BEOWULF
DIRECTOR: Robert Zemekis
COUNTRY: USA
CAST: Robin Penn Wright, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovitch, Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie and a large cast.
MUSIC:
CINEMATOGRAPHY:
ONE WORD: The effects are neat, even if wasted.

There are some books, that are known to have made an impression in the world literary .. library ... let's call it ... not sure that we want to call it "history" although it is and was, what it is. Where it fits .. well, that's another story and probably a Robert Zemeckis film! Too bad that it is not a Forrest Gump.

"Beowulf" fits into a dark period of literature and probably only survived the "Dark Ages" because the northern European areas were too cold for any Pope’s law to get there. It did not get destroyed, and it may have survived in many different versions and what many in the literary world today describe as the oral tradition of the times ... which is to say ... the way to keep a story/idea/theme alive and away from destruction from any religious authorities. This might have made a much more interesting film btw ... and given it some purpose.

Like many of the Greek works that preceded it over a 1000 years earlier, in many ways it was a story about a hero ... with one very edgy bit ... the writer deliberately made fun and jokes about the hero, something that the Greeks have not exactly shown ... probably there but those academic translations! make it all seem so much more important than they really are, and often more meaningful than they were meant to be all along. Well, it did that for half the book. And theory has that a second writer took over it.

Like the original story, the film is not capable of making a decision that is vital ... they can exploit the sexy part of it all, since it has enough suggestive material in it ... or they can try to make a story around the hero.

You want my personal opinion?

The decision was made to exploit the fact that Angelina Jolie was in the movie and put together the only thing that was really well done and was attractive. It is likely that by the time they got to the cutting room they did not have much other than what she did .. there is no doubt that she made her part as seductive and attractive as it could be ... but sadly this is so far removed from the rest of the film ... and so vastly different in shooting style and substance ... that one of two things happened ... the film was torn to shreds and makes no sense as it is ... or it simply was ... not well defined/designed ... as to how it was going to deal with its story and contents. Again, this may have been decided later in the cutting room, which is sad. It should have been decided ahead of time so they could follow an idea better, and Angelina Jolie might not have been exploited as much.

The film does undertake the use of the graphical environment and its effects to create something that would have done Harry Stockhausen really proud ... it is really smooth and well done and this is a credit to the Director Robert Zemeckis, unfortunately, like most comic book stories and capers ... it is "incomplete" and sometimes ... empty ... and in this case incapable of making this film more valuable to today's more discerning audiences, not to mention even have any kind of literary sense so a different audience can also appreciate it ... instead, it becomes yet another example of how/why an academic world doesn't like Hollywood.

What's left? Go see a few minutes of Angelina Jolie's body? You're kidding me, right? Is that all? It doesn't excuse a movie!

I would imagine that if one were to tackle this story, one could stay with the bawdy/superstitious/drunken bar-room atmosphere of it and it's adventures and fears and what not. Or one could try to make a meaningful story with a little Christian content and theme to show that some good came out of it, even if it was not correct or it was fake (which the book itself does and the movie tries to as a joke!). Maybe this was meant to be a modern attempt at a high school version of the story that could get kids to go back and read a little more to see where our history came from and went through ... nahhhh ... that's no fun and certainly not Hollywood!

The film is fun to watch though. Even if the graphics are better than the rest, the blend is really nice and enjoyable, but I guess I would prefer a Forrest Gump to a Beowulf at Robert Zemeckis’ hands!

There is some nice cinematography, but it all appears to be touched up by the graphical work, even when it is not necessary.

2 GIBLOONS

 

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