Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Beowulf Movie Getting Positive Reviews

... well, sort of. Rotten Tomatoes finally has a round-up of reviews of the new Beowulf movie, and it comes out "Fresh" with a rating of 67% at the moment. Unfortunately, there are only six reviews in, and anyone with a basic understanding of statistics will know how much a small sample size can skew the data. Still, it beats the Christopher Lambert Beowulf, which boasted a perfect 0% positive reviews.



    Though the Rotten Tomatoes rating has gone up slightly because of an additional positive review (71% now), I've noticed a problematic trend -- most of the positive reviews discuss how much they hate the poem. So, mixed signs at the moment.

  2. Anonymous4:09 PM

    I'm afraid that's going to be a rather common trend, especially among the internet critics. Hopefully many of the more established print critics (there aren't many on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment) will be less hostile toward the poem.

    However, the critic from Compuserve gets the award for most amusing, if nothing else. I'm not entirely sure whether he really hates the poem or is just messing around with his readers. (Also, is Grendel a dragon now? In the Compuserve review, it seems he is...)

  3. Yes! I tried to write a post today about the tremendously stupid review by the Compuserv guy, but I kept getting interrupted.

    In case I don't get to it, everyone MUST go read the review. I don't think he's just messing around ... I think he's really that ignorant, really thinks Grendel's a dragon, really thinks Zemeckis stuck the poem in Denmark, really thinks monks wrote on paparus, etc.

  4. I don't think I could stand reading it. I just read the Times review, and...ugh. It's mostly about the special effects, so I suppose the reviewer wrote about what he?she? knows best: what had just been seen, there, on the screen.

    But it begins: You don’t need to wait for Angelina Jolie to rise from the vaporous depths naked and dripping liquid gold to know that this “Beowulf” isn’t your high school teacher’s Old English epic poem.

    Have I missed out on something? Does Beowulf get taught in High School as a matter of course?

  5. Karl asked: "Does Beowulf get taught in High School as a matter of course?"

    I read it in high school, most of my students in Michigan read it in high school, and most of my students in Alabama read it in high school.

    Perhaps I should clarify ... most of them WERE ASSIGNED it in high school. I saw little evidence that they actually read it.

  6. I suspect the critics are leaning on the press kit: thus several of them describe the poem as dating to c. 700 A.D. Perhaps this also explains the repeated references to the poem as a dreary school text?

    In the high school I attended in Ohio, I didn't encounter Beowulf or anything in Old English (or even in Middle English).

  7. Anonymous3:13 PM

    Just thought I'd mention that the review from Manhola Dargis at the New York Times is in and is much, much better. She has actual respect for the poem and even complains that, without the poem's "rich language," the movie is just a bunch of snazzy special effects: