"Beowulf" seems to have been the movie to take nearly everyone by surprise the weekend before Thanksgiving weekend, gobbling up attention from all ages wishing to see this classic tale come to life on the big screen. It was specially filmed in 3-D, although there are 2-D theaters showing the film as well.
The CGI film brought in a sweeping 27.5 million dollars and left most viewers satisfied with an overall very well-adapted movie of a fable told for hundreds of generations.
Despite my deep interest in the epic movies based on classic books, "Beowulf" somehow slipped under my radar until several months ago while sipping lemon water in some fancy cafe in Hollywood-- not a regular activity. My interest went as far as me making plans to watch the movie within the first several weeks, as I was a bit weary of the CGI effects. Even after my friend told me that it had Angelina Jolie, undressed, I refused to initially give it the same attention.
Fortunately, I am not always in charge of how I spend my weekends and got to go on a much needed date with the girlfriend to watch the film. Little did I know what a wonderful piece of art this would turn out to be, but what a dreary piece of writing I would have to endure to see "the pretty".
Despite the story elements, I sometimes found myself embarrassed for being so attracted to a computer generated version of a person. But hey! I think most of us would agree that, even if you don't see the movie or saw it and hated it, it's got some attractive players. The gay in me kept waiting for the naked woman, but the geek in me kept waiting for the dragon. I found myself wandering, waiting for the magnificent appearance of perhaps one of the best CGI dragons to date. Oh the gold and glitter and the FIRE!
What? I like dragons.
Oh, and for those of you who are interested, who are probably 90% of the readers here... There are tight abs and naked fighting with strategically placed items to hide Beowulf's "you-know-what." It was funny in "Austin Powers." It was terribly distracting in this movie to the point where I almost would rather they have filmed a closer shot then had arms and vases and tables all in the way of a potentially beautiful picture. Hell, even the Simpsons did a better job at their penis-hiding scene. And for some reason, during the naked fight between Beowulf and Grendel, my mind kept wandering back to the old Odyssey movies with the horrific monster effects. At that point I became appreciative of the lengths in which our technology has advanced.
At first, I found the actual CGI to be distracting from the movie, although admittedly, it grew on me. It felt like it either should have been just a bit more "real" or a bit more "fake," but instead, it was "mostly real with fake looking eyes." Despite that, the artistic strokes of the binary digits came through, and I grew to love the CGI characters.
Plot-wise, there seemed to only be five characters who mattered to the story, and the rest could have all been killed off or just never on the screen to begin with, and it would have been all right with me. The queen and the bed-maiden had little to no emotional impact on me... Not even when they were faced with certain doom. The king's advisor or whoever that kinslayer was did even less for me. Emotionally, the only characters I truly seemed to connect with were Beowulf himself and Grendel, the latter being the most empathic connection for me. I sat there, still and quiet, as I watched him being laid to rest. All he wanted was peace, and I felt that there could have been a better ending for him had his father not been such a selfish jackass... But such is the story of "Beowulf." I think a large part of why I was able to connect with these characters was the fantastic score. There was never a point where I felt the music or "merry-making" was out of place. I felt the score was one of the better parts of the movie despite the seemingly superflous characters.
Overall, I was divided on this movie. Artistically, the CGI and the score were one of the most beautiful pieces of work, but the screenplay left me wondering what happened with the story-telling. I would have liked to been able to connect more with the other characters and had specific story elements explained in greater detail (or any detail at all). Perhaps, like the CGI grew on me, another viewing or two will complete the growing process and I can be happy with the movie entirely.
What did you all think?