...At the very heart of this new Beowulf is the theme of sin and consequence. The film reveals that the temptations we give into, however small, harmless or pleasurable they may seem, often return when we least expect them, rabid and famished for blood. In Beowulf, one character's sin, which appears as little more than a miniscule indiscretion, quite literally grows into a destructive force beyond human comprehension. The sins of the father are not just visited on the son, but on all those unlucky enough to be near the transgressor. "We men are the monsters now," Beowulf tells his best friend and comrade in arms, Wiglaf (Brendan Gleeson).

King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) rewards the warrior for his heroism

Beowulf is every bit as interested in Faustian bargains as the temptations that set those bargains in motion. Grendel's naked mother, oozing sex and seduction, and whispering flattering praise, is temptation personified. But the image she chooses to take is not her real form. It is only a masquerade with which to ensnare her prey—her true form is a reptilian monstrosity little different than her misshapen son and every bit as deadly. Like those things that tempt us to stray from the righteous path, her physical sensuality is a mask for her lethality.

Zemeckis, Avery and Gaiman's Beowulf is not the infallible hero one might expect, but a deeply flawed, all too human man with faults and weaknesses, chief among them hubris and pride. Beowulf sees himself as invincible. He has come to believe in the songs sung about him in mead halls. Worse, while irrefutably emboldened with might and valor, he has taken to exaggerating his exploits, polishing them with little embellishments. But his lies, and the indiscretions they camouflage, return to haunt him when he is an old man, all too aware of his shortcomings and sins...

Read the rest of the Christianity Today review HERE


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