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The original poem, 'Beowulf' may have been about a heroic man who killed fearsome monsters and saved a lot of people. But this adaptation is all about killing every trace of grandeur, heroism and wonderment in a very old story so that a bunch of over-paid hacks can strut their digital prowess and indulge in some smug post-modern revisionism.
Coming to the story itself, Neil Gaiman, one of the people responsible for the script, has put interesting twists on canonic material before, as with his take on Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'The Tempest' in the Sandman comics. Those re-readings worked because they were done with a modicum of respect and affection for the original source material. It was a way to revitalize old stories with fresh perspectives. Success and Hollywood salaries seem to have gone to his head, though. He, and his collaborator Roger Avary, did need to streamline the admittedly episodic narrative of the original to make for a tighter story, more suitable for the three-act sensibilities of the modern movie-goer. However, they've taken the opportunity to diss everything in the original story - it's as if they just scanned through the Cliff Notes and thought 'oh cool, a big scary monster! A dragon! Yay!' and hated everything else about the story.
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