Saturday, November 17, 2007

Beowulf in 3D

Yesterday, I went to see Beowulf, one of those new 3D motion-capture computer-generated films, which has received little in the way of advance publicity, despite a collossal Hollywood budget, and which looked like it was going to be a car crash waiting to happen.

The fact that bloggers were being invited to a free pre-screening of the film in 3D at the London IMAX was an encouraging sign - the last time I got an invite like this was for 300, which is another film I doubt I'd have bothered making a trip to a cinema to see, but which absolutely needs to be seen on a big screen rather than waiting for the DVD.

This time around I was abroad on vacation when the screening was scheduled, but faced with mounting evidence that this was a good film (early marks in the high 80's and early 90's from public and critics on imdb and rotten tomatoes) I took advantage of early afternoon ticket availability and shelled out for a ticket.

I'm glad I did. The film's not perfect but as a 3D experience it's pretty jaw-dropping. I suspect that even on a dull old 2D screen the film pretty much works, but if you're going to see this film you really want to move heaven and earth to try and see it in 3D, preferably on a mammoth IMAX screen. Watching this, it's not hard to see why the talk in so many film magazines over the last six months has been of 3D 'saving' cinema's in a world where many homes are getting home theatre environments that can easily rival, if not outperform, the local multiplex fleapit.

There are a few things in the film that don't work and are just plain wrong. I'm still not sure why a medieval picture features Angeline Jolie in high heels (fans of hers should be warned that her screen time measured in minutes is just single figures) when everything else appears authentic to the period. Nor do I understand why there's a rather ridiculous Austin-Powers 'hide the weenie' fight scene included as the laughs this raises are clearly out of whack with the rather serious nature of the film. But for the most part I was thoroughly entertained, blown away even, and have no hesitation in recommending it FOR THE OVER 12'S!

That last little disclaimer phrase is a bit of a sticking point with me. For reasons I cannot fathom the film has been licensed 12A which means anyone can see it. As has become usual with my IMAX excursion the first 15 minutes of the film were for me totally ruined by the two stupid women who took their young kids to see what is a very scary, and gory film that is full of not just violence but sexual innuendo too. As if the constant questions from a young girl in the party drowning out the film dialogue weren't bad enough, the group of 4 then disrupted everyone's viewing by finally realising about 20 minutes in that perhaps this film wasn't suitable for young children after all and standing up to make a long, noisy exit from the middle of the row.

I appreciate the film cost a lot to make, and that the film-makers wanted as young a rating as possible to maximise their audience, but someone at the BBFC should be fired for giving this film such a low rating, with the official excuse apparently not being 'We were given back-handers' but that 'It's fantasy violence'. Ah that's OK then! Given the level of reality now available with these computer generated images (although, somewhat confusingly, the Ray Winstone-voiced Beowulf has a six pack and the face of Sean Bean) presumably we can expect the kiddies to be able to enjoy full-on hardcore porn in this format in the next year or two, simply because it's computer-generated rather than 'real'!!!

Today's shiny disc review (read it by clicking on the title) is of The Golden Door on UK DVD.

Smile of the Day comes in the form of a rather smutty joke, courtesy of Andy Jarrett. I know I shouldn't laugh, but I did. Check out Coma Cure on Andy's blog.


Kyle said...

had anyone heard about giving out a free screening to beowulf and drinks?

Kevin (iE) said...

Just catching up on your bloggs as I haven't paid a visit for 4 months. This one has me in spasms! I loved Beowulf even if it was in the local 2D 'flea pit'.
The line that finally split my sides was the confirmation that I was not the only one hearing Ray Winston and seeing Sean Bean!
Cheers for the laughs.

Ian said...

Hi Kevin,

Good to hear from you and good to hear that the film works in 2D. The 3D was so endemic to the film in the viewing I went to I had no idea whether I was just reacting to the awesome 3D or the film itself.

Over Christmas I saw "Polar Express" in 3D, which I'd already seen and enjoyed in 2D and in some ways it would have been better to do the same thing with Beowulf. If you get the chance to see it at the IMAX before it ends you really should try it - I think you'll be suitably impressed.