Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

The Woeful Tale of Beowulf 

Great story–

Everything going pretty well for a king and his village and then out of nowhere this monster reeks destruction (a smelly monster because it lives in a swamp) killing all the strongest and best warriors.  For fourteen years!

The hero arrives. 

Not just any hero. Not only is he an amazing hero–he is epic.

Briefly put, he not only fights the monster but does so naked of weapon (a bit of literary humor). AND he takes on and defeats the monster’s mama who is twice as monsterish.

The king and village are saved. Our hero is more epic than ever. He returns to his homeland and eventually becomes king. He rules for fifty years over a peaceful kingdom. Goes out fighting a dragon. His people love him so much they create a barrow (think–round grassy pyramid).

Our hero’s tale becomes one of the most popular hero tales out there. He’s right up there with ancient epic heroes like Odysseus and Achilles.

Yup–we’re talking Beowulf.

You’d think someone could make a decent film adaptation.

This is the woe of Beowulf. His story has yet to be told.

Adaptation: 2005

Image: pintrest

This has promise. Gerard Butler. Nordic ponies. A troll. Epic setting. Frightening kelta. Everyone looks sufficiently cold and miserable. Then it gets R-rated. Not classroom watchable.

Adaptation: 2007

image: Wikipedia 

English teachers were so excited about this version that a field trip was arranged to the Imax. Bus loads of seniors traveled an hour riding in their preferred mode of cheeswagon to watch a cartoon that so strangely twisted the tale of Beowulf that it is not worth discussing. Most people went to see Angie dressed up as a golden dragon who wears high heels. Truth.

Adaptation : 2015

This is Beowulf in an alternate universe. That’s the only explanation I have. Not much is even close to the original story except they have named the main guy Beowulf and there are some monsters running around. A short-lived TV series. There’s a reason for that.

Beowulf is a really amazing story and no one can get it right. Maybe Marvel can get a greenlight and make it a go.

Oh–I do have one version worth showing. Kind of. It’s also animated but no famous actors were present unless you count the narrrator, Derek Jacobi, and other assorted worthwhile Brit actors lending their voice talents such as Joseph Fiennes.

Adaptation: 1998

This faithfully follows the story. The only strange part is the monster, Grendel, is rendered as a furry green Jello creature instead of a troll. There is also a trippy interlude of Beowulf fighting the dragon.

Film folk–open challenge: 

Bring Beowulf to the screen so there is no more woe when watching Beowulf.

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