I went to see Beowulf in IMAX 3D recently and all I can say is holy moly! Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen the future of motion-picture entertainment… 3D motion capture!
I’m not talking about those paper 3-D glasses with the blue-and-red lenses from yester-year here folks no sir-e-bob you're given (for keeps!) a pair of lightweight plastic glasses, and the best part is-they won't give you a killer headache.
This 3D experience is something I'll remember for a very long time; we’re talking "yikes, it's coming right at me!" kinda stuff.
Visually, Beowulf is one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in quite awhile. So put on those goofy plastic glasses and ride, baby, ride! The 3-D really adds something to the experience, even though I should say that I haven't seen the 2-D version of the film but I can't imagine it having the same appeal at all.
Whatever you do, make that extra effort and find an IMAX theater and see the flick in 3D. You won't be sorry trust me.
First things first: This is not the 8th century epic poem you read in high school and that's actually a good thing for moviegoers. Wait, what did you say? You want that Beowulf? Well, get the book, I'm not stopping you. But if you want a bloody action adventure with a side of popcorn, see the movie.
Y’know I was made to read Beowulf in high school and I gotta admit I didn’t enjoy it. Maybe it was the whole forced required reading school thing. I don’t know. What I do know is that I should have enjoyed it. It's an epic poem with a man fighting monsters with quite the bit of blood and guts. I was amazed when I first saw the trailers. I was suddenly excited to see some monsters get killed by Beowulf. And I wasn't let down it was a great animated action movie.
Based on the epic novel, Beowulf tells the story of a kingdom in Denmark that has been terrorized by a demon named Grendel.
After Grendel kills a bunch of townsfolk during a celebration, the king offers half his gold to anyone who can rid the land of him. Enter Viking Hero Beowulf!
“I am Beowulf,” he says, “and I’m here to kill your monster.”
Hey your majesty: the monster guy is here!
The legendary hero Beowulf braves the ocean to come home and cash in on the reward. Beowulf manages to battle and kill Grendel (in his birthday suit, no less, to even out the odds), and soon Grendel’s mother seeks revenge. Poor Grendel! I was surprised at how pathetic and sad a monster he was. I really did feel bad for the poor wretched creature in the end.
Anyhoo, Beowulf goes to confront and destroy her but when he reaches her lair, she takes on the form of a beautiful, sexy naked Angelina Jolie, who seduces him and makes a deal that allows her to live and give birth to a new son.
The relationships between the characters are pretty shallow but I can’t exactly criticize the story now can I? Mainly because it has stood the test of time – some 1300 years of so! However, I will say that I would have liked a little more from the story and characters.
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Made with motion-capture technology where actors work on a empty soundstage, and their bodies are digitally painted over, which means that the characters in the movie should look almost human.
It’s basically rotoscope’s flashy cousin. Call it the future of movies or call it a gimmick, it's definitely fun and definitely worth experiencing.
It’s somewhat similar to the stuff director Robert Zemeckis used in "The Polar Express," but not! "Beowulf" is the polar opposite of that. The human faces, especially the eyes in “Beowulf” look somewhat less dead and creepy than they did in “The Polar Express,
The animation was top-notch. Everything flowed together really well, and at times I forgot this wasn’t a live-action film. In the scenes with Angelina Jolie, for example, she looks real in the close-up shots and I had to remember this was animated.
The best scene by far and one you have all probably heard about by now is the naked fighting match with the slimy, screaming monster, Grendel. In order to keep its PG-13 rating intact the film hides the hero's private parts with anything at hand, from a sword to a helmet to a ceiling beam. A very big ceiling beam!
Now let's talk about Angelina Jolie shall we. Yes, she plays Grendel's Mother – the mother of all monsters!
Now I know Angelina Jolie’s grand entrance in the movie is one you have probably all heard about. It happens somewhere between the part where the good guy kills the monster and the part where he fights a dragon.
Coming from the dark waters, Grendel’s mom looks more like a gorgeous gold Emmy statue, in all her sexy glory, with a wicked serpent's tail and stiletto heels built into her feet. (Grendel must have gotten his looks from his father) Instead of Beowulf’s blood, all she wants in return for her son’s death is for him to give her a child (did you hear that, Brad Pitt?).
Beowulf is mesmerized and seduced by her hotness, basically setting himself up for a lifetime of heartache and lies. For the record, I think people are over-hyping the full-frontal nudity just a bit. Her “nakedness” is about as anatomically correct as a Barbie doll. And no, Grendel's mother looked nothing like Angelina Jolie in the classic – in fact she was a monstrous old hag from the swamp.
All in all, this was an enjoyable, funny, exciting, sassy ride. Not bad for a 1300 year old crusty text!
Don’t get me wrong I’m not for a minute suggesting that all movies should or could be made this way, but for this genre, it captures it perfectly.
Oh, and the dragon fight scene? It's fabulous.