Beowulf and Grendel is a film adaptation of the first epic poem in the English language. It’s about a king who, having killed a terrifying troll, recruits the help of a foreign warrior named Beowulf to battle the unforgiving son of the troll he murdered.
From its opening minutes, a chapter subtitled A Hate is Born, Beowulf and Grendel could have been an effective allegory for racism and the fear of anything that is different, but is stymied by its delivery. Director Sturla Gunnarsson makes great use of the rocky landscapes of Iceland, where the film was shot, and successfully cast Gerard Butler as the heroic Beowulf and Stellan Skarsgard as the broken-down king but fails to impart any real empathy for Grendel, the revenge-seeking troll. If the audience doesn’t feel for the character then the story becomes strictly about revenge and not anything deeper.
There are some memorable scenes. After Grendel sees his father killed he takes a souvenir to remember his dad—his head!—and the rocky scenery is beautiful, perfectly complimenting the brutal story.