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Monday, November 26, 2007

Movie Watch: Beowulf

The decision to see Beowulf at IMAX is something of a catch-22. Traditionally computer animated movies don't go over so well, but the promise of 3D means that if you don't catch it at the theater, you may never see it "as intended" as movie geeks like to say.

Bottom line: go see it as intended. The 3D technology here is better by far than anything that precedes it. It's crisper, clearer, easier to watch and suffers far less from the abusive gratuitous scenes of yore like shoving long objects in your face (although the occasional spear does get shoved in your face). For the most part, the 3D here accomplishes what 3D should be trying to accomplish all along - it makes the movie a deeper, more immersive experience.

Storywise - Beowulf is much better than some will expect. Gaiman and Avary truly deliver here if you really take the task at a whole. Beowulf, the poem, is possibly one of the best known and least read pieces of literature. They follow the basic plot (which, if you want to get down to it - is about what you'll get anyway from the poem) and offer a bit of depth as well. Occasionally the movie dips into outright campiness - Beowulf's naked fighting style and Grendel's mom having high heels come to mind. But it wears even that fairly well. Sure enough, the plot is really something to hang the action scenes on - but some moments, like Beowulf raging on the beach - kick things up a notch.

In short, if you can see at an IMAX, it's probably worth the pennies. Otherwise, a decent rental.

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