Beowulf (2000) from Johnny Web

There must be an interesting story behind this movie, but I don't know what it is.

According to IMDb, they spent $20 million to make this movie, then they didn't release it in the USA. I don't know whether that budget is an exaggeration, but there are some scenes with a very rich look to them, and plenty of digital f/x, however much that costs. Strangely, though, something else doesn't add up here. They re-used several shots at various times in the movie. Two lovely shots of a lantern-illuminated corridor are repeated, and two scenes between Grendel's mother and father are almost identical. Does that sound right in a film with a $20 million budget? And how can you spend that much on a movie and then not release it? A mystery.

Granted, it's an odd movie. They have taken the old Beowulf poem and located it in an alternate reality which includes loudspeakers, bizarre weaponry, and .. well, you know, it's some kind of non-existent Sword and Sorcery alternate reality, but the essence of the story is Beowulf.

Graham Baker directed, and I think this his first feature in many years. (He directed Alien Nation and Omen III: the Final Conflict.)

Beowulf is played by Christopher Lambert. Now see if this twist sounds familiar. Beowulf is born of the same evil as Grendel and Grendel's mother. But he takes after his human mother, not his evil god dad, as opposed to Grendel who is also half human, but takes after mom's side of the family. It seems that the only way that Beowulf can keep from being dominated by his evil side is to fight against evil. So he has to go around and kill all his evil half-brothers and sisters. And only they can kill each other.

And, in the end ....

there can be only one.

It's Beowulf meets Highlander. With Christopher Lambert, it all seems to boil down to Highlander, doesn't it?

By the way, I've now watched him in many movies and have still never seen him blink. I think we can conclude one of two things:

  1. His face is not capable of that much motion, or
  2. He had his eyelids surgically removed.

Oh, man, imagine if the Immortal Prophet made a mistake when he wrote that Bible of the Immortals. "Oh, guys, remember when I said there can be only one? Turns out I missed the boat on that one. There can be two, ten, maybe millions. Turns out you guys can raise families and form cities and have block parties. Sorry about all those chopped heads."

Oh, back to the point. I know the movie is bad, but they spent a lot of money on it. Why not release it in a few theaters and get a few critics to screen it?

After all, they released "The 13th Warrior".

Nudity (fish-net top) from Layla Roberts. This scene was ... um ... highly derivative of the scene in Excalibur in which Morgan seduces Arthur to produce her own monster.

Heavy-duty cleavage from Rhona Mitra. By the way, now that Rhona is on the scene, Emma Thompson should look forward to a much-needed rest from all the future acting jobs she will undoubtedly lose. I think "Beowulf" must represent the only time in film history that Lambert has ever met someone with less facial movement. By the way, did you know that Lambert, despite his odd pronunciation, was born on Long Island? I haven't been there in a long time, but as I recall they do speak some form of English there, don't they? Maybe he just talks that way because he can't move his facial muscles enough to pronounce "th".

IMDB summary: 3.5 out of 10. That's way down there with Plan 9. Astounding, when you think about it - to spend 20 million dollars to make a film as good as Plan 9.

DVD info from Amazon.

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