It's more dazzle than disaster, but the technical ambitions of Beowulf work too sporadically to be completely effective, while the screenplay adaptation of the classic story suffers from serious bouts of corn poison.
If you want to understand what the pressure of Hollywood does to talent, if you want to experience where the movie business is heading in a big way, this benighted but likely remunerative film is the place to start.
Beowulf is being released in standard 2-D and a non-Imax 3-D version, neither of which I've seen, and neither of which I would recommend as long as there is an opportunity for the sensory overload of Imax 3-D.
To the shock of cynics in the audience waiting for this film fantasy to be lame, Beowulf turns out to be exciting, fun and occasionally breathtaking. No question it's a popcorn flick, but it's cheesy only when it chooses to be.
For all its visual sweep and propulsively violent action, this bloodthirsty rendition of the Old English epic can't overcome the disadvantage of being enacted by digital waxworks rather than flesh-and-blood Danes and demons.