Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The LA Times Talk Beowulf

Two Beowulf pictures have turned up in a new LA Times piece. I'll pop them at the bottom of the post.

[EDIT: And now better versions have turned, up so I put them even further down. These new versions seem to show Zemeckis' framing, which was quite a thrill. Thanks to all of you who mailed them over]

The LA Times discuss the film at length, though defininetly not from the viewpoint of having seen the whole thing because it's some ways from being complete. Here's a hit-list of their intriguing tidbits (not all new news, and many of the points probably not quite true, but it is nice to see them compiled) and, sadly, it isn't all good news:

- The film is "a minimum of PG-13". Honestly, the script was definitely R-rated, so I was surprised and disappointed to hear "the producer and director purged the script of foul language, used an array of blood colors ranging from crimson to green and dreamed up gravity-defying nude scenes." Gaiman misses the swearing, and says so.

- Grendels mother's feet appear like "sharp stilettos merged with bestial hooves".

- Beowulf battles Grendel in the nude but "Beowulf's naughty bits are obfuscated by random objects in the foreground", a la Austin Powers, but not for (deliberate) laughs.

- The characters age from teenagers to septugenarians, courtesy of the CG skins on their motion captured skeletons.

- Neil Gaiman said of Crispin Glover's casting: "Then we got on the subject of Crispin. Bob said he would never work with him again because he never hit his mark and didn't understand how scenes cut together. But as he went on, you could see Bob realizing that was completely irrelevant if Crispin was in a motion-capture suit covered in dots, every move recorded."

- Oh, and mentioned here only as a curiosity, we learn that Ray Winstone's character in Indiana Jones IV is called Mac.


Anonymous said...

I'm cautious about the photo-realism approach. Uncanny valley, here we come.

Monster House with its stylized characters was delightful. Polar Express was a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Disappointing to hear that the age rating has been lowered. I had always inferred -- from the way Gaiman and Avery talk about this project -- that the movie would retain the omnipresent bloodlust of the epic poem. It seems that, in eschewing many aspects of what makes Beowulf unquestionably iconic, the filmmakers will dilute the poetic impact. Didn't Gaiman once paraphrase the movie as, "A cheerily violent and strange take on the Beowulf legend?" I'm particularly aggrieved to learn of the very manner in which they plan to purge the movie of it's more undesirable elements. Gaiman is right - different or not, Austin Powers comes to mind. This seems too gimmicky.

Of course, even if the movie is PG-13, it doesn't necessarily mean that it will be anything less than fantastic, but one might be left ruminating over what might have been come this November.

Methinks the studio is unwilling to allow a film budgeted around the $150 million range lose a key demographic - a demographic that is ,by dint of this context, supposed to go un-catered for anyway. Ok, I'm a tad harsh, but this news has really hit me hard. It only makes me pine even more for a chance to read the R-rated script.

Great stills though!