Beowulf 2007: Movie Review

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Robert Zemeckis


Beowulf is a heroic poem of 3182 lines found in a manuscript of the 10th century. It narrates two significant events in the life of a Geatish hero called Beowulf. The first happens when young Beowulf fights and kills Grendel, monster who has been raiding Heorot, the banquet hall of the Danish king Hrothgar. When Grendel’s mother kills one of Hrothgar’s nobleman to avenge her son’s death, Beowulf journey’s to her sub-aquatic den and kills her with a magic sword. Beowulf is showered with honour and rewards before he returns to his homeland.

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The second incident takes place when Beowulf has reigned for many years showing an instance of ideal kingship. He is old and yet he has to fight a fire spitting dragon that jeopardises his kingdom. Beowulf dies but only after slaying the monster and securing it’s large hoard of treasure for his people.


Beowulf is a 2007 American fantasy adventure movie directed by Robert Zemeckis. The movie was made using the motion capture process similar to that which had been used in Zemeckis previous movie ‘The Polar Express’ while using live action. The screenplay by Neil Gaimen and Roger Avery is based on the anonymous Anglo Saxon epic poem of the same name.

Zemeckis not only deploys 21st century movie technology at its finest to turn the heroic poem into a vibrant nerve tingling piece of pop culture, but his movie actually makes sense of Beowulf.

The movie was released theatrically in the United Kingdom and the United States on November 16,20007 by paramount pictures and Warner Bros, pictures to mixed reviews from critics, who complemented the visual effects, motion capture and voice acting while criticising aspects of the interpretation of the poem. It was a commercial disappointment, and earned 196.4 million dollar on a 150 million dollar budget.

In Denmark 507 AD, the kingdom of king Hrothger in threatened by the tormented demon Grendel that attacks the locals in their celebrations. The Danish king Hrothger offers a reward for the death of the demon, attracting to Heorot the brave, great warrior Beowulf that seeks the glory. After a terrific battle, Beowulf defeats the demon, and after receiving an old relic as reward, he finds his men slaughtered in the party saloon of the castle. King Hrothger advises that Grendel’s mother was responsible for the bloodshed and Beowulf defeats her into the lake where she lives.


Sony Picture Imageworks created the animation for the movie with visual effects. Supervisor Jerome Chen Overseeing creative and technical development for the movie. In this movie Zemeckis used motion capture because it feels like live action, there were a lot of shots where Bob cut loose. Amazing shots. Live action was impossible for the actors. The method of the filmmaking gives a freedom and complete control to him. Zemeckis doesn’t have to worry about lighting. The actors don’t have to hit marks. They don’t have to know where the camera is. It’s a very good performance. There are two teams of animators worked on the movie. One group working on body movement and another group working on replicating the facial performances.

Visual effects:

The director of the movie Robert Zemeckis drew inspiration for the visual effects of Beowulf from the experience from his previous movie The Polar Express. The movie used motion capture technology. The reason behind the use of motion capture technology was to create three dimensional images of characters.

Robert Zemeckis appointing Jerome Chem, whom Zemeckis worked with on The Polar Express, the two decided to chart realism as their foremost goal. There are almost 450 graphic designers were chosen for the project, the largest team ever worked for an imageworks- produced movie as of 2007.


The music for Beowulf 2007 was composed and conducted by Allan Silvestri. A soundtrack was released on 20th November 2007. Silvestri was responsible for the production of the music album, although actresses Robin Weigh Penn and Idina Menzel performed several songs in the soundtrack’s score.


  • Ray Winstone as Beowulf, the title character.
  • Crispin Glover as Grendel.
  • Angelina Jolie as Grendel’s mother.
  • Anthony Hopkins as King Hrothger.
  • John Malkovich as Unferth.
  • Brendan Gleason as Wiglaf, Beowulf’s lieutenant.
  • Robin Wright Penn as Queen Wealtheow.
  • Alison Lohman as Ursula, Beowulf’s concubine when he is an old king.
  • Costas Mandylor as Hondshew.
  • Sebastian Roche as Wulfgar.
  • Greg Ellis as Garmund.
  • Tyler Steelman as Young Cain, Unferth’s disabled slave.
  • Dominic Keating as adult Cain.
  • Rik Young as Eofor.
  • Charlotte Salt as Estrith.
  • Leslie Harter Zemeckis as Yrsa.
  • Fredrik Hiller as Finn of Frisia.

This movie is filled with amazing actors who truly makes the film. Ray Winstone and Angelina Jolie gives a legendary performance in this film. Brendon Gleeson is playing a supporting role. The casting for this movie is truly perfect and the actors do not disappoint. The visual effects and the music are also well. Overall this is a great movie. If you are looking for a action movie this is undoubtly the movie for you.


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