When it comes to movies I’m a huge fan of fantasy and mythology.

When it comes to myths you can’t get any more classic than the epic poem, Beowulf.

When I found out that Beowulf was going to come to the Imax, in ‘proper’ 3d (glasses and all), I knew I had to go and see it.

Beowulf - Ray Winstone

Beowulf - Ray Winstone

Directed by Robert Zemeckis (Polar Express, and Back to the Future) and starring a proper Londoner – Ray Winstone – along with a bunch of other well known actors, Beowulf is a big budget movie using some pretty unique technology.

Like it’s technological predecessor, Polar Express, Beowulf is a 3d animated movie (think Toy Story… then turn up the realism) and uses full body motion capture for 90% of the animation. They used the actors who voiced the characters to perform the physical roles, giving an extra edge to the realism and coherence between the movements and the words they are saying.

Since the actors are not displayed with their real life bodies their digital counterparts have been tweaked for the benefit of the story – I’m sure Ray Winstone was happy with the look of Beowulf – Anthony Hopkins, and Crispin Glover were possibly less flattered about the way their character were portrayed.

Beowulf - Angelina Jolie

Beowulf - Angelina Jolie

I should point out that I’ve never read the original poem, so don’t know what the differences between the movie and the poem are. However the film story for Beowulf is perfect for this type of technology, in particular the 3d (glasses) aspects. There are a number of points where objects and characters really jump out of the screen at you. The 3d works incredibly well and, in the action scenes in particular, adds an extra dimension (ha ha ha) to proceedings – it’s impressive stuff.

The actual narrative is really good as well. Neil Gaiman (Stardust) had a hand in the story working on the screen play for the film. It all moves along at a pretty swift pace, ignoring long sections of dialogue, instead focusing on the action and the story progression.

I realise that the film is (loosely) based on a classic myth but I really liked the fact that the story strays from the normal action movie formula. It’s all about self sacrifice, and focuses on the frailties of the human nature – something you tend not to get in a Hollywood action flick.

The animation (motion capture) was amazing but there were a few parts that suffered from the dead eye syndrome, the fact that the characters looked a little like mannequins. The most realistic characters were the older ones, the younger people having skin that was too smooth and shiny.

Beowulf - Grendel played by Crispin Glover

Beowulf - Grendel played by Crispin Glover

The film was also more graphic & violent than I had expected it to be – especially considering the rating. This may have been enhanced by the 3d’ness pushing the action in my face.

The problem is that whilst I really enjoyed myself I suspect part of the enjoyment comes from the fact that I was watching it on the biggest screen in the country… in 3d. I wonder what the film would have been like had I seen it in a normal cinema. Being a big fan of fantasy I think I would have liked it but possibly not quite as much as I do now.

If you can see it at an Imax then I would say go for it, irrespective of your film preferences. If it’s at a normal cinema, then you should see it if you’re a big fan of the epic fantasy movies.

Beowulf Wallpapers

Beowulf Wallpaper
Beowulf Wallpaper
Beowulf Wallpaper
Beowulf Wallpaper
Beowulf Wallpaper

Was it good/ useful/ a load of old rubbish? Let me know on Mastodon, or BlueSky (or Twitter X if you must).

Link to this page

Thanks for reading. I'd really appreciate it if you'd link to this page if you mention it in your newsletter or on your blog.

Related Posts

03 Jan 2008

The Golden Compass

I went to see The Golden Compass last week – the film of the book with the same name (although sometimes called Northern Lights). I mentioned the trailer before, and though tit looked great, but wasn’t sure what to expect...
25 Feb 2010

February Film Reviews

Kung Fu PandaI found Kung Fu Panda in the bargain bin at the local supermarket – and since I am a huge fan of both 3D animation, and martial arts, I had to give it a go.And, surprisingly, I wasn’t...
28 Dec 2005

Movie Roundup December 05

A great Christmas and a bunch of new films watched. Time for the second of my monthly Movie Roundups 🙂Ghost Dog – Way of the SamuraiA wonderful film with Forest Whitaker as Ghost Dog, a hitman who follows the teachings...
29 Mar 2010

Toy Story 1, 2 and 3

I’ll be honest – I’m posting this because I was sent free copies of the recently re-released Toy Story 1 and 2 movies (Blu-Ray and DVD of both films). I was very close to turning it down – I don’t...
07 Jun 2006

Movie Roundup – May 06

Star Wars – Clone Wars – Series 2Not the movie but the cartoon series. Saw the first series a while ago and, whilst I thought it was ok, wasn’t overly impressed. The main problem was a lack of narrative –...
30 Jan 2006

Movie Roundup – January 06

The TerminalI wasn’t expecting much from this, but simply because of Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg figured it was worth a try. The film itself was a quite nice enjoyable simple little movie. Apparently the film was inspired by Merhan...