James Milstead’s review published on Letterboxd:
D: Robert Zemeckis
Warner Bros/Paramount/Shangri-La/Imagemovers (Robert Zemeckis, Steve Bing, Jack Rapke & Steve Starkey)
US/UK 🇺🇸 🇬🇧 2007
W: Neil Faiman & Roger Avary [based on the Old English poem, anonymously written]
Mus: Alan Silvestri
Ray Winstone (Beowulf), Crispin Glover (Grendel), Angelina Jolie (Grendel's Mother), Anthony Hopkins (King Hrothgar), Robin Wright (Queen Wealtheow), John Malkovich (Unferth)
Enjoyment of Robert Zemeckis' 2007 production of Beowulf depends heavily on how you react to the motion capture animation, which the director utilised previously in the 2004 film The Polar Express.
The animation process does leave the film in an uncanny valley between live action and computer-generated animation which is a little jarring on the eye, especially for the opening half-hour.
The story is adapted from an Old English poem, considered the oldest written work and dating back to the 10th century, or possibly earlier. It depicts a Danish kingdom under threat by a giant monster, named Grendel, and the warrior Beowulf, who arrives to slay the beast, only to be enchanted by its mother, a witch-like being who is far more benevolent.
As far as the adaptation goes, the screenwriters do a fine job, and the film also makes excellent use of a thunderous music score by Alan Silvestri, but it really is the animation process which affects the overall quality of the film. With such a huge fantasy quotient, it's understandable why it was made as an animated film, but it could have been far more impressive had it been filmed as a live action movie, much in the same vein as the Lord Of The Rings films.
I appreciate that Robert Zemeckis is a filmmaker who wants to explore new avenues when creating his work, but unfortunately this execution just wasn't 100% successful.