Monday, June 20, 2005

On Hollywulf

Dr. Gill over at Logoi Kai Erga has a post about the new Beowulf film set for release in 2007. All I have to say in response is that the bar has been set pretty low by the 1999 Christopher Lambert Beowulf.

So. As for Heaneywulf, it is an interesting translation, and might be considered accurate if Beowulf had tripped over his shillelagh as he was watching a leprechaun swing at a fairy because he was drunk and fighting having had too much Guinness on his way to find his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In other words, the Scandinavian Geats and Danes come off as Irish. Perhaps I should do an American translation, in which Beowulf dons his bluejeans and rides his Harley to Heorot Stadium where he plugs Grendel with his Winchester rifle.

In other words, read Heaneywulf to read Irish poetry, and read Liuzza's Beowulf to read Anglo-Saxon poetry.

In a side note, I notice today that Amazon has a combo deal on buying Liuzza's Beowulf and Sandars' Gilgamesh together -- very cool. Perhaps Heaney should do a translation of Gilgamesh? "So. I will proclaim to the world the deeds of Gilgamesh. This lad was brilliant! He knew all the countries of the world -- and not just the bloody English. He was wise, he saw mysteries, he new his way around a pub, and he used to tell wild tales of the old days. When the Virgin Mary herself created him, she gave him a perfect body: bright red hair and big knotted muscles. And fight? Aye, that he could lad -- against him everyone else was bollocks!"

(apologies to Pat Friend for stealing his outrageous Irish stereotypes)


  1. Sorry to comment on this so late, but are you aware of the Beowulf and Grendel movie that recently completed filming in Iceland?

    Purists are likely to balk, but I think it looks promising, and if the filmmakers at least capture something of the mood of their source material, then it could be a good flick--but I guess we'll see...

  2. I'm actually less of a purist when it comes to film adaptations. Obviously, film is a visual medium, so the "translation" of a book to film is always going to have to be more transformative than from one language to another.

    As for this particular film, I'm going to withhold judgment until I see it. The website has a lot of landscape shots, implying that it will have some nice-looking scenes, but then again so do all those IMAX movies.

    I notice on the cast section of the website, there is a role called "Necrophile." I really hope that isn't what it normally means.