Saturday, November 17, 2007

Review :: Beowulf

Postmodern man is a like a child who, when confronted with the laws of his parents, breaks down in a weeping, screaming fit of rage, howling at the injustice of not being allowed to do what he pleases. The child is ignorant and impudent and cannot respect either authority of tradition. A story is told for hundreds of years but when postmodern man, this child, hears the story he feels he must change it, make it look more like himself. He tells himself he is "updating" the story, making it more "relevant" to his own situation, but he is lying to himself. He is polluting the story, changing its essential meaning; he is forcing it to please him; he does not want to be offended by what it says.

I am not judging the film as a film at this point. If it were only a film, and if it were not adapted from a canonical text, I would probably have enjoyed it. It is inventive and really quite breathtaking display of graphical prowess. But it calls itself Beowulf and I am judging it as an artifact, as a symptom, of postmodernity, as a display of what is wrong with out current modes of thought. We don't believe in pure heroes anymore; instead of reaching up to them, we pull them down to our level.

That is all I have to say. I loathed Beowulf for no other reason than that it is not Beowulf. Change the name, make a new story, say whatever you would like to say, but do not tell me this is Beowulf. This film is a mockery of that heroic poem. It creates ambiguity where none exists; it takes heroism of the highest order and smears mud all over it; it rejects greatness in favour of a flawed character. This is not Beowulf.

1 comment:

Nevis said...

*rubs chin thoughtfully* Very interesting review, Dan!