I was able to watch the CG-fantasy flick Beowulf a couple of days ago, and I must say I'm glad I caught it in a theater. This sort of spectacle needs to be seen on as big a screen as possible. What can I say? I was certainly amazed and enthralled at the visual artistry of the film, much more so than Robert Zemeckis' previous CG cartoon effort, The Polar Express. The characters onscreen still, slightly have that 'uncanny valley' sort of thing; you KNOW they're not real, but after a while it doesn't matter. After a while, you're just watching performers onscreen, not thinking all the time they're just pixels made to look like Anthony Hopkins or John Malkovich. Strangely enough, the one actor who doesn't look the same onscreen and offscreen is Ray Winstone, who plays the titular hero. Apparently he was cast for his voice and his age, perhaps, since a great part of the story happens in the warrior's more senior years.
But as fabulous as most of the CG graphics are, I have to say there are things that still aren't gotten quite right; mainly WOMEN. Barring Angelina Jolie's succubus-like Demon Mother, the other female characters tend to all look like Glenn Close at the start. I can't figure it out. There's still something about the female form that the CG artists behind this flick just haven't gotten yet. Oh well.
All that aside, I have to say that this was a pretty slick fantasy epic, well worth watching and seeing. The best thing about it for me is how solid everything felt, like the world it was set in, the texture of stuff from wooden walls and gold-painted skin to the disgusting pus-laden flesh of Grendel's scummy skin. Also incredible, the way the camera moves everywhere, like it was attached to a fly, following everything from the path of a gold coin thrown from a king's hand to the bloody swath Beowulf's sword cuts through the gullet of a monstrous sea monster. ASTOUNDING.
I'll be picking up the DVD I guess, since this does seem to be a keeper.