Wednesday, June 2, 2010


On the recommendation of a trusted friend I checked out (from the Library) the Robert Zemeckis Beowulf yesterday. I was totally expecting to hate it, and quite frankly, that may be a bad thing about writing a review of it for you, my lovely reader. So, if you want to not have any expectations forced on you be me: stop reading this and rent it. Rent it thinking about the image above and how there is no way on god's green earth this movie can be any good at all. Then come back and read the following.

Normally. Normally I'm a purist. Really. I hate things that adapt other things. I hate the idea of taking something that is amazing and making a shitty second rate copy of it. There are exceptions. Usually they are the result of a genius (like Kubrick) being involved. But in some cases it is just blind luck that makes an imitation something good on its own. I hate Neil Gaiman and I'm no fan of the last decade of Zemeckis movies. And don't even get me started on digital animation.

But. But this movie totally blew me away. It is like watching a train wreck. Not a car wreck. Not a bicycle wreck. But actually getting to watch a giant 10 car passenger train run into, say, a fleet of school buses on their way home from school. The first two minute had me yawning. The Vikings and their big halls. Darkly lit and full of really out of date (three years old) C.G. animation. The animation was the first thing that won me over. It is clunky and awkward. It adds a bizarrely unreal look to the film. It bites so hard it becomes amazing.

The whole project looks like the result of a highschool AV class project. And it reads like one too. Because after two minutes the movie became insane. Hyper violent and sexualized. So many nearly naked computer made bodies. So much blood. One genius monster (Grendel, of course). And and endless series of "and then" story points. To no end. It loses all the lyrical beauty and subtle humanity of the original story. It destroys all the things that would make you (as an adult) enjoy a complex and ancient story. And in its wake you are left feeling like you are stuck in a room full of teenage nerds fantasizing their way to sex Valhala.

You're going to have to check your brain at the door. Your going to have to not use any of the life experience you gained past that age. But if you are able to do that, I guarantee that you'll have a blast. Just don't think. That should have been the movie's tag line.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen this but it sounds exactly like the kind of stuff I like to half watch while drawing.
    BTW this was being made at sony while I was working there. I passed by the pinpong ball people and horses every time I went to the employee gym