Had a good email discussion about this with drcpunk, but I still think it sucketh rocks. What else can I saw about a movie that thinks "swive" is a good word for the Geats to say instead of the proper old English word Foeken (meaning "to plow," and, despite popular folklore to the contrary, is the actual origin of our common English word Fu-
Hear me good theigns/Huscarls Attend!
How brave Beowulf/Braggart did prove
Meadhall mouthings/Not Mighty deeds
Bought him wordfame./With wild drop-trousers
And Golden Horn/Hewed Beowulf's mother
Know what I mean/(Nudge nudge wink wink)
Boy Wigflaf turned/To white-haired geezer
And the deadly dragon/That dealt horror
Fire breathing, gold-hording/Is fruit of Golden Horn
Know what I mean/(Nudge nudge wink wink)
(Excerpt from the Boreal Masters text, from the "IF Thou Knewest Beowulf Like I Knowest Beowulf, Thou Wouldst Understand Why We Pillage So Many Silks and Frilly Pink Dresses.")
Apparently, buried in the Boreal Master manuscripts is a hithertofore unknown version of Beowulf. In this manuscript, it is revealed that Beowulf was a drunken hero with a bunch of stupid gullible followers who liked to do a lot of bragging, wild talk about sea monsters, and the occasional bout of manly nude wrestling. Also, as revealed in the marginalia, a "mead hall" was actually a rustic feast room attached to a large stone castle with what was thought to be until now late-medieval castle architecture.
Mind you, I'm not sure why the Danes greet Beowulf's tale of fighting sea monsters as so improbable when they are being nightly attacked by a giant that eats people's heads. But it's important that we understand at the outset that Beowulf is not entirely truthful and boasts of his exploits. This sets us up for later, when he fights Angelina Jolie with his sword and magic drinking horn ("sword and magic drinking horn?" "Sword and magic drinking horn!" "Magic drinking horn" "Yes! Magic drinking horn. nudge nudge wink, wink!")
Beowulf then strips naked not because he is in the mead hall and that's where we sleep, but because he wants to do nude wrestling with Grendel (presumably it's nude wrestling night at Hrothgars! Which, while not as much fun as Men Without Pants at Vlad's down in the bog, is a fine attraction for manly warrior Geats). To my cnsiderable annoyance, Angelina Jolie does not honor his challenge by stripping naked later.
Anyway, because this is 3D, we get much gratuitous Geat-gore before Grendel gets his arm caught in a door (what, you think Beowulf actually ripped it off himself, don't be silly! Heroes are braggarts and self-aggrandizing liars!). Grendel then wanders back to Mommy to die and speak some very bad olde English that soundeth like it be from bad Ingmar Bergen movie.
After Mommy slaughters everyone asleep in the Mead Hall but Beowulf (happily, the mead hall adjoins the castle so only drunks and nude wrestlers are sleeping in the mead hall), Beowulf and his faithful Wiglaff (oh yeah, Wiglaff was there the whole time) go off after Grendel's Mom. Happily, Hrothgar has given Deowulf a magic drinking horn that grows -- ahem -- glows as it gets closer to Angelina Jolie (did I mention this movie is just fraught with symbolism).
So it turns that Grendel's Mom is a demon who manifests herself in tight fighting golden jumpsuits and stiletto heels. After roughing Beowulf up some (cause she knows what you heroes like!), she invites him to some further nude wrestling. Turns out she'd done this with Hrothgar too, and that was how we got little Grendel! Because, little Saxon lads and lasses, when a hero and a she-demon really love each other, and respect each other, and care about each other as people, they can celebrate their mutual respect with some nude wrestling. And that's how little monsters are made!
Grendel's Mom offers Beowulf kingship and wordfame that shall endure to Ragnorock. All Beowulf has to do is rock Grendel's mom and leave her his magic golden drinking horn (the real one). Beowulf, of course, does not hesitate a moment before doing the heroic thing, which here means succumbing to temptation and then going back home to lie to everyone about how you killed Grendel's Mom.
Time passes, the poem jumps ahead, and we have an old worn out Beowulf with no kids (same as Hrothgar -- seems sleeping with demons can cause sterility in some cases, consult your demonologist about this and other possible side effects). The world has changed, and being King just isn't fun anymore. Everybody is a Christian now (except Beowulf and Wiglaff) and the castle around the mead hall has gone from late medieval to Harry Potter-esque. Fortunately, for no reason discernible, Grendel's Mom sends back the magic drinking horn and unleashes the drinking horn by-blow on the surrounding country-side. This being the great fire breathing dragon, who does not horde gold but rather just wants to bar b q the countryside and find Daddy (apparently he has abandonment issues). Since this is obviously All Beowulf's Fault, he needs to personally atone for it, including cutting off his own arm (just like he did to Grendel, did I mention we are just fraught with symbolism here?) so he can penetrate the dragon's one weak spot, as revealed to him by the Thrush on Durin's Day. No, sorry, as revealed to him by the magic drinking horn, which conveniently has model of dragon anatomy made to (wait for it) scale. (Sorry about that, couldn't resist.)
Beowulf dies, so the age of heroes is now officially over. Wiglaff is king, but is left standng knee-deep in water holding his magic drinking horn and looking at Angelina Jollie, who has shown up at Beowulf's ship-burning to pay her last respects. Will Wiglaff likewise prove to be a "hero" and go in for a spot of nude wrestling? Or will he learn The Lesson of the movie that heroes are stupid braggarts and we are better off without them? Happily, the credits start to roll.
Sadly, the one thing I took away from this movie is Weird Al's "Nature Trail to Hell," which has been running through my mind for the last two days.