Sometimes you get surprised by Hollywood. I went to see Beowulf yesterday expecting to see a good live action adventure tale from the story I only vaguely remember reading in high school. I quite often deliberately avoid reading anything about a movie ahead of actually going to see it if I want to, other than trailers and previews seen during other movies. So it was quite a surprise when at least partway through the opening scenes of the movie, I realized what I was watching was a digital animation instead of live action. Yes, they've gotten THAT good.

The story is pretty much what you'd expect if you can remember your high school English class. A classic tale of a city plagued by an evil monster who attacks people without provocation, eating them in the process and generally making a real nuisance of himself. A hero arrives to save the day and all that good stuff. Things go pretty much as expected with a great set of battle scenes and storyline. Of course, Beowulf slays Grendel in the end.

As apparently told in the original epic poem, Beowulf then has to confront the creature's mother in her lair. This is where the story apparently shifts into "creative license" and Hollywood tells the tale differently. So I won't spoil any of that. I certainly didn't remember anything beyond killing Grendel anyway, so it was all new to me. It'll have to suffice to say that Angelina Jolie plays a most excellent Grendel's mom, and there's an awesome sequence with a dragon later in the film.

There were several moments in the film where it was easy to forget you were watching digital animation instead of live actors. They've made leaps and bounds in this area and it was all quite impressive. Water, fire, smoke, even facial hair. All of it looked very realistic. The only noticeable problem came from the lesser actors, several of the female characters, and up close shots of King Hrothgar. But what I've seen of the CGI clips from 300 which was out not that long ago, there's been huge improvement in the technology overall. For fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and other genres where this kind of thing make sense, I can easily see Hollywood favoring this over live action. There's also supposed to be a digital 3D version of the film as well, I didn't see that, but my curiosity is definitely up. I may well go see that version too.

Overall, you won't go wrong by making the trip to your local theater. It's well worth the time and money.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Nov 18, 2007 5:41 pm by Samson in: | 1 comment(s) [Closed]
Thanks for the review, it sounds like the movie will be better than I was expecting when I can get to see it, but I was already planning to see it eventually anyway. :)

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