Beowulf

  • Review Date: February 25, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Violent animated adventure is no kiddie movie.
  • Review Date: February 25, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

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

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

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

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & 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.

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).

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Based on the epic poem, Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture action adventure follows the heroic exploits of Beowulf (Ray Winstone), the head of a small mercenary army that lands in Denmark to help King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) get rid of a murderous demon cursing his people. After disposing of the grotesque, pus-oozing Grendel (Crispin Glover) in a (literally) naked battle of hand-to-hand combat, Beowulf learns that the monster has an even more dangerous, shape-shifting mother (Angelina Jolie). Beowulf's hubris as a warrior is evident from his first appearance on screen. But every hero has an Achilles' heel, and Beowulf's is apparently a beautiful woman -- the perfectly cast Jolie -- who promises him wealth and power beyond imagination. Beowulf isn't the first warrior to give into her, and he probably won't be the last, either, since she's seemingly invincible when nude and dripping wet (her feet even take the form of stilettos).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Once you get past BEOWULF's slightly creepy, ultra-realistic depiction of actors as animated figures, there's no denying that this film is entertaining. Improving on the revolutionary technology he used in The Polar Express, Zemeckis's film is an awe-inspiring achievement in animation. It's also in no way a film for kids, even if that's the first thought that many moviegoers might have when they see animated characters. The action is as bloody as anything Quentin Tarantino could conjure up.

Yet, for all of the movie's sweeping action and impressive technology, there's still something substantially more heart-quickening about flesh-and-blood action. Sure, then audiences wouldn't get to see Grendel squish as many heads and eat as many people (at least not in a PG-13 fashion), but there would've been an extra sense of excitement and not as many unintended laughs.

Families can talk about...

  • 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 15, 2007
DVD release date:February 25, 2008
Cast:Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone
Director:Robert Zemeckis
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:113 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sexual material and nudity.

This review of Beowulf was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old May 1, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

GORE!

brilliant movie but way too gory. beowulf rips out a dragons heart and isreally graphical. quite funny though in the cinima. when grendel wakes up and screams i jumped out of my seat! good for 13+ but in england it should be a 15 and a R in usa.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 11 year old Written bywolfman117 November 22, 2008
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Perfect!

The best Robert Zemekis movie yet! Even though it's filled with moderate violence and sexual material, it seems alot better than the epic poem! If you want a perfect action movie, then Beowulf is the movie for you! My kids loved this movie, and they said if they were registered for this site, they would gie it 5/5 too!
Kid, 10 years old September 15, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Always great, always violent.

Great fantasy flick about brave warrior fighting evil demons, monsters and creatures. This is a great movie but anyone 10 and under can't see this movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex

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