Thursday, November 15, 2007

Of Hero and Liar

Look at the movie pass above. Apart from Kee Lin is too broke to pay for movie that is why he only watches free movie nowaday, what else can you tell?
Is anyone aware that the entire movie is rendered in CG? Looking at the promotional image, I never suspect a thing. Something doesn't quite looked right but I never once suspect the movie isn't a live motion picture.
I was told that Beowulf is a Scandinavian mythology but really, all those praises to Odin is already a dead giveaway. The movie begins with celebration of victory in war and of the new hall built. This celebration is cut short when a monster, a giant in the form of a very deformed human attack and killed most of the men there. When King Hrothgar challenged the monster however, it chose to flee. Out of sorrow, the new great hall is sealed and the King offered as reward to anyone who can kill this monster Grendel, half of all the golds he owns. Beowulf arrived and slayed Grendel, not realising that its mother is an even greater terror.
The story and script is acceptable but after the first confrontation between Beowulf and Grendel's mother, it kind of lost its direction. Much is not explained in the movie with the biggest question of all, why did Grendel's mother did what she did? She did not kill the killer of her child but instead bear another with him and gave him glory as king and warrior, undefeatable as long as she deems fit.
Isn't she trying to avenge Grendel's end?
I have no problem with how the story ends however. It was actually quite apt. How else can it ends? That's the way folklore goes.
Though not exceptional, the script is provoking enough. Fans of Neil Gaiman will still be disappointed as it somehow lacked the depth that he well known for. Still, the speech he gave to a defeated invader on why he cannot be killed is pretty powerful. It was also interesting how he tried evading Hrothgar's direct question on whether he kill Grendel's mother. I also happen to recall a scene when he explained how he lost a swimming marathon because he got caught up in a battle with a sea monster when in fact he was seduced by a mermaid.
Damned Beowulf is horny and a liar!
Since most of us were fooled by the poster of the movie, it goes without saying that the graphic was what really stood out in the movie. Due to its realistic factor, it will bound to draw comparison to Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within. The difference though, is that the color in FF:TSW is more highly saturated and the characters have more beautiful hair. I recalled right away that in the movie Virtuocity, Denzel Washington had his entire head scanned so the special effect team may render him likeliness and filmed all his stunt digitally, which is what is being done to the entire film here. To compress the size of the file however, they scraped off some unnecessay details.
Herein lies the problem with CGI. Making everything in full detail takes too much time and space so the programmers tend to cut corners somewhere, ie the supporting characters and the extras. Most of the men in the movie are probably fully rendered digitally and thus, lack the realism compared to the main characters. Even the stars were rendered in different level of details with Angelina Jolie's character as Grendel's mother the strongest while John Malkovich's Unferth the weakest. Unferth was almost unable to make any expression whatsoever. And with the raw data of the highly detailed rendition of Jolie, the programmers are now free to render her anyway they want. Tsk.. it wasn't so difficult to understand how they list their priority after all.
But why make it a CG? Why can't they just film it? With a script like that, the film would be made better when we can see some real acting. Not Oscar worthy definitely but live would still be better.
In the end, this is a movie that leave much to the viewers' own imagination. Though it has good monster fight scene supported with a decent script, it doesn't really has the substance or depth. Falling short from being an epic, most viewers were probably more interested in seeing Angelina Jolie.

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