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BMZ Review: Beowulf: An IMAX 3D Experience
By Ross Anthony


Heroes and Monsters
Written by: Ross Anthony
Source: Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card
Date: December 11, 2007


Category: Reviews

Wow. What a cinematic experience! Truthfully, the radio ads for this film were quite off-putting. The TV spots didn't much improve on that. I expected cartoon bludgeoning and inane tough talk. Still, Anthony Hopkins in the cast had me wondering what he saw in the project. Coupled with Robert Zemeckis directing … I lifted an eyebrow. The 3D IMAX release was the last straw – I had to see it. And, I must admit, I'm glad I did see it!

Most notably, there is a strong story thread -- not that complicated, but strong. There is rock solid direction. The dynamic ups, downs, humor, and grit of the film are artfully managed to create a very sweet piece that entertains at all stages, builds smartly and climaxes commandingly. Add to that a great cinematic eye for camera movement. It's something that greatly impressed me with Zemeckis' Polar Express – he's simply got a great feel for 3D space. That "virtual" camera movement in these two films brings the viewer in and enriches the drama. And speaking of the visual, those responsible for creating the actual image on screen certainly seem to have had a fun time putting it all together. Their passion comes through. Yes, at times the characters do look somewhat cartoon-ish, but the care taken in detail, especially in close-ups, makes their world all the more real and dramatic to the viewer.

I mentioned "humor" as a dynamic. To my surprise, the picture flaunts an unexpected, though entirely welcomed, sense of humor. It's subtly integrated in the dialogue, lifting the "I am Beowulf" bragging out of the inane. It's also integrated in the visual, the sequence of Beowulf slaying sea-monster after sea-monster had me laughing out loud with the sweet tongue-in-cheek of it all. In fact, the film cajoled rather strong laughs from me with several jabbing elbows and winks of the eye. Then, darkness falls with the dark choices and the humor is replaced by rich intense visual drama that instead invokes awe. Just as I was deciding I'd be giving this thing an A-, the real goods take the screen with art, confidence and command. Yes!

Alas, there is still the bludgeoning, so if you don't like that kind of thing, this may not be the film for you. That said, those who liked 300 will like this even more. My only negative comment, I simply was not that impressed with Angelina Jolie's contributions. Her imaging wasn't as seductive as the real Jolie (that's not her fault) and her accent didn't work. Her character should have been entirely hypnotizing, and it falls short of that. Nonetheless, the picture on the whole stands strong.

See it in 3D if you can, even at a regular theater showing it in 3D. Since the image didn't cover the entire IMAX screen (at Universal CityWalk) where I saw it, I think your viewing experience won't be markedly improved by driving the extra miles to the IMAX theatre.

Beowulf. Copyright © 2007.
Starring Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson,, Crispin Glover, Angelina Jolie.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay by Neil Gaiman, Roger Avary
Produced by Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke at Paramount/Warner/Shangri-La/ImageMovers.
Grade..........................A (3.5/4)

Copyright © 1998-2004. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: For Adult & Teen Novels written by Ross Anthony visit:

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Beowulf: An IMAX 3D Experience
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