Beowulf: Poem Vs. Futuristic Movie Adaption

Submitted By Melissa-A-Riley
Words: 992
Pages: 4

Melissa McGregor
Professor Terri Moran
Literature 210
September 21, 2014
Beowulf: Poem vs. Futuristic Movie Adaption Beowulf, was written by an anonymous writer during the time of the Anglo-Saxon period. It is an epic poem telling the tale of King Hrothgar and his troubles with the vicious creature, Grendel. It also brings to life the warrior Beowulf and his journey to helping King Hrothgar with the Grendel and the Grendel’s mother. In 1999, director Graham Baker, directed a futuristic version of the Beowulf poem. (Baker, Beowulf) The movie is more of a story of how Beowulf came to help Hrothgar with his troubles with the Grendel and its’ mother. While both the movie and the poem share a few similarities, the movie does not accurately portray the poem and lacks the hospitality, kinship and true warrior’s spirit that is shown in the poem. In the poem, Hrothgar, king of the Danes, builds a Great Mead Hall. (Beowulf) It is to be a place where he can lavish hospitality and gifts upon his many retainers. Soon after the hall is built a creature by the name of Grendel takes vengeance on the king and his people, slaughtering many of the king’s people over a course of twelve years. Beowulf hears of the kings troubles and comes to the king’s aid. Hrothgar shows great respect and hospitality toward Beowulf and in turn Beowulf feels a kinship toward the king. Beowulf takes it upon himself to slay the Grendel for Hrothgar. He comes back to aid the king in the killing of the Grendel’s mother when she seeks her revenge for the killing of her son. Throughout the poem you get a great sense of what the Anglo-Saxon culture was. They were brave and powerful warriors who came to the aid of their fellow kinsman. Loyalty and hospitality was a way of life for them. Graham Bakers movie adaption of the poem lacks the bravery, kinship, loyalty and hospitality that is evident throughout the poem. The movie has deviated away from where the poem begins and starts inside a futuristic looking castle, made of metal and stone with fire and smoke billowing out of chimneys shaped like claws. If my interpretation is right, this castle is a representation of Hrothgar’s Great Mead Hall and a bad one at that. The movie refers to this castle as the Outpost. (Baker, Beowulf) In the poem, Hrothgar wanted to build the hall for his retainers, those that had been loyal to his needs. He named the hall Heorot. (Beowulf) The hall was to be used for great feast, serving as a place for Hrothgar to show hospitality to those who have come to his aid in times of need. Baker’s movie adaption turns the hall into a prison where Hrothgar and his followers are held captive by the wrath of the feared Grendel. (Baker, Beowulf) There is no hospitality shown within the walls of this metal hall, just fear, destruction and death. In the poem, Grendel is an evil monster who is upset with the building of Hrothgar’s hall. As an act of retaliation, Grendel comes into the hall at night, and captures 30 of the sleeping heroes within. “Asleep after supper; sorrow the heroes, misery knew not.” (Beowulf) Grendel takes the sleeping heroes to his lair where he devours them. It didn’t stop there, for the Grendel would continue his wrathful vengeance over the course of twelve years. Hrothgar is at a loss at what to do and his people are in agony over so much loss. The movie, however, portrays the Grendel as a spirit like creature that materializes in front of its victims before it commences to slaughtering them. (Baker, Beowulf) The creature lives within the deep recesses of the hall and picks off its victims one by one, rather than batches like the poem told. Also, in the movie