Evelyn GoughIn the Picture
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Beowulf is based on the epic poem of the same name and recounts the legend of Beowulf (Ray Winstone), the mighty warrior who promised to defeat the monstrous Grendel (Crispin Golver) for Danish King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins), whose kingdom is being terrorised by the beast.
The studly Beowulf quickly catches the eye of Hrothgars beautiful young wife, Wealthow (Robin Wright Penn), especially when he makes the unusual decision to fight Grendel naked! Not that we get to see anything thanks to strategically placed objects.
But Beowulf soon discovers the real monster is Grendels mother (Angelina Jolie). How can something so beautiful be so evil?
Dont get me wrong, I love animated feature films. I was raised on the Disney classics and todays family friendly cartoons are just as magical. However the ones aimed at an adult audience like Sin City, 300 and now Beowulf leave me cold. Theres something impersonal about them I cant connect with the characters and the animation technique used in Beowulf is particularly deadening. Its a technique known as performance capture, first seen in The Polar Express, and we all know how successful that was!
Basically its a system that allows the filmmakers to map an actors expressions and gestures onto a computer-generated model, so its neither wholly animation nor live action. Then they tweak it a bit, or in the case of Ray Winstone, a lot! In real life he does not possess a six pack.
Anyway, the overall result, in my opinion, is just plain creepy. Perfect for a zombie but otherwise just one big yawn. The characters have no soul, theyre caught in a computer-generated purgatory and its a place I have no interest in going.
And get used to things constantly flying towards the screen as Beowulf is supposed to be enjoyed, and I use the term loosely, in 3-D. Thats if youre lucky enough to score a pair of 3-D glasses, which I didnt.
Im not familiar with the epic poem Beowulf but apparently the film bears little resemblance to this classic tome. No doubt its targeted audience of nerdish adolescent males doesnt give a toss theyre just waiting for the computer game to be released.
Its pretty obvious Beowulf wasnt my idea of a good time and I wont be holding my breath for the next performance captured film. Give me real human actors any day. And a decent story! You need more than Angelinas knockers to make a winning movie... although they are very nice knockers!