guess what I'm objecting to is that there are "period dramas" inspired by legends and real historical events (The Right Stuff, Rob Roy, Braveheart, even Hero and Troy) where creative license is just fine, because we are looking for a story that somehow relates to true history and mixes it up for dramatic value. Then there are classics committed to film. Here I happen to think there's something to be said for purism. You can mess with things such as time period and costumes (cf. Branagh's Hamlet or even Romeo + Juliet), but the author of the epic poem or play must have done a good job on the essentials for the story to survive this long! So, you like Story and all else is subservient to it. Sure.

I know we have sonewhat divergent views on plausibility and internal consistency (e.g., we agree on CTHD, are a little ways apart on Hero, and disagree on Gladiator and The Matrix). But if you're going to adapt a successful story, why not make it something new (cf. The 13th Warrior)?

That's all I'm saying. I know we probably still have different views about some of these things, but to me the only things that need to be somewhat accurate are "docudramas" such as Apollo 13. Period romances can be total departures a la King Arthur unless they purport to be Malory. See what I mean?

(Deleted comment)
Jan. 10th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
Re: I read that rant
Hm. I haven't seen Attila. Should I rent it, just as a harbinger of what B&G is probably going to be? Or is it bad/inaccurate enough that it's not even worth the effort?

I know Weta did amazing, incredible things with MASSIVE, and if everyone in the movie looked like Gollum I'd probably be okay with it. In fact, I think I'll go watch Two Towers again just so I can check out the Rohirrim in the background. Besides, Neil Gaiman is credited as a writer, so it'll be worth the price of admission to see what one of my favorite modern writers has done with my favorite ancient poem.

...Wait a second. Grendel has a child, too?! Ai, Elbereth...
Jan. 12th, 2006 03:50 am (UTC)
Attila: depends what you mean by "accurate"
Attila as portrayed by Gerard Butler is, of coure, not a short-legged Asiatic-looking fellow riding a barrel-chested pony. (It's an open question of genealogical history to this day whether the Xiongnu invaders of China, aka the "northern barbarians", were really the precursors of the Huns, but Attila was said to have a Eastern Asian look.)

The "Sword of Mars" is featured, though not Mars, thankfully. ;-)

I'd definitely watch the 2007 Beowulf if everyone looked like Gollum, but that's Maya, not MASSIVE. There is a huge amount of motion capture that went into both, but Gollum is hand-animated in very, very painstaking detail. Speaking of whom, I really ought to watch that Gollum DVD that came with my ROTK Special Extended Edition.

Gaiman is the reason I still have hope for that production.

Yes, Grendel has a son in Beowulf and Grendel.

Ai, Elbereth...
Indeed. You're the first person outside of Nethack fandom I've known to swear by Elbereth!

Jan. 12th, 2006 07:13 am (UTC)
Re: Attila: depends what you mean by "accurate"
but that's Maya, not MASSIVE

I will probably never get the different special-effects programs straight. I'm lucky enough when I can tell Weta and ILM apart. ;)

You're the first person outside of Nethack fandom I've known to swear by Elbereth!

Most of my swear words aren't actually perceived as swear words by the English-speaking public. There's an occasional "gorram it" or a Mandarin epithet, courtesy of Firefly, and of course there's taking Varda's name in vain. And I've been known to cry "O Discordia" after a particularly bad day...
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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