Beowulf is Already Fun!
One of my coworkers is a treasure trove of useless information. She is a wonderful source of very useful information as well, but it’s the trivial stuff that matters right now.
One day we were talking about movies and someone mentioned The 13th Warrior. I remember liking the movie, but, being aware that it was a retelling of Beowulf, I was unimpressed (as was most of the world, considering it lost about $18 million).
She mentioned that Michael Crichton had written is on a bet that he could make Beowulf interesting. As it turns out, this was mainly true:
Included in his [friend’s] lecture was an argument on Beowulf and why it was simply uninteresting. Crichton stated his views that the story was not a bore and was, in fact, a very interesting work. The argument escalated until Crichton stated that he would prove to him that the story could be interesting if presented in the correct way.
Crichton was right, of course, it has to be presented in the right way…names like Hrothgar don’t draw many of us in these days. But I think he went too far. Eaters of the Dead wasn’t actually Beowulf, it was a (more) modern retelling. So, I’d like to prove that Beowulf is not only interesting, but fun, and can prove it without changing the story.
Beowulf and Grendel (The Very Very Abridged Version)
Monster eats warriors. Warriors fight back. Monster eats more warriors. Warriors are sad. They call Superguy.
Superguy arrives, with entourage. Warriors are happy, throw welcome party. Superguy gets hammered, passes out naked.
Monster comes back. Warriors fight. Monster eats warriors.
Superguy wakes up, beats crap out of Monster. He rips Monster’s arm off, and hangs it from ceiling. Monster runs home to Mommy.
Warriors are happy, throw afterparty. Superguy gets hammered, passes out naked.
All you need now is one of those stick cartoons from The Oatmeal or XKCD, and now you have a very, very interesting telling of Beowulf, for way less than it costs to animate Angelina Jolie in 3D.
In my professional opinion, Beowulf is already fun. Of course, I don’ t actually have a professional opinion on the matter, so I’ll let my friend Erin, who is a high school English teacher with a master’s degree in Middle English Literature from the University of Edinburgh take it from here.
Me: Erin, is Beowulf fun?
Disclaimer: this conversation never actually took place, but since I’ve known Erin for more than 7 years, I’m sure it is exactly what she would say.