Any cinematic rendition of a popular book, epic, or legend would, undoubtedly, bring about various inconsistencies and differences from the original. In fact, the main point of using two different kinds of media such as writing and cinematography would make it difficult for the messages, the metaphor, and even the style to be delivered as compared from the original into the rendition.
In fact, considering that the work that is being considered down his Beowulf — the original Anglo-Saxon epic and the 2007 film rendition — where in it is not even a direct prose literary style but rather constructed with the structure of poetry, and an epic one at that, would provide a force various difficulties. One significant difference between the two works is that the original Beowulf, being an Anglo-Saxon poetic legend, relies heavily on form and meter in order to deliver not only its message but it’s overall effect of legend.
Traditionally, epic poems were used as a literary device in order to deliver a message while at the same time making it easy for the memorizing oral tradition as compared to a straight written prose which would be difficult to memorize for its listeners (Puhvel, 1979). Therefore, in Beowulf, the original epic, many monsters and other mythological characters were identified in order for the work to be easily associated to memory. However, in the movie producing 2007, only a few monsters – including Grendel, the Demones, and the Dragon were identified explicitly.
However, a specific similarity that could be found between the two works in which the modern rendition and movie had respected from the original epic Beowulf is that it followed the three battle structure that was originally intended into oral and written traditions of the area the first battle was between Beowulf and Grendel — effect of the captured in the movie in the scene of the battle in the tavern. However, the second battle, between Grendel’s mother and Beowulf was not essentially highlighted in the movie but rather focused on internal rather than an external battle from the protagonist and hero of the film.
The third battle, on the other hand, was highly specified and indicated in the film together with several animated special effects that were important to highlight the gravity and height of the final battle in judging the characters overall character and in uncovering the most important aspect of the legend — which is to inspire awe and wonder. However, yet another difference that the film failed to indicate is that Beowulf actually comes into specific kinds of classification.
The first is between the three battles that were encountered by the protagonists which we have already discussed above. However, in actual Beowulf epic — may be from the written or oral tradition — there is also another structure which is highlighted by the funeral rites with each character’s funeral highlighting an essential aspect and metaphor for the story (Robinson, 1985). However, perhaps the movie would have been too complicated both with respect to metaphor and the lack of action sequence if this structure was used.
Definitely, there were similarities and differences between the film and the actual epic, although it would only be expected because the two mediums are significantly different from each other and more importantly, were created and popularized in two extremely different timelines and targeted towards different audiences. References: Puhvel, M. (1979). Beowulf and Celtic tradition. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Robinson, F. C. (1985). Beowulf and the appositive style. University of Tennessee Press Knoxville.