Beowulf

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Beowulf Movie Poster Image
Violent animated adventure is no kiddie movie.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 24 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 35 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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
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.

What 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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 year old Written bywolfman117 November 22, 2008

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... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 and 13 year old Written byCollegeGirl_Kid... June 28, 2010

PG-13? A joke. And nothing like the Book.

The animation was breath taking--beautiful. I admired it, but having read the book in high school and my first year in college, I have to say "oh my goodn... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old September 15, 2009

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.
Kid, 11 years old May 1, 2009

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... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the epic poem, Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture action adventure follows the heroic exploits of Beowulf (Ray WinstoneAnthony 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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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