Wednesday, January 02, 2008


"Just don't take any class where you have to read Beowulf." - Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) ANNIE HALL (1977)

I went to the first IMAX movie I've seen in a long time at a venue I've never been to before - The IMAX Theatre at Marbles Kid Museum in Raleigh, N.C. The movie was BEOWULF, the new Robert Zemeckis 3-D CGI spectacle based on the Old English heroic epic poem (as Wikipedia calls it). 

Did I mention it was IMAX 3-D? Because if the flick didn't have the ginormous screen 3-D enhancement I don't think I would've liked the movie much. Anywhere here goes a review:

BEOWULF (Dir. Robert Zemeckis, 2007)

The very loose adaptation of the ancient landmark of World literature presented here won't do any high school English teachers any favors. 

This throws out all but the basics of the original story and CGI's everything up to 11 - with in-your-face bloody battles, in-your-face grotesque sea monsters and dragons, in-your-face golden villainess Angelina Jolie, and in-your-face uh, everything! 

It was IMAX 3-D you know so everything is constantly coming at you. Beowulf is played by Ray Winstone who with the benefit of the animation process becomes a buff killing machine Adonis while the other actors - Robin Penn Wright, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich appear confined to video game character aesthetic restraints. 

I honestly didn't know until afterwards that it was the wonderfully weird Crispin Glover who provided the voice and mannerisms for the colosally disgusting Grendel - good thing too because that might have distracted a bit. 

I am not a fan of the 300-style bravado that often dominated the proceedings and the thrill of the 3-D did wear off after the first half only to come back in spurts but overall BEOWULF is a fairly fun ride through ancient mythic vistas and bloody overwrought battles.

Like I said before, though it was the IMAX 3-D that made the show, I can't really comment on what this film would play like in 2-D. 

As my father said, to make Angelina Jolie into Grendel's mother is quite a stretch but one that doesn't matter as long as things keep coming at you.

More later...

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