This entry was posted on Friday, November 16th, 2007 at 10:11 pm and is filed under Action, Animation, B, Fantasy Adventure, Movie Reviews, NEW ON VIDEO. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Ray Winstone, Robin Wright Penn, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Brendan Gleeson
Director Robert Zemeckis has taken one of western culture’s oldest tales, Beowulf (dating back to before 1000 AD), and applied one of the newest and most technologically advanced film making techniques to this classical epic poem. “Enhanced motion capture” is supposed to be halfway between animation and live action. Zemeckis first employed this system in 2004 with Polar Express, but the technology has improved since that feature. The result, this time out, is a visually stunning epic with some very impressive CGI scenes of monsters and landscapes. The system is still less impressive when it tries to digitize the actors, however. Though, wonderfully detailed, the animation in the human action scenes is often pretty obvious. The strange end product closely resembles a very good cut scene from a video game. Today, when video games are trying to look as close to movies as they can, here we have a movie that seems to be trying to look like a video game. Why? I know, I know. It’s cheaper. I still had to pay full price to see it, though. Anyway, despite the fact that I haven’t been won over by this style, this is a good movie. It is a simple heroic tale with some good action scenes, including one of the best dragons ever put on film.
Little-known Ray Winstone landed the title role here as the legendary hero, Beowulf (though his appearance has been replaced thrugh CGI), who comes to rid a kingdom of its troublesome monster (and undoubtedly one of the worst party crashers ever!), Grendel. Beowulf is a little more shaken when he confronts the creature’s mother, however. She is played by Angelina Jolie (looking amazing, but they gave her character some crazy-looking built-in high heels) and this encounter requires a different approach. Most importantly, he keeps his clothes on (or does he?), which he didn’t when fighting her son – hmmm, that seems a little mixed up. However, he does bring peace to the region, and so when the area’s ruler (Anthony Hopkins) dies, soon after, Beowulf becomes King. However it seems that in lifting the darkness from the land, he placed it upon himself. There is a price to be paid….
Imagine 300 meeting The 13th Warrior (also loosely based on Beowulf) and you will have some idea of what to expect here. There’s lots for action fans to enjoy, and techno junkies will love this new frontier of CGI film work. If you disliked both of the features mentioned above, then this one is probably not for you.