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Film / Beowulf (1999)

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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.
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  • 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 outside.
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  • 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.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Russian bootleg translation of the film's title was "Biovolk", i.e., "Biological Wolf".
  • 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 it 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.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Grendel's Mother is always barefoot.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Horny Demons: Grendel's Mother is a literal succubus here. She spawns demonic offspring from human fathers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Where da White Women At?: The girl saved early in the movie by Beowulf was Will's girlfriend and they planned to escape together.