by Tony Medley
I was going to say that you
couldnít pay me to see an animated film. But, upon reflection, thatís
exactly what they do; pay me to see animated films. I donít generally
go, but when I do go, I get paid. And Iím going to get paid for seeing
Beowulf. Unfortunately, what I will be paid is grossly
insufficient recompense for having to sit through it without bolting,
which would have been understandable if only to preserve my sanity. What
would make it worthwhile? Think Alex Rodriquez numbers.
This is yet another in the
saga of films that arenít really cartoons, but arenít really real
people, either. ďMotion-Capture AnimationĒ was first seen in a full
length film in Polar Express (2004). Yeah, it looks like Angelina
Jolie up there as the monster Grendelís mother, but it really isnít. And
she looks naked, but she really isnít.
The animation isnít used
just to camouflage Jolie, it makes Ray Winstone (Beowulf) look like he
just stepped out of Goldís Gym, so muscular is he. It also condemns
Robin Penn Wright (Wealthow, the wife of the King, Hrothgar, played by
Anthony Hopkins, and Beowulf) to look like little more than a plastic
doll. In fairness, the credits give all the actors ďvoiceĒ credits. So
most of what we see is apparently animation.
Just about everyone
struggled having to read the epic poem sometime in their educational
careers, but probably nobody knows the story. According to this version
Beowulf kills Grendel, shacks up with Jolie, takes over Hrothgarís
kingdom and then has to face an even worse monster, who happens to be
his son, although thatís not presented in any kind of a heart-tugging
There were titters in my
audience at the amateurish manner in which the camera avoided showing
male frontal nudity when Beowulf decides to fight Grendel naked. Thereís
always something conveniently hiding his groin.
Sitting through this thing
for 93 minutes raised a question in my mind, however. What is Anthony
Hopkins doing in something as bad as this? Does he really need the
payday that badly? For that matter, what are Jolie and John Malkovich
doing here? With credits like this, who needs Reefer Madness?
I thought the animation of
human beings deplorable. So long as you have the actors, why not have
them act in the film? As an added, additional gimmick, the film is in
3-D. I saw it at an IMAXģ screening. Making it bigger and with the 3-D
gimmick just made it a bigger disappointment. To add icing to the cake,
the glasses one has to wear to see the 3-D effects were less than
pleasant to wear. My friend took them off halfway through, which causes
the image to be blurry. I should have tried that. Maybe it was better
blurry, although my friend said not. It certainly couldnít have been
worse. If theyíre going to continue to make 3-D movies, they are going
to have to make glasses that are not so uncomfortable.
November 14, 2007