Beowulf the Movie is here

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And as usual, John J. Miller is all over it. Read his first impressions here, and then head over to the Movie Review Query Engine for a selection of other opinions. The reviews are largely encouraging — Rotten Tomatoes shows the positive consensus at 73% — and yet even some of the ones who liked the film share John’s main gripe about disrespect. Roger Ebert, for example:

In the name of the mighty Odin, what this movie needs is an audience that knows how to laugh. Laugh, I tell you, laugh! Has the spirit of irony been lost in the land? By all the gods, if it were not for this blasted infirmity that the Fates have dealt me, you would have heard from me such thunderous roars as to shake the very Navy Pier itself down to its pillars in the clay.

To be sure, when I saw “Beowulf” in 3-D at the giant-screen IMAX theater, there were eruptions of snickers here and there, but for the most part, the audience sat and watched the movie, not cheering, booing, hooting, recoiling, erupting or doing anything else unmannerly. You expect complete silence and rapt attention when a nude Angelina Jolie emerges from the waters of an underground lagoon. But am I the only one who suspects that the intention of director Robert Zemeckis and writers Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary was satirical?

He then goes on to compare the bulk of the film to Monty Python and Austin Powers. Ouch — shades of Karl Edward Wagner’s referring to Universal’s Conan the Barbarian as “Li’l Abner versus the Moonies.” Still, the film is shaping up to be a hit, which when filtered through crude logic may translate into more big budget fantasy fare in multiplexes.

TC‘s previous Beowulf coverage:

An Irish Bard at King Hrothgar’s Court

More Beowulf