Follow TV Tropes


Film / Beowulf (1999)

Go To

A 1999 Science Fantasy action film based on the epic poem of the same name, starring Christopher Lambert and Rhona Mitra.

Hearing about a monster bothering a castle, a hunter with supernatural powers named Beowulf goes there to ply his trade.

This film has examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Beowulf from the epic poem was a dude who slayed monsters. This film made the character a Half-Human Hybrid who is tormented by the idea of him turning completely non-human, and fights monsters because of it.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Though she's never described in the original poem, Grendel's mother is usually portrayed as an ogress or a she-monster. Here, she's a beautiful seductress played by former playmate Layla Roberts (beautiful until her One-Winged Angel form, that is).
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: This movie made Hrothgar sleep with the mother and father Grendel eight years before the animated film.
  • Adapted Out: The dragon is nowhere to be seen in this story, although some of his physical attributes are given to Grendel's Mother.
  • After the End: The world has regressed to a pseudo-Medieval state, with guns and cars presumably becoming Lost Technology.
  • All for Nothing: Beowulf gets in a fight with the army besieging Hrothgar's fortress because they want to execute a girl who abandoned it. When she learns that Beowulf is heading there, she jumps from his horse and runs straight into the besiegers, who kill her.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Beowulf's second encounter with Grendel ends with him managing to cut of the beast's right arm off. The arm is then hoist up on display.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Grendel is only loyal to his mother, and thus becomes an enemy to his father Hrothgar.
  • Arranged Marriage: Hrothgar married his daughter to the son of some powerful family from outside his domain.
  • Badass Longcoat: Beowulf's.
  • Big Bad: Grendel's Mother, who has her son slaughtering the populace of the Outpost because it has been built on the land that belongs to her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Grendel and his mother are slain, ending their wickedness for good, Beowulf and Kyra are free to ride off to new places, new adventures, but Hrothgar and everybody else at the castle are dead.
  • Blind Without Them: The Outpost's weapons master drops his glasses during a patrol, and while he's fumbling for them on the ground, he doesn't realize that Grendel is right on front of him until it is too late.
  • Cain and Abel: Kyra and Grendel are this in virtue of being Hrothgar's offspring making Grendel, Kyra's half brother.
  • Composite Character: Although there's no dragon in the film, its version of Grendel's mother has a second form that vaguely resembles an insectoid dragon.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Beowulf considers himself cursed by his heritage, which he believes will make him evil some day. However, in present time he is superhumanly strong and agile and has a Healing Factor.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Beowulf wears black and is the son of a dark god, who battles monsters for the sake of not being like them.
  • Death by Adaptation: Hrothgar, his wife (killed before the movie events), Roland (who sort of replaces Unferth) and the castle itself with everyone inside except Beowulf and Original Character Kyra.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Despite Beowulf's warning, Will keeps fiddling with one of his weapons and almost gets shot in the face with arrows.
  • The Dragon: Grendel to his mother.
  • Driven to Suicide: After learning that her husband impregnated the woman who'd became Grendel's Mother, Hrothgar's wife killed herself.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Sported by the guy who's second-in-command to the leader of the forces besieging the Outpost.
  • Fainting: Will faints when he sees Grendel murdering his assistant Karl on front of him.
  • Feudal Future: Hrothgar conquered an "outpost" built over a medieval castle, arranged his daughter's marriage for some lands, and is besieged to make sure that nobody leaves the place until the monster is dealt with.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Grendel's Mother in her human form. And perhaps her monster form too, if you fancy that sort've thing.
  • Half-Breed Angst: As Beowulf himself puts it he's "trapped between two worlds."
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Believing that anyone still alive in the outpost is plagued by its evil presence, the forces surrounding the place execute anyone trying to leave it with a device that chops them half.
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
  • Healing Factor: Beowulf can regenerate from wounds that would kill a normal man.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Than the epic poem, for sure. Specially when it comes to Grendel's mother.
  • Kill It with Fire: During the final confrontation, Beowulf sees that the blood shed from Grendel's Mother is inflammable. He uses this fact a moment later to set her on fire, which leads to her explosive death.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Kyra's outfits might be very heavy on the cleavage, but Grendel's Mother barely bothers to cover herself up with her net-like dress.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: When she transforms, Grendel's Mother turns her limbs into a pair of wings/claws each, and she also sprouts a couple pair more from her back.
  • Mysterious Past: Aside from how his parents met and conceived him, we learn very little about Beowulf's past, his various comments such as "ghosts don't eat people" implying a long life spent fighting many different types of supernatural creatures.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: All of Kyra's outfits have a built-in, visible corset showing lots of cleavage.
  • One-Winged Angel: When Beowulf rejects her offer of sleeping with her, Grendel's Mother reveals her true demon-spider form to fight him to the death.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Grendel's Mother. Her nature is never exactly revealed, but her inhuman form is quite demonic-looking.
  • People in Rubber Suits: Grendel. The filmmaker tried to hide this by adding a computer-generated sheen on the character whenever he appeared onscreen to make him seem more otherworldly.
  • Posthumous Character: Hrothgar's unnamed wife (presumably Wealthow) and Kyra's husband both died before Beowulf's arrival.
  • Protagonist Title: Duh.
  • Really 700 Years Old: During the final confrontation, Grendel's Mother claims to be "older than sin".
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • Beowulf's father. Was it really a god? A demon like Grendel's Mother? Something else entirely?
    • What caused the Mad Max-esque Crapsack World of the film?
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: Hrothgar's weapon of choice is a BFS with serrated edges.
  • Succubi and Incubi: Grendel's Mother is a succubus who spawns demonic offspring from human fathers.
  • Token Minority: Besides the occasional mook, Will and his uncle are the only black people in the movie.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Though we never learn how much into the future it is.
  • The Vamp: Grendel's Mother uses her beauty to entice men (although, in a subversion, it seems she actually conceived Grendel by raping Hrothgar in his sleep rather than seducing him).
  • Villainous Crush: Grendel's Mother holds some pretty twisted affection towards Hrothgar, constantly referring to him as "my love."
  • Walking Armory: Beowulf carries lots of weapons on his person: a sword, crossbows, daggers, two picks that double as grappling hooks, a Blade Below the Shoulder, and so on.
  • Walking the Earth: Beowulf has embraced this, traveling the land, slaying monsters wherever he stops by, never setting down any roots. By the end of the film Kyra joins him.
  • Where da White Women At?: The girl saved early in the movie by Beowulf was Will's girlfriend and they planned to escape together.