Geeky has never been just a computer geek, but he is just as geeky in anything as long as it is interesting and fascinating. Somehow he get fascinated about Beowulf after watching the latest movie of Beowulf. So off he goes in search of the legend and excitement of his new ‘hero’. What he found is just as stunning as the movie itself ! Find out why.
The Real Legend
There is an interesting article, Beowulf: Fiction or History? that try to explain the authenticity of the events surrounding Beowulf. The accuracies might be subjective but read it for a quick understanding of ancient time. After all, no one could actually figure out what really happen just by relying on a historical manuscript and some vivid imagination.
The only surviving manuscript about Beowulf
Read about ancient history/story
Rather than describe the story in Geeky’s word, the 3pages article, Beowulf: Fiction or History? , is quoted as it tell the story more descriptively. So for those who hate to read long story, here’s the important extract.
In the beginning
Beowulf was born in the Middle Ages, A.D. 495, in Denmark. At the age of seven, he was sent to southern Sweden where he lived with his grandfather, and later his uncle, who were kings in the tribe of Geats there.
Beowulf as a leader
Beowulf liked adventure more than ruling the land. A band of warriors adventured with Beowulf. In those days warriors often vowed loyalty to their lord, or leader, and a group trusted and respected each other and risked their lives for each other. They shared the plunder they gained through victories. Beowulf with his band of warriors fought and killed monster animals.
Old days monster
One kind of monster was called “wormkind,” large serpent creatures that lived in hidden lairs sometimes near a swampy lake. At high tide the lakes could be connected with the sea, so monsters could traverse from one environment to the other if they liked.
The flying kinds are called pterosaurs. Most dinosaurs are extinct now or almost so, but now and then some sightings show that a few survivors remain in the world.
Grendel, monster Beowulf has to slay
The main monster in the story of Beowulf is Grendel.
Grendel lived in Denmark. He hunted at night, finding humans in the darkness and devouring them with his huge jaws full of teeth. Watchers were hired to guard at night, but sometimes they, too, were killed by the “mouth-bone.” The Danes were so terrorized they thought Grendel was worse than an animal. He was the enemy of God; he belonged in the devil’s hell.
For twelve years the Danes suffered from Grendel. Their swords and arrows and other weapons could not penetrate the monster’s hide. Then Beowulf, at twenty years of age, and his band of warriors sailed to Denmark. The king there knew Beowulf from his early childhood. He received the band gladly. He had heard of their success in clearing the Baltic sea lanes of numerous monsters and making the lanes safe for navigation. He knew, also, how they killed land monsters in Geat.
Beowulf slaying Grendel
They feasted and sang in the king’s great hall. Then at dusk the Danes all went to their hiding places and the Geats, newly arrived from Sweden, slept in the hall—all except Beowulf. He lay awake watching. We know the story today because a poet of the times wrote it down in a powerful epic. He told in detail how Grendel broke the door and ate a man. Then he reached for Beowulf. Beowulf with his great strength grasped Grendel’s forearm. He knew that was the most vulnerable part. The creature had powerful hind legs, but his forearms were thin and weak. The hall rang with the noise of their fight that bounded from wall to wall. Other warriors tried to help but their swords were useless. Beowulf tore the creature’s arm from its shoulder. The sinews sprang apart and the bone joints broke. Grendel bellowed with pain and knew he would die. He fled home and bled to death in his joyless lair.
Is it real ?
Only one manuscript of the original poem exists. People found it, partly burned, in England about five hundred years after Beowulf lived. No one knows who originally wrote it.
Details are embellished to make the battles more intense, the animals more scary, and the heroes more heroic. But the basic story is historically true, and the animals are zoologically real. They are not called trolls or other fantasy names. They are described by their big jaws, their sea-cave dwellings and other scientifically accurate depictions.
Existence of human-devouring dinosaur is still much in debate because there are still unexplored territories on the sea and land that we yet to fully explore etc giant squid, giant octopus, African dinosaur.
Is Grendel a T-Rex given that the poem describe the monster has short hand and strong leg, and it devours human ?
In fact, there are few Beowulf movies. The notable and recent are
Beowulf & Grendel (2005)
Hardly the monster we knew
I like the new version not because of sexier characters but the CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) really make the story very convincing and those fighting look so real with the visual special effect. The atmosphere is just as eerie as in 300 Spartans movie. This is really remarkable story with brilliant acting from top-notched actors and actresses, and with many beautiful sceneries.
In this movie, Beowulf has the habit of appearing totally naked when fighting against monster (It still controversial if the poem mention anything to do with fighting naked against monster) (Fret not, you won’t see anything explicit in the movie).
I wonder if this is due to marketing of the film to appear this way while battling other monsters (Is this how the real historical Beowulf really fight ? I really hardly imagine anyone wanna fight a monster like that
with his balls jumping around.)
Moreover, do the CG Angeline has to appear naked and beautiful given that her son, Grendel, is so ugly ? Perhaps it is just pure marketing. Though I have to agree she ought to be naked because monster never wear any clothing at least not those found in the wild. But then monster don’t speak English too. Or maybe I just been cynical and critical. Or maybe I should stop these rambling now .
The body, face or anything
Just before you start screaming R(A), the movie picture of Angeline Jolie is really computer-generated. It just seems like the real thing except it is not. The difference is hardly noticeable since both have great figure anyway. Whose know, this virtual figure might just live forever in Second Life and beyond.
Okay enough, I know what you thinking but life has to move on, so please stop looking at her (or whatever you staring at) and read the rest of the section…
As for 50years old Ray Winstone acting as 20+years old Beowulf , this is what I called stunning transformation. Believe it or not, these changes are done by CGI again, and now the difference is subtle. Read more from Beowulf’s Ray Winstone Interviewed. This may not be something you like looking at but then life is not perfect !
Just look at what computer can do nowadays. Anyone can have gorgeous figure on screen now.
The spartan actors who undergone the rigorous and outOfThisWorld training to earn their six packs might just envy one-packed Ray Winstone. I wonder how those spartans look like now. Hopefully, they are still in good shape.
To check how stressful is those training, go to Frank Miller movie 300 actor training – The 300 Workout
Oh boy, Geeky has never look that good before ! So what’s my reward ?
Maybe Geeky shouldn’t code anymore, he should go acting instead.