Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

22 November 2007

Olde English in 3D

Julie wouldn't go with me to see Robert Zemeckis's Beowulf, so I went by myself. And I have to say, I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. It's certainly one of the coolest things I've seen all year.
The whole thing is animated, first of all. (I didn't realize that when I went in, I guess.) But Zemeckis is doing the motion-capture thing he did with The Polar Express (a movie I thought was kinda cute). Beowulf is three years after The Polar Express, though, and it shows in the work. Though the facial features of some of the humans can at times be a little wooden, the film's ability to capture the actors' work is really, really cool. This is particularly the case with Anthony Hopkins and John Malkovich, whose work we are probably the most familiar with. The animated characters look, move, and speak like the actors we know.
But all of this is beside the point. Beowulf is in fucking 3D and it's very, very cool. Spears fly out at you in the audience, coins roll toward your face. And the camera can go anywhere, of course, because it's all animated, so we can look up at the underside of Grendel while he bleeds down onto us and blood comes into the auditorium. Or we can fall from the back of a dragon down toward a giant spike as the spike basically comes at us in a third dimension. The whole thing was unbelievably cool.
The script is basically idiotic, let's be honest. It's very much all about tits and fighting, but I actually didn't care all that much. There's a fabulous dragon battle with Beowulf riding on the dragon and stabbing him in the throat. (This is, obviously, a bit of a change from the source material, where Beowulf's last battle is with a giant wyrm and not a dragon, but a flying, screaming reptile looks cooler in a movie than an overgrown snake who breathes fire.)
Frankly, I can't really say enough good things about Beowulf in 3D. It's an absolute must-see. Do not miss it. Know that you're going in to a movie geared toward teenage boys, but the wow factor is just too big to skip it. It' s an absolute technical marvel.