Robert Zemeckis’ recent foray into animation boggles the mind. Both The Polar Express and Beowulf are clunky, wooden, and sophomoric attempts to bring classic literary adaptations to the quick-cutting MTV generation and each fails miserably. Beowulf is a particularly worrisome piece of work, relentlessly violent, macho, masochistic, and simple. It’s hard to believe this is the same director who brought us Back to the Future and Cast Away, two Hollywood films that transcend genre in fascinating ways. Like many of Zemeckis’ 90’s films (What Lies Beneath, Forrest Gump), Beowulf panders to the lowest common denominator of a certain genre, in this case the historical epic. The film is a series of blunt force traumas to the viewer’s senses, using a ridiculous “realistic” animation approach to the bloody story of Beowulf (Ray Winstone) fighting off Grendel (Crispin Glover) and his demon mother (Angelina Jolie). With the exception of Grendel’s horrifying appearance and Glover’s incredibly wicked incarnation of the monster, every character in Beowulf screams, seduces, and slithers with overbearing intensity, slaying subtlety in the process.