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Friday, May 16, 2008


Not My Curse Anymore

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Beowulf is the earliest European manuscript we are currently aware of, an Epic poem composed of more than 3000 lines, transcribed though by an unknown author-or probably authors, as the patterns of the letters do seem to originate from two different scribes. Who exactly Beowulf, primal protagonist of the Epic might be, one might ask. Let us answer this question which is not too circumstantial to solve safely and properly, as, quite simply put:

Beowulf Is The MAN!

Relentless facer of gravest dangers most do not even dare to think of, proud victor of monstrocities most do not even dare to describe, and to top all of that: Beowulf, as we will see, also is a legend with a robust moral dilemma which the protagonist won't likely to solve only with muscles, weapons and oneliners. Though all these shall, and - !SPOILER! - WILL be utilized. The truly nice narrative which sings, keeps and praises grandiose myths of ancient times is extremely well suited for contemporary adaptations, especially since scholars state that the poem itself might very well be a record of oral traditions, let us even say: tales. Suspicion hastily arouses that tales are heavily reliant on entertainment, thus the Beowulf Epic may have been the framework of effective plays, performed by Bards whenever an audience was eager and persistent to be entertained via multiple sittings - blatant beer brawls in between sets are optional, yet heavily recommended. The Beowulf Epic was MADE to entertain, and it is so Epic indeed that it is essentially BEGS to be told.

A recognition which reached quite the proper persons Before The Ragnarök Had Cometh!, say that I, herein. Smart, dexterous creator of myriad elegant installments aimed at senselessly radical degrees and forms of popcorn molestation Robert Zemeckis joins up with a high-end CG production assault team financed by Sony to give you this here Anglo-Saxon classic via an animated presentation.

Screenplay writers Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary do deliver a clever selection of the original text, utilizing chosen sequences to construct a fluent foam of narrative which remains heavily reliant on the originator, yet unravels as a smartly researched variant tailored for the big screen. Synopsis: Court and Kingdom - let alone the beerhouse! - of Danish King Hrotgar is under constant terror by a monstrous malediction who lives and hunts in the vicinity, oftentimes exhibiting his physical superiority whenever he finds humans too loud or too disturbing. Or both, which is the intact pawn of a promise that hostile actions are about to be administered to fry some casual mortal butts. This troll goes by the name of Grendel, and he is bad, bad news. After a particularly eventful night characterized by the monstrous creature's somewhat evident presence and - initially - protesting viking limbs deciding - eventually - to walk their separate, autonomous ways: the King sinks into despair. On the Seas comes a hero though, and by the name of Beowulf, a hero comes on the Seas, indeed.

The legendary Geat and his fellow warriors are proposing to banish the demon from Hrotgar's land in exchange for some quality beer, a Golden Artifact of Special Significance, and some more of quality beer. Deal is done, Beowulf is about to face Grendel as an equal rival to him, meaning he is not about to wear armor or wield weapons to confront the malediction. This nice, elegantly simple and simply elegant base assumption is your core structure to sew a truly robust Epic on, a story to offer both a brand new protagonist and a terrible secret that is about to infect these Lands once more, as surely, it already have succeeded on an occasion and now grows more rampant and more determined to unleash terror.

From now on I will assume you did not yet have seen the movie thus I stay away from actual narrative points and attempt to give a hintfoam about the neat traits that you are about to experience.

The Beowulf Epic and thus this faithful adaptation creates terror via corrupting it's focal characters, thus fear is not but an outer sensation which haunts and poisons, rather it is created by the incapacity of the protagonists to act according to everyday common sense - yes, a precious commodity in the world of dragons and trolls - which though is deeply, utterly mocked around by a Forbidden Beauty no Viking Warrior can resist against. No, not even Beowulf, it might be so. The Champion of Champions, Destroyer of Maledictions is consumed by the mere admiration of the staggering beauty he beholds and helpless to resist. Some maledictions won't ever use weapons against their prey, they instead consume them by drowning those calculable spirits unto their very own inventions and emotions, those silly, casual mortal vibes that can be provoked and invoked so fluently once the mask of mere beauty is at the disposal of the Malediction. The Muhahaha! part is especially strong and legit in Beowulf, too.

- OK, you have some skills. My turn.

This here Epic will deliver you such a Demon, and that particular creature has definite access to the tool of beauty, a tool she is even a masterful handler of. The climax of the movie witnesses a Beowulf who is absolutely and necessarily aware of the inner corruption he was subjected to and could not laugh out loudly at, while question arises if this act of him have left more imminent treats to deal with than the possession of a constantly tainted, passive self. And believe you me: the past has left such a thing. And that thing is not about to sit around for long.

The output's realization factor is as high-end as we have ever seen to date. Characters are modeled after real life actors, a cast palette you will find quite a few heavyweights in - yet I think there is no need to pinpoint any of them, as recognizing the originators is great optional fun on it's own merits. Especially Grendel. Hm, who could have been Grendel? Hmmm. Matthew Fox?? Naaah, Matthew couldn't ever touch this. EVVVER! Hell, Matthew would masterfully spoil the output even if his role were nothing more than being cut down in the background shouting: "EEK!!" without even being actually SHOWN. Matthew Fox, what a wonderfully terrible actor!

- He Had Faceth The Matthew Fox, and Hath RETURNED!

Apart from the story which, thanks to it's ancient written original reigns as unavoidably yet welcomely strong and fluent, dialogs and dramaturgical choices are certainly worth accounting on, as well. Spoken lines, voice registers, facial expressions all do deliver truly pleasant surprises via exquisite channels of pure originality and massively stable conceptualization/revelation of each character, there are literally dozens and dozens of little vibes you can't help but laugh out loud honestly at, and this is not something we can tell everyday, not with the calculated, usual CG punchlines that are safe, suitable, and, most importantly: great ho! ho! ho!-s for All Generations. Just to mention one of these: Wiglaf and Beowulf at the Entrance of a Highly Illegal and Sinister Looking Cave, Second Occasion. Hilarious, brilliant dialog work there, in my opinion.

This here movie Beowulf threads on the realistic CG approach, and does that with weighty, armored boots on, never coming short of convince power and the ability to constantly, flamboyantly surprise and thus entertain it's intaker. Truly not much to elaborate on except maybe my personal notion that this was the best, even bestest - thank you, thank you - realistic CG effort I have seen to date. A related tip yet: in case you have the chance to witness the movie on a device with image sharpening capabilities, I'd say go for it, definitely. A little bit of sharpening filter emphasizes the tremendous detail work that is everywhere to be found, revealing them even more profoundly. Truly a feast for the eyes. To wrap this up I can't help but refrain a memorable sentence of Beowulf which he speaks after showing mercy for one of his rivals, dismissing the defeated warrior after an insightful dialog, concluding the idea-exchange by this here words: "He has a story to tell!"

Quite similarly, all should see this output, - that includes You, Dearest Visitor - as this here output has a definite story to tell.

Naaah, I don't do that every day.

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