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Beowulf Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… 98 percent awesome … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Beowulf deserves to be taken semiseriously; its eye candy is mixed with narrative fiber and dramatic protein. But it begs to be taken frivolously. Effects have grown so exciting in the realm of the third dimension that you just sit there all agog behind your polarizing glasses.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Director Robert 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 film actually makes sense of Beowulf. In Zemeckis' hands, it's an intriguing look at a hero as a flawed human being.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Beowulf couldn't be less faithful to the original epic poem, and that's actually a good thing for moviegoers. It's a lot more fun than the mythic adventure most of us read in school.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    We are not looking at flesh-and-blood actors but special effects that look uncannily convincing, even though I am reasonably certain that Angelina Jolie does not have spike-heeled feet. That's right: feet, not shoes.

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  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Beowulf is a solemnly gorgeous, at times borderline stolid piece of Tolkien-with-a-joystick mythology.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Violent animated adventure is no kiddie movie.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this adventure is animated, it's not aimed at kids. Some people may misinterpret the fact that it was created by the same filmmakers responsible for The Polar Express as an automatic thumbs-up for kids. But the considerable violence and sexual innuendo are comparable to the content of popular live-action flick 300. As those familiar with the ancient epic poem the movie is based on know, Beowulf defeats the monstrous Grendel ... but not before Grendel kills a lot of innocent people in disgusting, harrowing ways. The violence includes dismemberment, impalement, bashed heads, people being eaten alive, and more. Animated or not, it can be hard to watch (even more so in 3D, an option that some theaters are offering).

  • Families can talk about whether it's confusing for filmmakers to make and market an animated movie that's so violent and clearly not targeted to kids? Also, does the fact that the animation is so realistic make the violence more upsetting? Why or why not? Why do people tend to react differently to live-action mayhem than they do to similar content that's animated?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The message seems to be that men are all-too-easily seduced by beauty and the promise of power.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Grendel -- a disturbing, oozing, pus-filled sight in and of himself -- kills mostly at random. He impales victims, snaps necks, rips off heads and eats them, tears people in two, throws men into fires, squishes heads, etc. Most of the violence is fast, but there's still a great deal of it. Beowulf dismembers Grendel's arm after a long hand-to-hand battle. Grendel's mother kills almost an entire group of warriors, who are shown as shadowy, bloody figures hanging from ceiling beams. Beowulf battles an angry, murderous dragon. Beowulf's army slaughters its enemies on the battlefield.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Lots of sexual innuendo and partial nudity (it's animated, but the animation is very realistic). Beowulf strips completely naked in preparation to fight Grendel. Various people and items conveniently obscure his genitals, but his bare buttocks are shown several times during the fight. The drunk king wears a robe that half falls off; a buxom woman's cleavage is shown heaving and jiggling. Later she's propositioned by one of Beowulf's warriors, who says things like "my loins are burning" and that he won't be quiet when he comes. A bare-shouldered woman and soldier share a sleeping bag. The king demands his queen produce an heir; Beowulf has a younger mistress in addition to his wife. Grendel's mom can take the form of a gorgeous woman (Angelina Jolie) who emerges dripping wet and naked from the water.

  • language false0

    Language: Milder than the rest of the film: "damn," "hell," etc.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The Danes and their visiting mercenaries drink a lot of mead in the mead hall. Some men are so drunk that they pass out on the table.