babies and beowulf

First off: if you are of the American persuasion I wish you a happy Thanksgiving – I was grateful I got to eat some of my Grandma’s delicious New Orleans style shrimp gumbo, the dish that defines a holiday for me. Forget turkey, pass the shrimp! I was also grateful that my brother brought my nephew to the family gathering – he’s been acting weird since the baby was born and I was afraid he wouldn’t come. I never knew I was one of those women who turned into a lovestruck idiot whenever a baby came around, but it has happened – every time I see that child I just want to snuggle him to cute little snuggly-wuggly bits.

*clears throat*

Sorry, enough with the girly crap right? On to the geek portion of this post!

I started writing a rave review of Beowulf earlier this week but I’ve had time to think it over and I’m not so sure it is really rave worthy. It was certainly very cool technology-wise and the adaptation was well done, but it did leave a bit to be desired.

I hear that this movie is amazing on an Imax or 3d screen, but I don’t have access to one without driving like 6 hours (more’s the pity). My showing was in a normal theater, complete with annoying children (who the frak thinks this is a good kids movie?), and the posse of Mexicans on the row behind me who refused to turn off their cell phones. I counted, between them they had over 5 phone conversations during the movie, and apparently one of them wasn’t quite up on his English because his buddy translated about half the movie for him, mostly when the dialogue was moving quickly and it was most distracting to have someone talking. Grr. I suppose it could have been a Spanish lesson for me had I not been trying so hard to tune them out. Ok, and seriously, back to the kids being there – I had to look away during parts of the movie, I know those poor little kids are going to be scarred for life. When I was their age I was terrorized by the abominable snowman in that rudolph movie. (It still gives me the creeps but that will be our little secret, ok? Thanks, you’re awesome.)


The good.
It could just be my innate deep and abiding love of all things Gaiman, but to me this movie had much more depth and detailed characterization than your standard action flick. Even the small time characters were so well depicted that you gained a full sense of them as a person rather than the monster, pretty girl, or hero stereotype that you might have been expecting. Part of what made Grendel so frightening is that you could see his frustration and terror, I found myself wanting to give him a hug even as I cringed in my seat during the scenes where he attacks the hall. Other characters who surprised me: the belligerent ass who ends up a priest, and the little blonde who sleeps with the king and then (naively) tries to comfort the queen, among others.

I only have vague memories of being forced to read Beowulf in highschool, but from what I remember and what I have read about the movie the Gaiman/Avary adaption is quite faithful to the spirit of the original while giving it a fuller arc that makes a much better movie.

The bad.

As far as the animation is concerned, I was quite impressed for the most part – Zemeckis took full advantage of the benefits of not having to work around what a real camera can do and provided some amazing angles – the scene where the ‘camera’ pulls back from the mead hall and keeps getting a wider and wider view as it gets further away and approaches the monster’s cave was especially memorable. The character rendering was not quite as impressive however – you never lose sight of the fact that you are watching an animation, though some of the closeups where you see wrinkles and pores might do their best to make you forget. The way the characters moved was a little off – it was ok for the supernatural beings who aren’t supposed to necessarily mimic human movement, but the horses and the main characters were kind of stiff – just enough to draw you out of the scene before the next awesome thing pulls you right back into the story. I think if I had seen it on an imax screen this wouldn’t have bothered me as much, but my regular old theater with the yakking in the back row just wasn’t quite cool enough to keep me focused.

beowulf 2

The ugly.

While I think the story was an improvement over a lot of movies in this genre, I still found it a bit predictable. The genius of it was in the transformation of the original story and in the character details The third act is kind of evident from the first, and if anyone at all was surprised at the final scene I would like to know why. Also, there were a lot of references to the ‘new Roman God’ that I didn’t get the purpose of – they didn’t really do anything to advance the plot or expand the story in my opinion.

The ugliest.

Frakking Angelina Jolie. I find that woman utterly annoying and obnoxious, her character voice was grating, and her animated demon feet freaked me out.

The preview:

Is her voice not irritating?

3 Responses to “babies and beowulf”

  1. November 28, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Ange can go frakk herself for dumping me and shacking up with that pretty-boy, Pitt. Scum-queen viper-harpy. YOU SUCKED IN TOMB RAIDER!

  2. November 28, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Looking forward to Beowulf despite that venemous betrayer being in it, though. Looks good! 🙂

  3. November 28, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    She sucks in everything! A finer example of looks propelling a mediocre talent farther than it should ever go would be hard to find, and she so doesn’t deserve the pretty-boy. The sooner she retires to her private island with her 18,000 orphans the better.

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