Director: Robert Zemeckis. Screenplay: Neil Gaiman, Roger Avary, based on the Epic poem 'Beowulf' . Stars: Robin Wright-Penn, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone . Released: November 16, 2007.
The Danish king, Hrothgar, offers rewards for the death of the destructive monster Grendel, so Beowulf, a boastful warrior, sets aside his armor and awaits the monster; a fierce battle ensues that leads to Beowolf's entering the watery domain of Grendel's mother, where a devil's bargain awaits.
Motion-capture animation was considered a qualified success after The Polar Express, Tom Hanks's sheer presence almost overcoming the Uncanny Valley distraction of watching his soulless onscreen dopplegangers as overslick yet underrealized digital marionettes. Director Robert Zemeckis returned to the well for the brutal Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, capturing the movements and voices of such stars as Ray Winstone, Robin Wright Penn, Anthony Hopkins, and Crispin Glover before molding them digitally into creatures of early medieval myth -- or, in Winstone's case, an unusually rugged L.A. gym bunny. A repeat of the similarly stylized swords-and-gorefest 300 was clearly desired, but these electronic waxworks can't do anything but go through the motions.