The Scottish actor
shows off his skills in new DVD releases
With his striking good looks, irresistible Scottish brogue and magnetic
old-Hollywood screen presence, you would think Gerard Butler would be
an international superstar of paparazzi-obsessive proportions.
The fact that Butler is a darn good actor and a funny guy who isn't
above making fun of himself only adds to his appeal.
So what gives? Maybe it's that Butler takes on flawed characters and
roles that defy typecasting - not the usual Hollywood thinking. He's
equally at home in wonderful "small" films like "Dear Frankie" as he
was in the big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of
the Opera," or taking on Angelia Jolie in "Lara Croft: The Cradle of
Butler's two newest films to arrive on DVD again show the diversity of
his projects. One is an inspiring true story with mainstream appeal;
the other is a visually stunning movie based on an eighth-century poem.
"The Miracle Match" ($29.99, Buena Vista, available now) is the story
of the U.S. soccer team that scored one of the greatest upsets in
sports history when it beat Great Britain in the 1950 World Cup.
(Butler loses his brogue for a midwest twang in this one.)
Originally called "The Game of Their Lives," this movie has a fun cast
that includes Patrick Stewart, John Rhys-Davis, Zachery Ty Bryan (the
oldest son from "Home Improvement") and rock star Gavin Rossdale.
The subject of a bonus feature will be familiar to some Western New
Yorkers: It's the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta.
In "Beowulf & Grendel" ($29.98, Union Station Media, available
Tuesday), Butler plays the Norse warrior Beowulf who, in seeking the
murderous troll Grendel, learns that all is not as it appears.
It's a shame that we didn't have the opportunity to see this gorgeous
movie, filmed in Iceland and featuring hauntingly beautiful landscapes,
on the big screen. But it had only a limited theatrical release earlier
Though the script uses modern profanity, has some odd dialogue and can
be difficult to follow early on, it's still a movie worth watching. Its
ages-old story of how people judge anything or anyone different than us
is even more relevant today.
Bonus features include deleted scenes, storyboard comparisons, a
featurette of material from the documentary "Wrath of Gods" and
interviews. Butler is a big part of the extras. It's fascinating, as
always, to hear him talk in-depth about his character and film, a movie
he calls "a once in a lifetime experience."