Saturday, January 14, 2006

Beowulf and Grendel Trailer

The trailer to the Beowulf & Grendel, due out later this year.

Years ago, this movie was going to be true to the poem, but they couldn't raise the money, even with the backing of the Canadian and Icelandic governments. So the movie has morphed into "Predator meets Braveheart," or so it was described by the director a few years ago. I'm not a stickler for movies being slavishly faithful to the text (few texts can be remediated without changes anyways), and especially so when they're honest enough to indicate they're not trying to be the text on screen. The movie's controversial within the Anglo-Saxon community. For one thing, we watch Grendel watching Hrothgar kill Grendel's father, which positions Grendel's attacks on Heorot within the larger context of natural, secular blood feud (as opposed to the monstrous race of Cain and their war with God feud).

Also added to the movie is character Selma (fine, we toss in a female character to help Beowulf and function as a potential love interest, but couldn't we at least give her a Scandinavian name, or, since she's a witch, a Laplandish name if she's to be one of those foreign, imported witches? Also of note is the "Necrophile," still listed on the movie Web site's cast of characters but not on IMDB. I'd wondered about that when I first saw it (actually, I first read it as necromancer and a friend pointed it out to me that it was necrophile), and was told by a former consultant to the movie that the necrophile
is a twist on the whole rape and pillage motif. (Maybe the idea is that rape isn't so bad if its done to a corpse, or the idea is that the rapist is so depraved that he rapes corpses? The former consultant wasn't sure either, and had questioned the need for a corpse.)

But don't let those changes and additions get in the way. If the movie's good, the movie's good. It is, after all, Beowulf & Grendel rather than Beowulf. The movie was filmed in Iceland, and from what I've seen, they make the most of the Icelandic landscape. And it's produced by my favorite Icelandic director, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson. (I know, you're thinking, "What? John's got a favorite Icelandic director?" I do.) Producing not the same as directing, but still.


At 11:20 AM, Blogger Donna said...

But what's really impressive are those eths and thorns. If only I had occasion to write in OE or Icelandic more often, I might set off to find the code for those. (Long ago, I thought I might be an Old English scholar, but then I changed my mind. More than once.)

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Brendan said...

Ufda. As an American student hoping to do the MA in Medieval Icelandic Studies in Reykjavík, I'm excited to see a film that should prominently feature the Icelandic landscape. As a student of Beowulf I am not looking forward to the inevitable butchering of this classic. I mean, even giving Grendel a father in the first place seems unnecessary at best, and at worst indicative of a blatant misunderstanding of the story's major themes. I mean, given the Scandinavian obsession with patriarchy, might it not be significant that Grendel has no named father? Or that weregild is levied by his mother? In any case, I guess I'll just take off my nerd hat when I go to see this, but somehow I feel my hopes that this will inspire more people to study and respect Beowulf will go unfulfilled.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home