Beowulf (the movie)

Anyone know any details about the movie Beowulf coming out soon?

I just read the poem (translated, not in Old English, alas!) and was pleased to see God mentioned there, as several times Beowulf gave God thanks for helping him.

I hope they kept that in the movie, but that’s probably too much to ask. Has anyone seen sneak previews, or heard anything about the script, that can tell me whether to get my hopes up?

I’m also in the process of listening to Le Morte d’Arthur (some 35 hours!), and am enjoying the occasional acknowledment of morning mass and Office of the Hours in it.

In the previews I’ve seen it seems the familiar hollywood approach - lots of gore and nudity/near-nudity in order to draw the crowd to the point that the story is practically lost.

Great story - as is the story of Thermopolae (300) or the Illiad (Troy) but hollywood does not have a great history of portraying them in a way that lets their greatness come out very clearly. They seem to have lost the art of drama and replaced it with visual effects alone.

It looked like a movie which was long on special effects and fantasy, without a lot of substance or fidelity to the story. It’s probably a bad sign when there’s already a computer game tie-in…

That said, I’m willing to have an open mind on it…couldn’t be any worse than The Golden Compass.

As for Le Morte d’Arthur, read it myself a couple of times, usually around Christmas. Best next to a roaring fire and a cup of wine in hand.

It’s directed by Robert Zemeckis, famous for the Back to the Future films.

I can hear it now… “Hello, McWulfy!!”

For those reading this post still in college or grad school, I give my highest recommendation to taking a course in Old English. The beauty of the language is on par with the great Latin writers, and the poetry – such as that exhibited in every line of Beowulf – is astonishing.

Yes, it’s too bad they didn’t film it in Old English.

But it was filmed in a non-conventional manner: the actors wore form fitting outfits with dots all over them, surrounded by cameras, so they could be digitally reconstructed and show in whatever type of shot the director wanted. No need for separate ‘takes.’

And it is in 3D. Actually there are two competitive versions of 3D projection being used in the theaters. The RealD system and the Dolby system.

From IMDB it sounds like it’s actually all CGI, and the motion capture was just to drive the CGI animation.

If only Mel Gibson (I almost said Mel Brooks! :blush: ) had done it, it would have been in Old English.

It will be interesting to compare this CGI with Final Fantasy: Spirits Within.

You’re right, it was done in CGI.

Maybe it will get young people interested in the epic. So even if it only sticks a little bit by the story, some good will come out of it. My husband was encouraging my two boys to read this on their own.

Spriiiingtime for Hrothgar and Heorot
The Scyldings are happy and gay…

I always used to get the two Mels confused too :slight_smile:

now the Mel Brooks version is something I would pay to see

I suppose that from now on, whenever Beowulf is the assigned reading in an English class, everyone is going to rent the movie.

I would too.:stuck_out_tongue:

Uggh, I hate motion capture. It’s such a lazy way to make an animated film. It’s basically digital rotoscoping (tracing over live action to get an “animated” effect i.e. the animated Lord of the Rings).

The film would look so much better if they used the motion capture for reference and had actually animators go and ANIMATE the characters.
That’s how they did Gollum in Peter Jackson’s LOTR and Kong in Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Yes, motion capture was used to create Gollum and Kong but animators actually went in and animated the characters using the motion capture as reference only… and not as a crutch.

Hence why Gollum and Kong don’t look like zombies with creepy looking dead eyes.

I love the comment at the end of Ratatouille:

“Our Quality Assurance Guarantee:
No motion capture or any other performance short cuts were used in the production of this film.”

I’m glad Pixar at least has some respect for real animation.


On the other hand, it does give the actors something to do. And the director liked having actors:

"You have this wide open canvas where the actor can bring whatever he or she wants to the character because you’re not under the same constraints that you’d have on a live-action film. The actors are liberated from the tyranny of a normal movie - it’s not about lighting, it’s not about setting up the camera, it’s not about the hair and make-up or costumes. It is absolute performance and great actors, like the ones in this movie, relish that."Source:

The performers, I was told, treated it much like a play. They ran through whole scenes without stopping, their movements and voices being recorded.

I went to see it yesterday.

As far as the animation goes, it was not as good as Final Fantasy, the spirits within. For one thing the hair did not move as it should have, and the textures on the bodies was a little off, During Final Fantasy, I forgot I was watching CGI, during Beowulf, I never did.

As far as the story I was disappointed as well. Too much changing to make it fit hollywood I guess. Overall I was very disappointed.

A lone Raven

Being a sci-fi and fantasy buff, one of those rare nerds who actually ENJOYED reading Beowulf in school, it’s sad to see here that the discussion has quickly moved off the storyline of the film (apparently there is none), and gone to special effects.

Maybe I’ll just go check out Beowulf from the library …

~~ the phoenix

Yes, the book is always better. I just wish I could read Old English.

I started as very displeased with the whole idea of the special effects in Beowulf. The trailer did not look very promising, and Ray Winstone screaming “I am Beowulf!” seemed way too cheesey. And I love the poem. But, you know what, I said, “Hey, can it be any worse than the non-animated Beowulf and Grendel that came out a few years ago? I doubt it.” So I bucked up, and went to see it. I was actually pleasantly surprised. Don’t go if you think the poem is sacrosanct and superior to imaginative adaptation. Don’t go if you want Christianity always to win over paganism in cinematic productions. Don’t go if you hate Angelina Jolie. But if you want to encounter a fairly plausible commentarial enlargement on the bare bear-wolf story, if you are curious about how the Christianity/pagan encounter in Northern Europe might have been interpreted in fictionalized form, if you’re willing to consider the many ways in which the sins of the fathers visit upon future generations, if you want to see how lust (for power and for soma) raises one up before total destruction; then see this movie.

I teach the poem, but I don’t know if I’ll see the film. I have a hard time thinking of Angelina Jolie as Grendel’s mother. I know she’s a bit odd, but a hideous monster?

A few of my friends felt they wasted their time and money seeing the movie.

To give it that “SPARTAAAAA” effect. :smiley:

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