ITV1: Friday 21 August, 10.40pm
From a stormy sea, Beowulf comes to slay the monster Grendel in a cursed kingdom. From the ancient Anglo-Saxon text, Robert Zemeckis fashions another ‘motion capture’ animation experiment (following his creepy Christmas extravaganza, The Polar Express) that is as bizarre as the casting. Anthony Hokins is fine as King Hrothgar and cloven-hoofed Crispin Glover a suitably scary Grendel, raging with supernatural strength. But Ray Winstone’s heroic Beowulf sounds like Bob Hoskins and looks like Sean Bean beefed-up a bit. As for Angelina Jolie, she sounds like she’s auditioning for The Addams Family and looks like she’s posing for Playboy. John Malkovich sounds Welsh, which is simply weird. But never mind these strange, pasty-faced, smooth-skinned caricatures, there’s terrific detail in the set design and impressive scope to the bleak landscapes. For all the digital imagery, it’s not a film of great beauty, like Curse of the Golden Flower. But it’s better to look at than the dark and dreary 300. And the golden dragon finale is truly fantastic. All the promised magic and excitement is contained in this breathtaking sequence. And, wouldn’t you know it, there’s no dialogue. As for motion capture, it all went horribly wrong with the multi-million dollar flop, Mars Needs Moms.