Sunday, 18 July 2010


Beowulf is a great example of the best science term ever. “The Uncanny valley” which refers to the unease and disquiet that is felt when we encounter “almost” real facsimiles of life (think of the creepiness of waxworks and you are there). Beowulf is gloriously rendered in CGI and for the main actually avoids the uncanny valley. There is always an underlying feeling that something is wrong and every now and again you just feel a little creeped out.vlcsnap-2010-07-16-20h10m40s72

Contrary to popular views of Beowulf however I am going to defend it. I think it is a damn good film. Robert Zemekis runs with the medium using motion capture and CGI to create a flawless image of Beowulfs world. For me this is the strength of going totally CGI, at no point is the illusion shattered as it is ALL an illusion.vlcsnap-2010-07-16-20h18m39s253

The pitiful and horrific portrayal of Grendal is fantastic as is the gorgeous vision of his mother (although the high heels are a step too far!) and the subtleties of the story are brilliant. I am sure that if Beowulf had become a greater success we would have had some more insight into why the Dragons tail is identical to the sea monsters or some more information on the brilliant use of Old English as the language of the demons.

Beowulf is gloriously shot and suffers at the main from the concept that it is a kids film. If the mainstream Adult audience were prepared to accept CGI as a movie production tool then this film would have been the epic success it deserved to be. vlcsnap-2010-07-16-21h10m53s105

As a final note it has been commented that this story is quite altered from the epic poem. While I hate to see an original text destroyed in adaptation Beowulf is a pretty tricky text in the first place. As with War of the Worlds, its surely better to have a nod then nothing at all. (When WILL we see a faithful adaptation of that wonderful Wells story?)

Take look a Beowulf with an open mind. It is great fun.vlcsnap-2010-07-16-21h52m58s3

Paul out… and lusting after a CGI serving maid!

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