*** Official BEOWULF Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "Beowulf". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.

    All HTF member film reviews of "Beowulf" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.

    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Gerald LaFrance

    Gerald LaFrance Supporting Actor

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    Hi, I saw BeoWulf in 3D Yesterday and I realy Enjoyed the 3D Version. I am a Big Fan of 3D. Has anyone else here seen this movie in 3D to offer any Comments on the Newer 3D technology??
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Watched this at a new IMAX theater that opened up on Friday and found the 3D presentation excellent and by far the best I've experienced in a movie theater.





    Crawdaddy
     
  4. BrettV

    BrettV Stunt Coordinator

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    I didn't really care for the movie, but I did love the last 15 of 20 minutes. Possibly the coolest thing visually I've seen theatrically.
     
  5. Matthew_Def

    Matthew_Def Stunt Coordinator

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    In the review thread Chad R suggested the 300 style of filmmaking as a better way to make Beowulf. I couldn't disagree more, and I felt much stronger for the characters, a better consistency and more soul in Beowulf than 300. 300 felt very flat and fake to me. And I think because it was actors on a bluescreen it felt that way. I could feel too large a disconnect between the actors and their environment, because they didn't belong there. Whereas with Beowulf the CG characters existed in a CG world.

    Oddly enough, I love Sin City, which was done exactly like 300. Maybe SC was just that much more stylized, and it felt very abstract plus it was very aware of it's artificiality. Still I don't think that style would fit Beowulf, especially considering the main sequences in the film used large beasts that would only be possible with CG.

    Grendel is 12 feet tall and even if you used trick angles and prosthetics, you wouldn't get the same performance that Glover brought. He wouldn't have even been hired by BZ if it was live action, anyway. You also couldn't have the interaction that Beowulf and Grendel had either. And then theirs the dragon sequence, which would've used a CG Beowulf for most of it anyway. CG/live-action interaction is still far from perfect.

    Anyway, I can't wait to see it again.
     
  6. Joe:C

    Joe:C Second Unit

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    There was talk at one point of seperate NC-17 and PG-13 versions, but thats been a while ago. Has anyone heard anything else about that?
     
  7. DanielKellmii

    DanielKellmii Supporting Actor

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    Does anybody know what language Grendel is speaking?
     
  8. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Crispin Glover voices Gollum....er... Grendel in:
    Olde English
    "Ic hearmed him nat"

    "rippen of mine earm"

    German

    "Ich nein demon!"

    Baby Talk

    "Man hurten mine head!"

    I think the point was to portray Grendel as an autistic or learning disabled (for a troll).


    Now the important question, does anybody know why Grendel keeps shrinking?
     
  9. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    I would agree with you only to the extent that Zemeckis wanted to use the likeness of all these great actors he'd cast in the roles. My huge disconnect with the characters was that they looked like Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, etc.

    The problem with that is that these are very well known performers and our eyes are very familiar with how they look, move, act and react. Using the motion capture in this way robbed the visuals of authenticity because the characters seemed so stiff and plastic.

    Therefore, if Zemeckis wanted to use the likenesses, then I think just using the actors in front of bluescreen like "300" would have been the best way to go.

    But, I'd also argue that if he wanted to seamlessly blend the characters with the CG background, then he should have done what he did with the Ray Winstone character of Beowulf and Glover as Grendel with ALL of the characters in the film. Although I still feel that Beowulf at times still acted plastic -- the worst of it being when he's screaming his identity for the umpteenth time but his head remains perfect upright and still and his throat never strains at the output -- he had the best chance of blending in simply because he didn't have that instant click of familiarity as an actor. Ray Winstone's performance was captured, not his likeness, which to me is the only future of this technology.

    It amazed me last night when I caught a few moments of "The Incredibles" on TV last night how real those characters feel to me. Although they are clearly animated approximations of humans, they seem more flesh and blood then did any of the characters in "Beowulf."

    And I think that's the main issue with motion capture technology at this point. With Pixar features great character animation is achieved by humans copying humans whereas motion capture seems like a computer copying humans (I know that's not the literal facts of the two technologies but it certainly seems like the truth of them). There's no soul to motion capture at this point. I think that as long as they want to capture the actors' likenesses, they will continue to lag behind other animated features.
     
  10. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Isn't that like saying Matt Groening animation is more realistic than Ralph Bakshi?
     
  11. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    It's not an issue of realism, but how well the animation tricks the eyes. It's a matter of believability and in that regard, not being ultra familiar with Bashki, but I'd say I buy into Groening's world more so than Bashki's.
     
  12. DavidPla

    DavidPla Cinematographer

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    I agree. The Simpsons work because we CARE about them. The characters ring true no matter the animation style. I've yet to feel "trueness" from any of Ralph Bakshi's characters.
     
  13. Pete-D

    Pete-D Screenwriter

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    The 3D was cool ... but by the end of the movie, my eyes were starting to hurt.

    Not sure if I could watch movie after movie like that, for me it's something better suited to amusement park rides.

    I liked Beowulf more than 300, but I think at it's core, Beowulf is just a better story, that gave the movie heart (Beowulf is a flawed character with regret, whereas the guys in 300 are just one-note cardboard cutouts), not necessarily the motion capture.

    The one thing about motion capture is I think it's the format George Lucas really has been waiting his whole life for. If they really wanted to they could now probably make a Episode VII, VIII, and IX with Luke, Han, Leia, etc. Not saying they should or anything like that, but it does open up some doors especially in cases where you want an actor to look older or younger or completely different from what they are.
     
  14. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    Totally different experience here.

    For me, this was the first time with a 3D movie that my eyes never hurt, I never found myself straining. In fact, about 15 minutes into the movie, I completely forgot I was watching 3D and became completely engrossed by the story.

    TECHNICAL QUESTION:

    I saw BEOWULF at the Arclight in Hollywood, the presentation was flawless, but the projection was digital and it was done in 1.85:1 letterboxed to 2.35:1. Does anyone know why?
     
  15. andrew markworthy

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    It's a while since I read the poem, but I think he does that in the poem as well. I think it's something to do with him growing commensurate with his rage, but this may be my memory (never good at the best of times) deceiving me.

    Incidentally, with regard to the languages spoken in the film, the scene towards the end of the film where they're doing a stage version of the battle uses the original poem. The language used is indeed old english, or rather, one version of it (modern english derives from a combination of several distinct old english dialects plus french). Grendel himself speaks in a babyish Old English (which at times sounds very like German, simply because it has a lot of vocabulary in common). Also, it's worth noting that rather like Lord of the Rings (the book, not necessarily the film), a very high percentage of the words in the dialogue used are of nordic origin - latinate words are kept to a minimum.

    One other thing - anyone hoping to read Grendel in the original old english may be in for a bit of a shock. It is to all intent and purposes a different language. It ain't like Chaucerian english where with decent footnotes you can read it fairly easily.
     
  16. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    +1. I had the Heaney translation (with both languages). English circa 900 is fairly alien, nothing at all like middle english (Shakespeare).
     
  17. Brian W. Ralston

    Brian W. Ralston Supporting Actor

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    One thing to note about Beowulf is that while they used motion capture and are mentioning this technique in the press of the film, this film is a traditionally animated feature in the sense that it was drawn by animators with computer animation frame by frame. The motion capture was just used as a guide to movement and performance, but the motion data collected was not used in the underlying creation of the animated frame.

    I have spoken with a good friend of mine at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences about this. Apparently they had a long discussion in the animation branch about this movie and whether it would be eligible for any of the animation awards. To be eligible for the animation award, one of the criteria is that the film has to be shot and composited frame by frame by the animators. Each frame drawn (or positioned in claymation, etc...) and then "shot" one frame at a time.

    Using motion capture to simply build a character on top of the data captured would not really qualify since the motion frames would be captured live. But in this film, the motion capture was only used as a guide and the frames were all drawn (in the computer) by animators, hence making it eligible for animation awards from the Academy. So...yes it is similar to what Zemeckis did on Polar Express in someways, but in other ways Beowulf is not.
     
  18. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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