[Milton-L] 17th Century contexts

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Thu Nov 29 13:12:07 EST 2007


I don't think the new Beowulf film isn't all that bad.  It's not all
that good, but it's not all that bad.  The plot isn't incoherent and,
I think, tries to appropriate the original Beowulf story for its own
commentary.  The monster was Hrothgar's son, which he conceived with
the monster's demon mother in exchange for the stability of his own
crown.  So the plight upon the town was therefore the product of
Hrothgar's ambition: the monstrous proceeds from ambition and the
moral compromises involved in fulfilling it.  Mary Shelley meets
Beowulf.

The next step in the plot was Beowulf's defeat of the monster by
tearing off the monster's arm.  He then proceeds to track down the
demon mother, who is not performed by but actually is Angelina Jolie
in her "Gia" body (ah, the beauty of CGI) covered with a scanty layer
of gold paint.  Needless to say, Jolie makes the same deal with
Beowulf, who makes the same compromise and therefore becomes King.
The old king, relieved that he is free from the monster, and aware of
the compromise Beowulf made after speaking with him, relinquishes the
crown and kills himself.

The new child born of Beowulf and the monster's mother -- a dragon --
when all grown up attacks the town, and Beowulf fights it again.  This
is probably 20-30 years after Beowulf took the crown: he is old and
disillusioned.  In order to defeat the dragon he has to cut off his
own arm, symbolic of the fact that he has finally recognized and
acknowledged his own monstrosity and has taken responsibility for it.
Angelina Jolie's ultimate ambition was to rule the nation herself
through her son, of course.  Add an subplot of an adultery theme with
a final reconciliation with the wife and we have Beowulf meets King
Arthur.

The new King, needless to say, meets Angelina Jolie at the end of the
film, and while the film doesn't show us what happens, it's not hard
to guess.  What Dane can turn down Angelina Jolie?  Hence the film's
commentary on power, ambition, and ideals, ideals which are
compromised by ambition but which ultimately defeat ambition's worst
consequences.

Visually, it looked like the computer generated sequences between
stages in video games, which annoyed me.  The 3-D was amusing.  The
3-D previews were better.

Jim R

On Nov 29, 2007 12:17 PM, Peter C. Herman <herman2 at mail.sdsu.edu> wrote:
> Don't waste time or money. Personally, I have no objections to
> altering the plot. My guess is that the story changed quite a bit as
> a passed from scop to scop until it ended up with our anonymous
> scribe, who likely altered the story yet again. It's that the movie
> doesn't make any sense on its own terms.
>
> pch


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