If the Norse fantasy, filled with drink, women and demons enchants you, why wouldnt it, then Beowulf may just be worth you time and money. This simple story propels itself with its outlandish action sequences and mythology, that it is quite easy to be whisked away by its charms, much like the films antagonist. In the time of yesteryear when kings ruled the land, monsters and demons plagued the forests and the seas and warrior were rife, King Hrothgar and his kingdom are troubled by Grendel, a violent and gruesome beast that doesnt take kindly to the tunes and soul from the kingdom, decimating all in its path. After one atrocious attack, The King sends a message to all warriors, any man who can kill the Grendel shall receive an almighty treasure. It doesnt take long before Beowulf and his men show up to aid The King, defeating the Grendel and saving the land, however Grendel is the least of Beowulf's worries when his demon mother finds out and strings Beowulf's men up, leaving him no choice but to encounter her. Simple yet effective, the film has a tonne of subtext which is wonderfully woven throughout by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avery's script. The dialogue is hearty and carries a weight to it, the script also knows however when to allow visuals to do the work, and for this Beowul exceeds many an animated film, it doesnt need to spell everything out, even if its easy to get lost in mythology and rather difficult to pronounce names. The cast is super brilliant, Ray Winestone is marvelous as Beowulf, thundering out lines like a warrior, yet managing to emote with a secret and insecure side. Anthony Hopkins does a marvelous job as the king, Hopkins is always magical and here he does what weve come to expect from him, however there are at points time when his dialogue is extremely hard to follow, due to the nature of his hybrid scottish/welch accent. Brendan Gleeson is marvelous and subtle as Beowulf's right hand man, John Malkovich is sinister and marvelous as the cowardly kings aid and Crispin Glover smacks the weird out the park as the Grendel himself. This isnt just a film for the men however as female talent in the form of Angelina Jolie as the seductive demon, Robin Wright as the Queen and Alison Lohman all turn in equally powerful and contrasting roles, adding an even bigger weight to the men's escapeds. The women give the piece a sense of vunerability and hope, it really is testament to great casting and terrific writing. Robert Zemekis also must get a pat on the back for executing such a visually stunning, if not slightly dated CGI adventure, that flings and slides the "camera" into places you need to be. Rather than stick to conventional animation, here Zemekis mixes mo-cap with CGI, giving the whole feel and look a living and breathing element to it. Scenes are made more nail biting with slow tracking shots towards characters as we allow the facial work to emote exactly what is going on and make no mistake about it, this is a pretty dark and disturbing piece. The music steals the show however, for all the good work done visually, the audio is of such a high caliber its impossible not to get goosebumps on the back of your neck, with loud drums, pounding bass and atmospheric strings, it gives a serious sense of scale to the entire thing. For all its wonderment and boldness, the film does lack in a few departments. As mentioned earlier the animation is stunning, even now, however in places it seems mismatched, for example Angelina Jolie's face seems to come across as the most photo realistic out of all, its okay when compared with Winstones gruff exterior but with Grendel and some of the other female models, it really stands out to have had a lot more work done, it feels slightly inconsistent at times, luckily her face is not seen for a massive portion of the film. Her inclusion although essential is also not explained very well, she doesnt have a name, that i heard, were never quite sure what or where she came from, nor what she really is. Why does she have such problems? It's hinted at from time to time but never set in stone. Also the movie time hops a huge chunk of timeline and although it does a grand enough job of holding Beowulfs character arc in the foreground other characters get lost in the shadows. Malkovich, Wright and Lohman all just seem like something huge has went on, however we the viewer were not and never will be privy to that information, its a minor gripe as your imagination can surely fill in the blanks, i for one would have loved to have maybe had some more chunkier support exposition. Also sometimes characters reasoning's can become questionable or even hint at some foreboding subtext that never comes to fruitation, watching this film, i cannot help but feel that there was a much larger film in here somewhere. Despite these niggles, Beowulf is enjoyable, wonderfully epic and full of adventure, it might not make a whole lot of sense for those unaware of the source material and it can some times leave you feeling a bit lost as to character motivations, the animation, execution and acting are all done to a caliber that is hard to dislike.