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Author Topic: Beowulf
Joldo
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A world of yes. A whole lot of Win, with a little bit of OMG mixed in and just a sprinkle of Neil-Gaiman-can-I-have-your-babies.

It was extraordinarily good. It did not follow the original epic exactly--no, it made it far more interesting.

Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother was . . . strange, ethereal, and the most terribly sensual thing I have ever seen. Grendel as monster made me almost physically ill at points--he was so utterly revolting--but in a good way. Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of Hrothgar as a noble--if broken--warrior was stirring.

And Beowulf himself. Strong, fallible, and incredibly badass. Leonidas has nothing on this guy. He was . . . utterly and totally heartbreaking in his glory as well. A perfect tragic hero.

The 3-D was worth it. There were a few gimmicky things towards the beginning, but these quickly faded away against a powerful, well-written story and phenomenal visual work. I was surprised at the quality of the computer animation. At best, you are only slightly fooled into thinking you are watching real people; but you don't need to be fooled to enjoy it.

It was mighty and it was phenomenal. There were two rows of very rude and talkative people in front of us in the theater, and they spent the first half of the movie cutting up. I think it speaks well of the film that towards the second half, they were utterly rapt, even in the quiet, emotional scenes.

Do whatever you have to to see this movie. And see it again, and again . . .

And again.

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pooka
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The animation was uneven. I went into this movie largely uninformed (for some strange reason I thought it was going to have Karl Urban in it) and so I didn't know the whole thing was animated. There were many times that I thought I was watching real actors.

Unfortunately, they did not use the same level of animation on "extras", some of whom moved like the Merry Men from the first Shrek. And they needed to do some capture work on people riding horses. But there were several parts where I was quite drawn in. I believe there was a section of Beowulf being recited in the original... whatever it was written in. If you are a Jolie fan, this show is a must see (though I don't know if we have many around here.)

I don't know where the sexual contact the Deseret News guy complained about happened. There's some frank talk. Maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough. The naked man scenes were quite impressive, though made a little silly by the need to keep something covering what everyone knows is there, ala Austin Powers or the Simpsons Movie. It would have been humorous if there were anything else really matching it in the film.

They definitely raised cutting off arms to a new, epic level that was relevant to the plot.

There was a real Faustian tragedy to the whole thing. On the whole I'd say I'm glad I saw it. I'm not glad to have paid $8.75 (plus babysitting) for the priviledge, though.

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Shanna
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This is good to read.

I was curious and but it seemed like one of those movies that would be either really good or really bad.

Usually, I let my brother see them and report back. But he loves Beowulf and is boycotting as a purist.

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Eaquae Legit
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Anglo-Saxon or Old English, pooka. [Smile]

I haven't seen it, and I've been scared of it ever since I saw the poster proclaiming "Pride is the downfall!" Which... kind of misses the point of the whole poem. He's not supposed to be a tragic hero. He is badassery personified, no fallibility included. And he knows it.

I don't know. I might see it someday. I'm still smarting from that awful "Beowulf and Grendel" movie. Interesting trivia: there was originally a necrophilia scene in Beowulf and Grendel and although it got cut "Necrophilia Girl" is listed in the credits still. My OE prof was a consultant for the film and told them that the scene was symbolic of what they were doing to the story.

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ReikoDemosthenes
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From the previews, it looks like they set this up to be a clear deviation from the story. That being said, I still don't trust it. I like the fact that he's an epic hero. One of my favourite aspects of the story is the bragging which is so reflective of the culture at that time. Without that aspect, Beowulf loses so much of his sheer awesomeness.
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Joldo
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Oh, there is so much bragging. He tells a story about killing sea monsters, and
BEOWULF: I killed them all.
CRITICAL GUY (UNFIRTH): And I suppose there were twenty of them?
BEOWULF: Nine.
WIGLAF (muttering): Last time it was three . . .

SPOILERS
The twist is in Grendel's mother. Beowulf makes a deal with her, in order that his fame might live forever, instead of killing her. Then he lies about that for the sake of the stories.

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Puffy Treat
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Beowulf bored me to tears in high school, and the trailers for this made it look like a late 90s video game cut-scene.

I'll wait for the DVD to see if it's as good as you say.

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Nighthawk
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quote:
...the trailers for this made it look like a late 90s video game cut-scene.
Why is that a BAD thing?
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Puffy Treat
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It's that creepy dead fishiness around the eyes. *shudder*
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Threads
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They raped the plot and the 3D got old very fast. I didn't like it.
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Kwea
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I liked it a lot, although the ending was very different from the original.


I loved the last scene of the movie, though. [Wink]

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TrapperKeeper
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Didnt like it
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Chris Bridges
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Liked a lot about it.

I'm not a fan of the original, so the plot changes didn't bother me. The three separate battles were tied together, with motivation for each added. It worked for me.

I liked how it was not glamorized in the least. The place was bleak, miserable, and squalid, the people were boisterous and earthy.

The animation ranged from pretty good to jaw-dropping amazing. There were some scenes where you would think you were watching a human, and some facial expressions that were perfect.

Then there were plenty of scenes where the faces were wooden, the movements were awkward, etc. They still have a problem with flowing clothing so people in the ranks, especially from far away, look like Shrek characters. Angelina Jolie looks magnificent in the cave, but very fake floating in the ocean.

And yeah, the constant need to cover Beowulf's package got a bit silly. All it did was draw the eye and distract from the rest of the action. The fight with Grendel was decent, although it did get a bit too Spiderman-y in places.

Loved the preoccupation with having songs and stories written.

But the ending is intense and kept me riveted, and the ending will have you talking on the way out.

One thing that will hurt this movie, I think, at least for repeat showings, is that it's not a happy movie. You don't walk out uplifted or bouncy. I liked it anyway.

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LargeTuna
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how could beowulf kill anything when he couldnt win a swim contest?
it makes absolutely no sense

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FlyingCow
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How does it compare to the 13th Warrior? I love that movie, and to me that's the best "Beowulf" that's been on screen so far.
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Steev
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I would like to reiterate everything pooka said about it but add that even though it wasn't true to the original story, I still think the story as told in the movie stands on it's own.

I was deeply touched by its underlying message of human fallibility and heroism and how it was presented in a romanticized and metaphorical form.

I'm glad I saw it. I paid $7 for a matinee. It was worth it.

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Eaquae Legit
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Someday I want them to just make the epic into a movie. No drastic plot changes, no Hollywoodising, no love stories. A man and a monster and some big fights.

It probably wouldn't sell too well, but I know I'd go see it.

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Joldo
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I've always thought Paradise Lost would make a good movie. Cast <3 Ralph Fiennes <3 as Satan, maybe.

Or maybe do it as a Broadway musical . . .

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Kwea
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He couldn't win a swimming contest because he was racing against the very best, and he was ....otherwise occupied during the said contest.


Besides, that objection doesn't make sense. Because someone can't to ONE thing he can't do another, different task?
[Dont Know]

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String
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The dragon battle alone was worth the 13 bucks to see it in I-MAX 3d. I thought the original message was kept pretty well. I do remember pride and lust being Beowulfs weakness in the epic as well. It has been a while so maybe I remember wrong though.

Also, I don't think Wiglaf succumbed to temptation in the end though, as his strength of character was opposite Beowulfs, and the movie establishes he has no tendency towards lust or pride from the beginning.

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ReikoDemosthenes
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I'm sorry, where on earth are you getting this stuff about pride and lust being Beowulf's weaknesses in the story? Lust never even comes up in it. And while you could argue that the probably Christian author may have included a subtext to be wary of pride in the story, it is questionable. And at any rate, the story most certainly does not write those things into Beowulf's character as being clear flaws whatsoever.

Further, Wiglaf's main role is to prophesy doom now that Beowulf is dead against those cowards who were supposed to be Beowulf's companions. He is not a foil of Beowulf and he is not meant to be. He practices the pride and honour that so defined Beowulf, but by his own admission he is not so great as Beowulf and cannot keep off the warring tribes from destroying them.

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Scott R
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One of the kids in the Sunday School class I teach said that it wasn't that good. He said the action was on par with "Happy Tree Friends" action.

He did note that the CG was good, but did not redeem the silliness of the gore.

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Morbo
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Even kids in Sunday School have become jaded by gore. [Frown]
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calaban
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
How does it compare to the 13th Warrior? I love that movie, and to me that's the best "Beowulf" that's been on screen so far.

Walking out of the movie I made the statement that it just made me want to go watch 13th Warrior.

I wasn't expecting much from the movie and went to see it mainly to hang out with some friends. Although I wasn't blown away, the movie was not as bad as I expected.

I thought Grendel's character was one of the best part of the movie. One of my favorite scenes is the flight of his introduction. I also liked that the demons spoke Danish without subtitles. (I'm guessing it's danish from my limited, atrocious German.) The faces were done quite well and obviously got the lions share of the animators attention.

The dragon was pretty good, but suffered from what seemed to my untrained eye to be a lack of sufficient post production for certain elements. This is most evident in the horses which reminded me of the first cg shorts I saw over a decade ago.

Uniformity is death to cg; The horses seemed to skim inches over the earth with no fluidity or individuality, having riders that seemed as if they were part of the same animation rather than warriors experienced in horseback warfare. When I first saw the column on it's way to the keep it shattered the spell the stormy longboat passage had cast on me.

Caveats aside I think the movie was a step in the right direction for the CG industry. I will probably watch it again sometime, just not at full price.

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Scott R
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quote:
Even kids in Sunday School have become jaded by gore.
Hmm...did my post give that impression? I meant to give the opposite-- that the gore was so unsettling as to be ridiculous. ala, the Happy Tree Friends videos.
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pooka
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The eyes were suprisingly good. As I said, there were times I knew it was CGI but other times that I honestly didn't know and times I was sure I was watching real people - but because I didn't know it was 100% CGI.

I brushed up my Beowulf on wikipedia, and I am fascinated by this arm-chopping bit going way back to the earliest heroic literature. Maybe that is why Lucas uses it. It's his "mortal wound" like how OSC uses the eye shot/gouge or in some cultures it is the stomach wound.

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Morbo
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Ahh, I didn't place Happy Tree Friends till you reminded me.
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The Pixiest
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It wasn't bad. I only looked at my watch once (and couldn't see it)

I didn't much care for the 3d. Since I only see clearly out of one eye at a time, if it had gone on much longer I would have gotten an eyestrain headache.

I don't know anything about the real Beowolf plot so deviations didn't bother me.

My hubby loved it, but it mostly made me want to play DAOC and kill Middies.

I'd watch it again, but I wouldn't pay $26 (for the two of us) to watch it again.

Pix

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porcelain girl
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
It's that creepy dead fishiness around the eyes. *shudder*

That is why I refuse to see any of these mo-cap pictures. Please either animate or use live people. Do not graph pixels over live people. What a waste of electricty.
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Foust
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I watched this with a pair of friends, and there was so much unintentional hilarity in it. Come on. Beowulf gets naked, and swords are used to cover him up. Like it was Austin Powers. And swords? Come on. Using a sword to cover up a package? Haha.

<i>Then</i> Angelina Jolie strokes his sword, and it melts over her fingers. <i>Come on.</i>

"Have you come here to... taste my lord's mead?"

HA! Ok, maybe that one is a bit purile.

It was an incredibly entertaining movie, and I'm pretty sure Gaiman wouldn't mind the fact that the entertainment was almost entirely ironic.

It is in competition with <i>300</i> for most phallic movie of all time, though 300's thrust-penetrate-squirt scene still grabs the title.

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LargeTuna
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Im just saying that every friend i can swim faster than, i can also beat up, the reverse against me also goes, the test is infailable!
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SoaPiNuReYe
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I hated it...

I live in the ghetto and so our theater didn't have the 3D part of the movie so maybe that was why it was so bad, but there were several parts in the movie that were kinda dumb. The line about people coming across the lands to taste the king's meat was kinda ridiculous. I mean, for an animated movie it was good, but the writing for the dialogue was really bland. The final dragon fight scene was amazing though.

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String
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quote:
Originally posted by ReikoDemosthenes:
I'm sorry, where on earth are you getting this stuff about pride and lust being Beowulf's weaknesses in the story? Lust never even comes up in it. And while you could argue that the probably Christian author may have included a subtext to be wary of pride in the story, it is questionable. And at any rate, the story most certainly does not write those things into Beowulf's character as being clear flaws whatsoever.

Further, Wiglaf's main role is to prophesy doom now that Beowulf is dead against those cowards who were supposed to be Beowulf's companions. He is not a foil of Beowulf and he is not meant to be. He practices the pride and honour that so defined Beowulf, but by his own admission he is not so great as Beowulf and cannot keep off the warring tribes from destroying them.

I really didn't see any pro Christian message in that movie, all the likeable characters show nothing but contempt for Christ. I also was referring to the plot of the movie, in which Wiglaf certainly does display virtue where Beowulf does not. It's also evident that he knows Beowulf is way more bad ass than he is. I still know why you think the author was probably a Christian, as they are made to look weak and contemptuous throughout the movie.
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The Flying Dracula Hair
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I just got back, was epic. Didn't know anything going in, very pleasant surprise. Very moist towards end. t\The movie caught me good.

Haven't read any version of the poem but I attended a Writer's Guild screening and Mr. Avery was there for Q&A and eventually was led to explain the differences between it and the movie.
Love what they did.

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String
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If it isn't too much trouble, could you spell them out for me?

signed,

Honestly too lazy.

P.S. thank you either way.

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pooka
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The differences between the movie and the synopsis on Wikipedia:

Beowulf kills Grendel's mother and returns to his own country.

The gold cup is stolen from a dragon there (the cup wasn't in the Grendel portion), and that dragon, who is no relation to the other characters, starts to attack and Beowulf kills it. I can't remember now if he is mortally wounded in the process.

Re: Christianity:
The priest was reminiscent of Father Lucas in Enchantment in terms of being grumpy, cruel, and beating his lame servant often. However, the Queen is clearly a pious Christian. While almost no time is devoted to that, it is there. Though, I kind of didn't buy her being such good friends with Beowulf's bedwarmer. That was weird. Not weird weird, just plain weird. But I guess they bonded during the dragon fight or something.

On the dead eyes thing, I thought the one character was badly done until I realize it was John Malkovich, who can have really dead eyes. I think its part of what makes him a really interesting actor.

This movie is a step forward, but I don't know if it will be what the makers obviously hoped. It seemed like they looked at Spider Man 2 and thought "wow, we should use these techniques in telling a truly great story."

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ReikoDemosthenes
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String:
quote:
I thought the original message was kept pretty well. I do remember pride and lust being Beowulfs weakness in the epic as well.
I was mostly responding to this. I have not seen the movie myself, nor do I have any plans to do so in the near future. That said, I must have mistaken your comments about Wiglaf, as I understood them to be in the context of the original. And with that, by probably Christian author I meant the two guys who actually wrote the story down way back in the day.
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pooka
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Well, the question in the end is whether Wiglaf will also be corrupted. While this should have worked, artistically, I don't know if it really did.

Specific Spoilers to follow:

What I thought was tragic is that when Grendel's mother offered Beowulf the kingdom, that Beowulf thought it would gain him the Queen. Of course that opportunistic choice, which Beowulf's character was prone to, prevented the very thing he hoped to gain. Of course he did marry the Queen, but she somehow knew he had fallen under the same curse as the prior king. (I suppose a bit more on that would have been useful).

He also didn't seem too upset about not having an heir - unless I'm remember his confrontation on the beach incorrectly. He's just kind of resigned to it- and it should have been more meaningful when he lay on the beach and saw the gold youth dying next to him. I guess there was just some missing material in terms of the story that would have been good, namely, how the Queen came to realize he was cursed and became alienated from him (which would have gone with the lack of an heir).

Anyway, I think the viewer should have cared more about whether Widlaf "turns." It is strongly suggested he does, but there is no reason for him to. He does not suffer hubris or lust and he already possesses the kingdom, so why would he? If he does turn, then it is only the witch's magic, and Beowulf's fall becomes meaningless.

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Chris Bridges
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This week's column was on Beowulf.
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pooka
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quote:
But the landscapes, the wind and water, the inanimate objects, and the monsters are wonderfully done. Also, the animators have apparently been paying particular attention to breasts.
Sacrifices must be made for the sake of art, I suppose. [Big Grin]
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Kwea
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I thought the ending was done very well, and left it open to debate artfully. [Smile]
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pooka
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It was at times artful. So artful that it seemed a shame to be attached to the rest of it.

Spoilers?

When the king and Beowulf are talking behind the throne and you don't know if they mean the gold cup or the queen, and it turns out later that it meant the witch, that was cool. The last sea monster being a mermaid, and of course the yelling on the beach scene.

But then, I didn't really like Forrest Gump much, I didn't think it was art, and there was too little for me in Cast Away as well. I guess I'm just not enough part of Zemeckis' cultural subtext.

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Kwea
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Yeah....I would agree that it was uneven, and the horses were without a doubt the most glaring example of that, but I still enjoyed it a lot. [Smile]
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String
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quote:
Originally posted by ReikoDemosthenes:
String:
quote:
I thought the original message was kept pretty well. I do remember pride and lust being Beowulfs weakness in the epic as well.
I was mostly responding to this. I have not seen the movie myself, nor do I have any plans to do so in the near future. That said, I must have mistaken your comments about Wiglaf, as I understood them to be in the context of the original. And with that, by probably Christian author I meant the two guys who actually wrote the story down way back in the day.
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