DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Merlin Harries

Read Jennie Kermode's film review of Beowulf

The picture quality of this Director's Cut double disc release is immense and given the special effects is an exceptional pleasure to view on a modern flat-screen HD TV. Presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio and with a whopping 5.1 Dolby Digital sound both the effects and score will resonate amply around the most spacious living room.

The second disc is literally teeming with high-quality extras that not only compliment the feature but enhance it. The documentary A Hero’s Journey: The Making Of Beowulf gives an unprecedented insight into the production of an animated feature of this magnitude the logistics of coordinating vocal talents such as Ray Winstone and Anthony Hopkins. The Origins Of Beowulf is also a high point on the disc and gives an added appreciation of the story and its birth steeped in the history mythical literature.

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Although Beasts Of Burden – Designing the Creatures Of Beowulf and the aforementioned The Origins Of Beowulf might be accused of being a little on the short side, they more than make up for this in terms of sheer quality. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the DVDs extras package as a whole is the level of effort put in to explaining the inner workings of the CGI animated feature.

In terms of the scale of artwork, design and effects put in, Beowulf is largely unparalleled and there is abundant evidence on display as to why this will probably remain so for some time to come. The casting is also one of the more interesting elements given the big names on display and also the somewhat surprising selection of Ray Winstone to provide titular vocals.

Running alongside the jaw-dropping content is the ever-present Zemeckis whose Q and A sessions provide some explanation as to why directing an animated feature can often be infinitely more problematic than working on a live set. This level of quality and attention to detail affords the whole extras package a sense of longevity in that, unlike other DVD extras, you may find yourself watching them again in the future.

The main featurettes are accompanied by an impressive array of art galleries, production diaries and extra scenes which combine to form a truly definitive package and anyone even contemplating purchasing the standard one disc version should really think again.

Reviewed on: 02 Apr 2008
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Beowulf packshot
An imaginative retelling of the Old English story about a hero who saves a kingdom from a monster and its mother.
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Product Code: DY20802

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Reading Between The Lines: The Making Of Beowulf, The Origins Of Beowulf, Beasts of Burden - Designing The Creatures Of Beowulf, Art Of Beowulf, deleted scenes, additional scenes

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