This is not the Beowulf you read in high school. Unless, of course, your text had the title warrior meeting Grendel’s evil mother (Angelina Jolie) while she’s dripping wet and naked except for the gold liquid covering her unmentionables. In 3-D.
Using the motion-capture technology he created for 2004’s The Polar Express, Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) has given the classic epic poem a face-lift for modern audiences. ”It’s Beowulf enough that a high school English teacher can take a class to it, and afterward the kids can argue about the couple of things we have changed and whether they were legitimate things to do,” says co-writer Neil Gaiman (Stardust). ”We’re not saying this is your CliffsNotes version. What we’re saying is, this is a great story. It’s the oldest thing we have in the English language, and there’s a reason why it survived.”
Audiences can expect an action-filled epic adventure with enough lust and blood to merit a PG-13 rating. Initially, there were talks of releasing a simultaneous NC-17 version, but the MPAA wouldn’t allow it. Still, the filmmakers did manage to sneak in some over-the-top profanity — in Old English. ”Neil and I took great pains to find bawdy language accurate to the time period,” says Roger Avary, who co-wrote Pulp Fiction. ”You quickly discover there are a number of fantastic words that have been forgotten. The most obvious one is ‘fick.’ ‘Fick this,’ ‘fick that.”’ We fickin’ love it.