Sunday, December 23, 2007

Beowulf - John's review

We had a child-free day on Saturday so Bronwyn and I headed off to check out the new IMAX 3D cinema playing "Beowulf".

Bronwyn and I usually agree on movies, often both liking movies that have had negative reviews. eg We both liked "Troy". But not this time. Bron (see below) feels that the Beowulf CGI approach did not work for her. I thought Beowulf was excellent, with the bonus of easily being the most successful and effective 3D feature movie I have ever seen. I am however a techie who appreciates the cutting-edge work these animators are doing and I may be forgiving a few things. The shyness in showing nudity looks foolish at times but that is probably some producer's decision to make more money by avoiding a restricted certificate. IMHO wrong call, this looks to me like an R13 movie awkwardly trying to change gear down to M, but it's a minor point.

On to my appreciation of what is good here. Top marks to the writers for tying the disconnected events of the ancient story together with a new story arc of cause and effect while still staying true to the distinctive elements of the original. The ancient storyline, of the surprising way to defeat the monster Grendel, is well adapted here. Great characterisation, character design and 3D world design. The artists make imaginative use of their medium to bring their ancient Viking world to vivid life.

Some favourite scenes:
Near the beginning where we join Beowulf and his thanes as they ride a North Sea storm on their Viking longboat.
Near the end there is a magic moment where there is a performance in honour of Beowulf and for a few seconds the bard slips into the anglo-saxon language of the original epic.

Recommendation: If you have any interest in CGI 3D art then don't burden yourself with ice-creams etc cos you don't want any distraction from the amazing immersive experience of the opening scenes.

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