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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film Handlers' Movie Reviews   » Beowulf (2007) (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Beowulf (2007)
Emma Tomiak
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 238
From: Carrollton, TX, USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 11-15-2007 04:32 AM      Profile for Emma Tomiak   Author's Homepage   Email Emma Tomiak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think there are any spoilers in here but please let me know if yall find some.

First off, this movie would have been much better if it was live action instead of CGI motion capture. I wish I could have seen the facial expressions on John Malcovich and Anthony Hopkins in the few scenes they were in. The acting in their scenes was wonderful, but would have been terrific if I could see their real faces instead of the creepy "motion capture looking" faces.

Second, you barely get to see Grendel's mother (Angelina Jolie) 2 times or so! Seriously, I got to see Ray Winstone's butt a lot (and at a REEL CHANGE no less), but only got to see Angelina's beautiful figure once or twice. I feel cheated.

Third, this movie feels like it's 11 reels long and it's only 6. The final extended action sequence was pretty sweet, though.

Overall: Would be better with real live acting and bits of CGI where needed; needs more boobies; feels too long; OK ending.

2 out of 5 stars.

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Brian Michael Weidemann
Expert cat molester

Posts: 944
From: Costa Mesa, CA United States
Registered: Feb 2004


 - posted 11-15-2007 08:49 AM      Profile for Brian Michael Weidemann   Author's Homepage   Email Brian Michael Weidemann   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The animation is loads better than Polar Express, but animation of this type will always have loads more room for improvement. Characters were sometimes too stiff, often too expressionless, but a few moments here and there looked "right".

IMAX 3D version gets thumbs up! Some of the larger-scale action sequences looked miniature, like they separated the eyes slightly beyond "normal" to exaggerate the 3D effect, but the depth of rendered detail was impressively crisp. (For the record, the IMAX 3D version was 36×2 reels. [Big Grin] )

That was an "idealized" Angelina body. I doubt she's got those perfect hips. The boobs were too big, at least for MY "ideal". But they got her freaky, huge, weird-textured lips just right! Damn, the one thing I would have changed.

There are no "dirty bits" nudity, per se, but you definitely get some lessons in human anatomy. And a bit of non-human anatomy as well, now that I mention it. [Eek!]

Good music! It was definitely a Silvestri score. With songs co-written by Glen Ballard ... hey, at least Josh Grobin wasn't singing a put-me-out-of-my-misery-please cheeseball song in the credits!

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Thomas Pitt
Master Film Handler

Posts: 266
From: Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
Registered: May 2007


 - posted 11-15-2007 03:48 PM      Profile for Thomas Pitt   Email Thomas Pitt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I can usually tell when something is CG, even when it's trying to look realistic. Beowulf, on the other hand, looked incredible - I actually thought most of the footage was live-action with the real actors!

I saw it today in the 'Delux' auditorium of the multiplex. Plenty of leg room, reclining seats, seat vibration with the subwoofer sound... But it wasn't a digital presentation even though the advert said it would be!

The film does feel like it's a little too long for the story, with long segments where nothing much happens apart from character dialogue. But the battle scenes are epic and impressive and really held my attention!

Also notice that they skilfully position the camera so that any 'objectionable' parts of the human body are covered up by something else [Wink]

I'd give it 3 out of 5. An OK film, but not one I'd go and see again (perhaps in IMAX 3D though)

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Brian Michael Weidemann
Expert cat molester

Posts: 944
From: Costa Mesa, CA United States
Registered: Feb 2004


 - posted 11-15-2007 04:44 PM      Profile for Brian Michael Weidemann   Author's Homepage   Email Brian Michael Weidemann   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Thomas Pitt
nothing much happens apart from character dialogue
Forgive me, but I see this as a positive step in actual storytelling. In novels, I often find myself skimming the "action sequences", only to focus on the dialog between characters, where the story actually is. Film is a different medium, but basic storytelling will follow similar patterns.

I didn't find this film too long at all (and I screened it at 3:00am ... oh, I simply just LOVE when the sun is coming up on my drive home). Running time is 1:54 of actual feature and credits, by my clock.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10735
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 11-18-2007 03:58 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Location: Carmike 8, Lawton, OK
Auditorium: #1
Format: Real D/2K Scope/LPCM 5.1
Rating: 3 stars out of 4

Many high school students have to study the original epic poem of Beowulf, which dates back well over 1000 years, and no one really knows who wrote it. Those students are best warned not to try to use this Hollywood feature as a sort of "Cliff Notes" substitute. The movie is different from the original poem in a number of ways. Aside from the departures of "creative license" taken by Zemeckis and writers Neil Gaiman & Roger Avary, I found the movie to be pretty entertaining throughout. I'd like to see it again.

While the animation quality is a step up from The Polar Express, the results are still a little strange and even creepy looking at times. Realistic human figures are difficult enough to animate (horses are really difficult too), but getting animation right with CGI human faces is difficult to an extreme. There's just too many nuances going in a real human face to communicate life and emotion. There's so much happening that the CGI likenesses of Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins are occaisionally lost. Anyone who has ever tried drawing a portrait of someone knows it takes a delicate balance to capture and maintain the likeness of someone. When confronted by all that technical/artistic difficulty, I have to ask this question: what is the point of doing that at all? Why not just shoot live action actors?

It's easier, not to mention more interesting, to animate CGI characters who are not completely realistic. Whether they're cartoony, caricatures or strange abstractions, such non-realistic CGI characters won't be inviting such a critical eye as to what's wrong or right about them. Without the distraction over what's real enough or not the audience can concentrate more on enjoying the story. I guess that's one reason why the end credits of Ratatouille bragged "100% Genuine Animation! No motion capture or any other performance shortcuts were used in the production of this film."

The Real D version of 3D was good. I think the best 3D I've seen was NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience. One advantage IMAX has is a huge screen whose borders don't interfere with objects trying to poke close to your face. But at least Beowulf consistently looked 3D throughout, with the characters and objects clearly defined in 3D space.

I liked Alan Silvestri's score and the songs from Glen Ballard. Sure, the main orchestral theme with its horns and chanting chorus is an obvious mix of classic monster movie kitsch with Viking themes. But it still sounds pretty catchy.

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Vaughn Hamrick
Film Handler

Posts: 21
From: Jacksonville , Florida USA
Registered: Dec 2006


 - posted 11-18-2007 09:19 AM      Profile for Vaughn Hamrick   Email Vaughn Hamrick   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Do you think that they could make the film any darker?

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Bob Maar
(Maar stands for Maartini)


Posts: 28608
From: New York City & Newport, RI
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 11-18-2007 10:02 AM      Profile for Bob Maar   Author's Homepage   Email Bob Maar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Major dissapointment.......1/2 star.

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Matt Barth
Film Handler

Posts: 46
From: Albuquerque, NM 87109
Registered: Oct 2005


 - posted 11-18-2007 10:24 AM      Profile for Matt Barth   Email Matt Barth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I wasn't impressed, had I gone to the 2-D version I would have been down-right bored. I swear Beowulf was played by Sean Bean, I think they did a V For Vendetta-esque last minute switch because Winstone is never going to be recognized from it. The fact Grendel's mother was hot was a deviation I didn't appreciate, it made sense but with this story you either be faithful and accept the flaws or deviate and make a forgettable story. Looks like the latter was chosen.

Worse mistake on the film? The booth's choice to attach the "Wanted" trailer where it's rediculously obvious Jolie got some flattering attention in this CGI.

Overall, I can get those graphics on a PS3 or XBox360 game and enjoy myself a bit more.

---Matt

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10735
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 11-18-2007 11:24 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Matt Barth
I wasn't impressed, had I gone to the 2-D version I would have been down-right bored. I swear Beowulf was played by Sean Bean
Sean Bean is 48 years old. Although heavier, Ray Winstone is only 2 years older. I doubt Sean Bean has or ever had a physique like the CGI Beowulf character. But that issue, as well as the issue of Angelina Jolie's true life figure, is totally irrelevant. Grendal's Mother and Beowulf are meant to be idealized looking.

quote: Matt Barth
Overall, I can get those graphics on a PS3 or XBox360 game and enjoy myself a bit more.
That's wrong. While the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3 are both impressive for what they can do, such as getting decent gaming graphics scaled to HD-quality levels, they do NOT come anywhere close to equalling finished quality motion picture CGI graphics. Any gamer out there who believes otherwise doesn't know what he is talking about or is just lying through his teeth.

It still takes entire farms of computers crunching numbers for weeks on end to render a two hour, all-CGI movie. Some funky looking little toy box with 3 PowerPC CPUs and one GPU isn't going to equal the work of an entire rendering farm, much less deliver those results in real time. Look at the differences closely. A model in a game still has a very low triangle count. There's nowhere near as many shaders at work. Let's also not leave out the fact a finished 3D movie render is often put through additional steps, such as a pass through a compositing program like Fusion or have frames individually touched up in Photoshop.

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Chris Slycord
Film God

Posts: 2986
From: 퍼항시, 경상푹도, South Korea
Registered: Mar 2007


 - posted 11-18-2007 02:34 PM      Profile for Chris Slycord   Email Chris Slycord   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Matt Barth
Worse mistake on the film? The booth's choice to attach the "Wanted" trailer where it's rediculously obvious Jolie got some flattering attention in this CGI.
How do you know it was a choice? It's common for studios to request trailers for movies related to the people who made the main feature.

Like when my old theater had Knocked Up, a Superbad trailer was on it and it was a required one since they wanted to hit up the people who liked the director.

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Peter David Bruce
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 187
From: East Anglia -England
Registered: Aug 2007


 - posted 11-19-2007 03:51 AM      Profile for Peter David Bruce     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
anyone seen this issue... i made up beowulf the other day and when previewing it I found that there was alot of vertical scratches on the top right corner (just on the emulsion level). it wasnt through the whole film, I guess reel two or three. its not severe, and our customers wont notice, but us working in film every day, we see these things.

anyone else spotted similar? we have cleaned and cleaned the print but with little improvement.

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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 11-19-2007 08:22 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
That's wrong. While the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3 are both impressive for what they can do, such as getting decent gaming graphics scaled to HD-quality levels, they do NOT come anywhere close to equalling finished quality motion picture CGI graphics.
They're getting fairly close. Check it out.

From Fight Night round 3:

 -
Shorts look lacking, but otherwise very good.

From Virtua Fighter 5:

 -
I grabbed this via composite video, but this game has excellent motion capture as well. The plastic-y lifeless look is similar to Beowulf. The headband could use more polygons.

Only about 10 years ago 3D games looked like this:

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That's Virtua Fighter 1... same character as the above Virtua Fighter 5 pic.

Keep in mind that these games run at 60 frames (not fields) per second. They could probably look even more detailed if they were limited to 24fps.

Won't be long, my friend. Won't be long.

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Peter David Bruce
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 187
From: East Anglia -England
Registered: Aug 2007


 - posted 11-19-2007 08:25 AM      Profile for Peter David Bruce     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
hehe nice one joe.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10735
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 11-19-2007 10:21 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Joe Redifer
Won't be long, my friend. Won't be long.
I have been hearing that talk from gaming fans for over a decade, yet the fact remains that there is a very wide gulf between the quality of graphics for a motion picture versus what a mere gaming console can deliver.

When Pixar gets to the point where they can render an entire feature project during a single lunch break using only ONE single computer, then we can talk about the possibility of gaming consoles having real motion picture quality graphics. Until that day, true film-quality CGI graphics for gaming consoles will be a very distant fantasy.

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Kyle Anderson
Film Handler

Posts: 86
From: Tyler, TX, USA
Registered: Dec 2005


 - posted 11-19-2007 10:12 PM      Profile for Kyle Anderson   Email Kyle Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It took approximately 6 hours of server farm time per frame to render Finding Nemo.

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