Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the sentiments behind this question, but I have little sympathy for such people. They had their chance back in 1981 with the release of Alexander Stitt’s “Grendel Grendel Grendel” and they failed to patronize or appreciate it. I, at least, have the excuse of not having been born yet.
In the film, Grendel wanders in a state of supreme loneliness, unable to communicate with his mother, the only creature able to love him (as eloquently described in an early music number), nor with man or beast. Yet Grendel understands the words and songs of mankind, providing him insight into the rise of civilization and religion amongst the savages who alternatively fear and worship him. Grendel himself has a certain spiritual streak, too, that plays out through wistful soliloquies directed towards the silent heavens.
After struggling vainly with profound questions on the nature of reality, the curse of determinism and the meaning of life, Grendel gradually gives in to his role as a monster, an eternal anti-man, and regularly terrorizes the mead hall. The callous Beowulf shows up only in the last ten minutes of the film to mortally wound our tragic hero, who dies alone under the moonlight while calling out pitiably to his mother.
The project was evidently low budget and the animation is definitely not at the level of Disney or Pixar productions, but “Grendel x3” has a certain charm to its style (exceeding, say, just about anything from Dreamworks). The Danish characters tend to be short and squat like dwarves, but with long pointy noses. Grendel looks something like a polka-dotted dragon runt. The general lumpiness of these character designs didn’t particularly appeal to me and took some time to get used to, but I give Stitt credit for originality.
The film makes up lost ground with its high-contrast, supersaturated colors and clever limited-animation techniques. The style is characterized by strong angular lines and broad swaths of bold and sometimes lightly-textured color. It reminds me of the type of naïve childlike art you might magnet to a refrigerator or wallpaper around a cradle and I somehow don’t mean that in a condescending way.
The music in “Grendel Grendel Grendel” isn’t quite good enough to become a cult hit in its own right, but the lyrics are catchy and simple enough to be likable for children and funny enough to be enjoyed by adults. One’s appreciation with likely depend on your tolerance for listening to omniscient dragon sages singing about Manichaeism and lilting folk-synth ballads describing Grendel’s horrifying features. Personally, I found it to be a well-suited mix of profound modernist absurdity and classical nursery rhymes.
Walrus Rating: 7.5