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BEOWULF

I barely remember reading Beowulf in school, but Iím pretty sure I did.
That said, I didnít remember the story at all.
I then read, or at least read about, different versions of said story in comic book form.
Then I saw on DVD a recent version of said story, Beowulf & Grendel, starring Gerard Butler, in which Grendel is very humanoid looking. Maybe like a Neanderthal. Pretty cool flick.

Now comes Robert Zemekisí motion capture Beowulf with Ray Winstone voicing the hero, Crispin Glover voicing the really, really tormented Grendel, and Angelina Jolie voicing Grendelís mother.

Visually, this movie was like Zemekisí POLAR EXPRESS. Apparently not much has been advanced in technology, especially with the ďdead eyesĒ. Thatís not to say that at times the art in Beowulf isnít stunning; It is. But at times, not so much. As a matter of fact, Angelina Jolieís look was too cartoony, which is a shame, since she was basically nude the whole time. Some of the group shots of the soldiers and villagers however were practically photographs. They looked that realistic.
Oh, and I saw it in 3D.
But I donít know why.
Seriously, I can imagine that seeing it in IMAX 3D would make a difference, but on the regular size screen, it seemed unnecessary. Oh well.

The vocal performances were hit and miss in Beowulf.
Ray Winstone, who was so imposing as Mr French in THE DEPARTED does a pretty good job as the title character. Heís tough and kind of arrogant, but does have a soul, no matter how troubled. Anthony Hopkins didnít work for me. Cartoony and over the top. Sorry. Crispin Gloverís emotional performance was intense, but way out there, and Angelina Jolieís accent was a bit weird, but overall she did OK.

Itís weird, because all told, Beowulf is a case of the sum being less than what the parts should equal. A fine cast, and two very talented writers on the screenplay, Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, as well as director Robert Zemekis, of course, should have led to an incredible film.
Sadly, I wasnít all that impressed.

B

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