Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving with the Geats

Went to see Beowulf tonight. I was apprehensive about it, mainly because of the photo-realistic digital nature of the film. It's not my thing, really...I prefer a healthy degree of abstraction in animation. But I'd read what the writers (Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman) had done with the story and thought it sounded neat-o.

Anyways, it is neat-o. While the technology isn't quite there yet (human faces still don't translate as fully believable in digital), the story was enough for me. I'd been worried that I would wind up sitting through another 300 (no offense meant to anyone who liked 300, I just found it to be mostly empty testosterone), but there's one scene in particular--a scene with King Beowulf and a man at a shoreline near a battle--that elevated the whole movie in the sense that, if nothing else, this film was, to me, justified because of it.

Back to the effects, however: I'm not sure it was a good idea to base most of the characters so closely on the actors who performed them. I mean, if you can create whatever you want within that digital world, why have Hrothgar look like Anthony Hopkins? I suppose they felt it lent a level of reality that the audience could grasp onto, but I think in a way it's actually more distancing, since Anthony Hopkins felt more like "the digital version of Anthony Hopkins". We know what he's supposed to look like, so when he feels 'off' somehow it's that much more noticeable.

However, how can you deny Crispin Glover as Grendel? Speaking in Olde English, even.

I've always liked the Beowulf tale...it's the ripping off Grendel's arm bit that tends to grab you as a young boy, I suppose.

By the way, here's an image of that scene by Lynd Ward (and I wish to God I could find his illustrated Beowulf book at an affordable price):

Anyways, while I liked the new Beowulf movie, my favorite off-shoot of the original poem remains John Gardner's novel 'Grendel', told from the point of view of the monster itself. One of my favorite books.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Art of Leszek Zebrowski

I was browsing through the internet in my last hour of work and somehow, through some series of Googlings, ran across a sample of Leszek Zebrowski's artwork.

I'm fairly mesmerized by his stuff now...he's best known for his poster work (both for films and theater projects)...

Here's a link to more of his work: http://zebrowski-drawing.com/