Beowulf

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esteban
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Beowulf

Post by esteban » Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:42 pm

Steve's tossaway line about "Beowulf: The Musical" in the PE threads reminded me that we're about to be visited by a theatrical version of one of the greatest of Ye Olde English Epics. Or was it Olde Geatish?

It's bound to be utter crap. Or am I just being cynical?

I'm interested in how far the live action/digital animation fusion effects (a la Gollum in LOTR) have progressed. However, if there is one thing the post-modernites in Hollywood know how to do, it's suck the nobility right out of a classic. They just don't understand the concept, so they replace noble motivations with something more banal, if not more sinister.

So the most frightening thing is this idea that "in the new movie, there is a hidden relationship between the king, Beowulf, and Grendel's mother that adds a layer of sexuality and intrique - and deviates from the original tale." Well, duh. Anyone NOT able to guess what at least 2/3 of that relationship is about?

OTOH, Crispin Glover giving Grendel the same treatment Andy Serkis gave Gollum might be worth seeing.
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Post by FredProgGH » Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:29 pm

Bah. Looks like a Playstation game. At least Polar Express looked real enough to be weird and creepy. I think Zemeckis is only churning this stuff out to test 3D rendering systems.
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Post by MayorOfLongview » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:28 pm

FredProgGH wrote:Bah. Looks like a Playstation game. At least Polar Express looked real enough to be weird and creepy. I think Zemeckis is only churning this stuff out to test 3D rendering systems.
ah...think again...

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Post by esteban » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:29 pm

Well, well, well.

If it's as good as all that, let's round up some folks and go see it!

And if not, Beowulf: The Musical still sounds good to me. 8)
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:22 pm

Apparently the most common interpretation of Beowulf is that the monsters represent family fueds in kind of a more personified evil type way so that it seems less ugly when they're destroyed. Note how after Beowulf kills each monster, they sing random songs about people dealing with blood fueds. Curious.

BUT against this interpretation, Tolkien wrote his famous "Monsters and Critics" essay saying how we can't JUST interpret it as a feud story - we can't just shove the monsters away as analogy, but confront them as elements of the story.

So in that sense, having weird blood ties with Grendel's mother isn't ENTIRELY CRAZY like I thought at first. It's just ALMOST entirely crazy.
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Post by theHermit » Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:24 pm

I'm curious to see this as Neil Gaiman co-wrote the screenplay. The guy is incredibly talented and I enjoy most of what he does, so I'm likely there.

fwiw, I thought the Polar Express was pretty cool.
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Post by Rumpska » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:11 pm

Just saw it. First reaction: What the bloody hell did they do to Beowulf? Did they even read it at all? Why would you ruin such a good poem... I want my 1 hr 54 min back, idiots. Go ruin some other book.
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:04 pm

You can't actually take it seriously at all! Besides, even the poem itself is like the B-movie of epics compared to the Odyssey or the Aeneid, so having a less than stellar movie kind of fits.

BTW I completely disagree with my previous comments now that I've read a lot more scholarship on Beowulf for a class I'm taking.

Also: there is a lot of cursed treasure going on behind the scenes of these confusing blood feuds in Beowulf. Depending on how you translate a few words, there is a cursed necklace that is going around ominously (given to Beowulf by Wealtheow, Hrogthar's wife, who probably hates our hero because his father killed a bunch of her family.) Not to mention the cursed treasure guarded by the dragon himself.

There's just no Angelina-Jolie-cursed treasure that causes kings to go mad and dragons to come. That's just silly.
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Sat Mar 08, 2008 10:06 pm

Well, ok, so I don't have the heart to let that comment stay. Beowulf isn't so much a B-movie... it's just incredibly by nature difficult to pin down. There are so many themes that are interwoven together to make a story of intricate stories, which some scholars have compared to the Celtic knot designs or even fractals. Imagine trying to pull out just one - the main one would be a story about a guy named Beowulf attacking three monsters... but what's with all this other stuff? There's all these other threads, like the one of old age, funerals, feuds, inevitable defeat, treasure, etc. They kind of help you see the main thread in a context, but it's still tough to pin down. Even the original langauge itself is murky and foggy in details, and we don't quite know what's going on. So making a movie of it at all is well-nigh impossible, if you want to keep its essential identity: an interwoven tapestry you catch murky glimpses of. Anything short of that is flattening it, and trying to make trite and tangible something that was meant to be a mystery. It can't ever be a movie. Goodness, it can barely be a book to begin with!

Still, it might be comical if a movie actually tried to be true to the story. One minute Beowulf's worrying that the dragon just burnt down his hall, and the next minute, there are reverse-chronological flashbacks of the Geatish-Swedish wars... it would be the most confusing movie EVER.
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