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10 December 2008 @ 09:06 am
Beowulf (definite spoilers)  
Watched that animated Beowulf last night. It was written by former rock star of the comic book world Neil Gaiman, who seems to have about a dozen projects going on in Hollywood right now, and screenwriter Roger Avery, whose post Pulp Fiction career has pretty much been the definition of "slump" (although Rules of Attraction was fun). I admire a lot of how they manipulated the story of the epic poem: humanizing the characters (even the monsters), linking the monsters to King Hrothgar and Beowulf (especially the problematic third monster, which felt like an unnecessary sequel in the poem), and generally blurring the lines about who the bad guys really are. I'm a little skeptical of their intentions with the naked seductress treatment of Grendel's mother, but can't complain too much since that was pretty much the lynchpin for their whole handling of the story.

As with most projects he's in, Crispin Glover was the best part. His mastery at making his own personal creepiness hugely sympathetic is just about the only acting that crawls its way past the shiny CGI of the film. It's too bad we didn't get to spend more time with him outside the mead hall. They could have easily stolen a little material from John Gardner's novel about Grendel.

What I really didn't like was just the video game-looking, motion capture animation. I'm still not crazy about this no-man's land between hand-drawn animation and live action, and at my age that's not likely to change. (I do like stuff like Bug's Life and The Incredibles though, because they're reminiscent of the old Rankin-Bass holiday specials.) I probably would preferred the more atmospheric, low budget, live action version the writers originally had in mind before Robert Zemeckis came along with all his money and computers.

Listening to: The Zombies - "She's Not There"
theballadofyoko on December 10th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
I just finished reading the Heaney translation. I just cannot imagine Ms. Jolie as being Grendel's mother, I'm sorry.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: Parisian Primateassmonkeydiary on December 10th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
Add this to your horror: her bare feet have stilletto heels.
theballadofyoko on December 10th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
ew ew ew!
Professor Mortisprofessormortis on December 10th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
I've not read any of the poem since high school, but I more or less echo your comments about the technique use and the general quality of the endeavor.

Also, I enjoy today's picture, from the day's when we still hadn't closed the Porn Gap with the French!
Diary of an Ass Monkeyassmonkeydiary on December 10th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
Dude, I used to buy all my clothes at The Porn Gap!
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Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: icegrafassmonkeydiary on December 10th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'll check out just about anything with Stellan Skarsgård in it.
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Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: ape in icelandassmonkeydiary on December 11th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I love me some Iceland, so that one's sounding better and better.
orcaarroworcaarrow on December 10th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
I really liked the film. I thought the animation was good. Then again I liked the Polar Express too.
Pallaspallasathene8 on December 10th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
Now that is a cute wayback wednesday.

As for Beowulf, I disliked it less than I expected I would after the 2005 live action one which I really disliked. I was never a huge fan of Beowulf to begin with, and taking away from the heroic aspect of it and replacing it with the idea that the Danes are actually assholes who got what was coming to them made it even harder for me to enjoy. Hrothgar gets baptised in the 2005 one. It was kind of interesting the way they incorporated elements to explain how Christian references got stuck into the poem, but still...I felt sorry for poor heathen Hrothgar. And...well, I won't say anything else to spoil it if you haven't seen that one yet. But, yeah, this one, never have I enjoyed Angelina Jolie less.
Kegboy: NsfuWkegboy on December 11th, 2008 12:56 am (UTC)
Love the pic.

I've seen better animation in WOTLK cinematics.