Medieval Muck

**Warning: This started out as a simple grousing about some stupid medieval movies coming soon, but it turned into a really long rant. **

You all know I am an obsessive medieval history freak. As such, I tend to get suckered into every medieval movie that comes down the pike. I see far more of them than I should, always looking for that one…maybe just that one…that will get things RIGHT. Saying that I’m usually disappointed is beyond understatement. Someday I should compile a list for you of medieval movies that DON’T suck and DON’T offend me on some level; I promise you it’d be quite short.

Anyway, in the past there’d usually be one horrid medieval flick out per year. Maybe one every two years. But ever since the success of LOTR (No, it wasn’t a medieval flick, it was a fantasy flick. You and I can tell the difference but Hollywood can’t.) and Gladiator, there have been more crappy medieval or medieval-flavored movies coming out than I can keep up with! Which is probably A Good Thing.

Here’s what’s in store for us in the days and months to come. Being flung like a trebuchet-load of horse shit over the battlements of a theater near you!

The Last Legion

What the hell is this movie? It’s playing now, came out with no warning, no press. From the one time I subjected myself to the awful trailer, it seems like a kiddie version of King Arthur (with Clive Owen.) A historicized Arthurian tale with Romans, Ben Kingsley as a druid(!), and a kid Arthur. Not an awful premise, but ouch, the trailer made me cringe. Bad dialog, bad looking, and to really add insult to injury, there’s a Bob Character. An Indian Bob Character, no less. In dark ages Britain. (If you don’t know what a Bob Character is, it’s also called a “MarySue” in the world of fan fiction. Look it up.)

Last Legion looks really, really bad and probably offensive. But in a beneath contempt way; I can just ignore it and move on with life. But then there’s…

Beowulf

Oh poor Geat. Why does Hollywood keep tarnishing your noble name and deeds? Can’t they just leave you alone?

For the record, the ONLY decent film made out of Beowulf is The 13th Warrior. Except it’s not a movie version of Beowulf, it’s a movie version of a Michael Crichton re-telling of Beowulf. So its faults come from flawed source material. Other than that, it’s perfect. Looks perfect, great direction, has a real sense of awe and dread, has Scandinavians played by Scandinavians (gasp!), and the guy playing Beowulf is just awesome.

It’s been downhill from there but Hollywood keeps trying. It’s like they can’t find someone to just write an original medieval story screenplay, so they have to keep going back to the one existing book they can “option.” *sigh* Last year or so there was Beowulf and Grendel. It looked authentic (filming in Iceland was a nice touch), but otherwise SO offensive! Grendel was a downs-syndrome special-needs sprog, there was a Malibu witch, and Beowulf was Scottish!!! (Memo to Gerard Butler: Yes you are hot sir, but until you can master an accent besides the one you were born with, it’s back te acting school wi’ ye laddie!) Beowulf and Grendel made me so depressed.

But it’s gonna look like a masterpiece compared to the new Beowulf coming out this winter! First of all, it’s not even a real movie, it’s a cartoon! Then it’s not even a real cartoon it’s “cgi animated”! And the cgi doesn’t just look computer-game bad, it looks BAD computer-game bad!! And they rendered all of the characters to look like their voice actors. Angelina Jolie does the voice of Grendel’s mother. Can you guess the result? If you said, “Grendel’s mother looks like Lara Croft” you win a prize!

My head hurts already and I’m not even done yet. The trailer implies Beowulf gettin’ it on with Grendel’s mother! Perhaps implying that B is Grendel’s father?! Pure sacrilige. Grendel himself looks like the cheapest of all the cheap-looking cgi in the movie.

But wait there’s more! The only character who doesn’t look like his voice actor is…Beowulf. Because he’s voiced by doughy, middle-aged Ray Winstone. Ok, so they made up B’s look entirely, yet they didn’t even try to make him hot-looking! No, a hot cgi Norseman could not have saved this movie, but at least I’d get a good desktop wallpaper out of it. So, back to Ray Winstone. I adore Ray as an actor, but guess what? Ray has an almost Cockney accent. So now poor Beowulf goes from Scottish to Cockney!! WTF? Are there NO Scandinavian actors in the world? Could you not at least have faked it with a German?!? HUH?? Fuckers. The first thing you hear when you go to the Beowulf website is Ray saying, “I’m ‘ere to kill yer monsta’.” I expect him to say, “guvna” afterward.

All this AND its by the director of Forrest Gump.

Beowulf to me is like sacred scripture.  I would fall upon my own longsword before I’d see this pile o’ offensive crap movie. And now that I’ve read up on it, I can’t even pretend that it just doesn’t exist like I did with…that one movie, and that other movie. If you want to subject yourself to just how bad it is, here’s the official website. But I wouldn’t if I were you.

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