Anyone who has seen Winstone in Sexy Beast or The Proposition will realize that Beowulf’s physique is not Winstone’s own. And, in one jarring sequence, the filmmakers repeatedly disguise Beowulf’s naked groin area through strategically placed objects in the foreground. Audiences should be forgiven if their laughter makes them take Beowulf even less seriously as a result.

Sadly, this distorted account of the Beowulf story is likely to become the best-known version of the myth. It’s a sign of the times. We’ve forgotten what made the story powerful for so many ages, and are susceptible to the sexed-up revisionism of this new Beowulf in which heroism is hindered by fleshly desire. It’s an epic for our times, with skin and swordplay overwhelming the themes of honor and service that give the widely read story its timeless quality.

Maybe, in time, we’ll forget all about this latest incarnation of Beowulf.

Questions? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@earthlink.net.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity:  “Damn you.”
  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Consumption of mead; a man is accused of a being “a drunk.”
  • Sex/Nudity:  King Hrothgar is partially covered; men’s rear ends are shown; a couple frolics under a blanket; a woman bends over to reveal ample cleavage; a sea creature has human-like breasts; sexual banter; Beowulf drops his armor in front of the queen, revealing his naked body to her, and is shown many times in the buff, with objects in the foreground always concealing his groin area; marital unfaithfulness and illegitimate offspring are a theme in the story; a naked man and woman are shown sleeping next to each other; some kissing.
  • Violence:  Grendel cuts himself and kills multiple people by throwing them against walls, at each other, etc.; Grendel bites off a man’s head and, in silhouette, breaks a man in half and tosses his exposed upper body to the ground; a man is impaled on a chandelier; sea monsters are repeatedly stabbed; an arrow pierces a man; a man leaps to his death; hand-to-hand combat; a weapon lodges in a man’s back; a man tries to pierce a dragon’s heart.
  • Religion:  The men honor Odin and often say “Odin willing” and “Odin be praised,” but they also briefly speak of the new “Roman God,” Christ Jesus; talk of demons and curses.