Movies Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality

Ode to Beowolf’s Penis

Last night I saw Beowolf 3D—quite a technological feat. Most of the movie looked “real”; even the movement of the characters was very smooth. The nudity in the film was interesting, though. I think most people are familiar with the Hollywood nudity double standard, but in Beowolf it was pronounced to the point of being laugh-out-loud comical (to me, at least—I may have been the only one in the whole theater laughing).

There’s one scene where Beowolf spends a considerable amount of time jumping around naked while fighting Grendel. The way they planned the storyboards, there was always something covering his penis, though: his other leg, the table, someone else, Grendel’s arm, a sword, the smoke from an explosion. It seemed as if everyone item and being in the room was in a joint conspiracy to say, “Quick! Hide Beowolf’s penis!” And yet when Angelina Jolie’s character appears, they have no qualms about showing her every inch… multiple times even.

Really, what is so threatening about a glimpse of an animated penis? Why can’t the MPAA get past this? Well, at least the makers of Beowolf made a good spectacle out of the double standard. The film would be a great archaelogical find for a freer society centuries from now.

P.S. Robert Redford, this time the AMC theater did not show me any commercials beforehand, and yet they managed not to charge an extra $3 per person for such an “amenity.”

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