ENTERTAINMENT
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Beowulf Review: "Highly Entertaining - But Far From Classic"

In this lusty Hollywood version, Beowulf rises to the throne of Denmark after striking a Faustian bargain with Grendel's mom, only to pay an awful price when he has to face a dragon 50 years later.

Screenwriters Neil Gaiman ("Stardust") and Roger Avary ("Pulp Fiction") have made this musty classic so accessible - and filled in its narrative gaps so inventively - that you wish Zemeckis had filmed it as an R-rated, live-action movie that could have been potentially great.

Instead, Zemeckis has employed motion capture - the same technique he used to lesser effect on "The Polar Express" - in which the actors who provide the voice also don suits with electronic sensors that "capture" their performances, which are combined with computer-generated background and props.

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