Monday, December 3, 2007

Bishop Kirk Smith Reviews Beowolf (the Movie)

Bishop Smith reviews Beowolf and gives it a thumbs down:

Last week I had the opportunity to see the hit movie Beowolf. As a sometime medievalist and Anglo-Saxon period history buff, I looked forward to this special effects treatment of the earliest English writing. As pure entertainment, I would give it an A, but as history or literature, an F would be generous. The story as told by Hollywood has only the slightest resemblance to the great 8th Century poem. What was intended as a epic portrayal of the struggle of good and evil has been turned into a predictable sentimental love triangle. Gone is the poetry,the mystery; what remains is bland dialogue and Angelina Jolie as a naked water demon in stilleto heels.

What was especially disappointing was how Hollywood has turn a Christian story into an anti-Christian polemic about how the age of heroes has been replaced by simpering Christian whimps. It is hard to believe that the writers ever even read the original story!

But my biggest sadness is that now millions of young people will think they have seen and understood the story of Beowolf without ever experiencing the brillance of the original epic. Do yourself a favor, rummage through your old college textbook collection and enjoy it all over again.


I love that I have a Bishop who blogs. Check out his blog here.

1 comment:

WSJM said...

I pretty much agree with Bishop Smith. Sort of entertaining, not bad special effects, but it ain't Beowulf.

However, I don't recommend digging out one's old college textbook. I recommend Seamus Heaney's recent verse translation, published with the original text on the facing page. Great fun to recite Anglo-Saxon in loud and sonorous tones, even when you no longer remember what the hell it means.

(Professor William Alfred's recitation of Anglo-Saxon poetry was one of the sheer delights of my college days....)