Grendel (Nick Lyon, 2007)
I reviewed the recent, horrendous Graham Baker adaptation of Beowulf a few weeks back. It played back-to-back with Nick Lyon’s newer adaptation of the story, Grendel, which is an even looser adaptation, and while it’s not as entirely awful as Baker’s desecration, it’s still going to make any fan of the original poem shake their heads in frustration that some moron could do something so awful to it.
Where Baker’s Beowulf was an attempt to “showcase” the acting “talents” of Christopher Lambert, Grendel, as the name might suggest, focuses more on the monster, and the CGI that brings it to life. Same story; Hrothgar (The Unholy‘s Ben Cross) hires Beowulf (The World’s Fastest Indian‘s Chris Bruno) to get rid of Grendel, the monster who’s been eating his populace. This involves a great deal of swordfighting and the like, as well as—get this—a laser-powered crossbow. Oh, yeah, that’s the sort of thing that was right at home in pre-medieval Europe. (I think they were passing it off as some sort of magic. Problem is, everyone who’s going to watch this movie has seen these same special effects about ten thousand times since the first Star Wars flick, and those are lasers, baby.)
Now, as I intimated above, when I was watching this, I was comparing it to Baker’s Beowulf, which I’d just seen. Compare it to any other movie, and probably any other rendition of Beowulf (which has seen a big resurgence in popularity recently where filming is concerned, not sure why), and it’s thoroughly horrendous. Bad acting, bad script, okay special effects but nothing, pardon the pun, special. But when you compare it to Baker’s treatment of the same material, especially when you consider that other than Ben Cross, pretty much everyone in this flick is a no-name or a character actor, while Baker had some real starpower in his flick, and this is something special. I’m not sure what, and it still smells kind of foul, but oh, yeah, of the two films, this one is better in every way. I just wish it had been good enough to stand with other Beowulf adaptations. * ½
No trailer. Just Marina Sirtis.