Friday, November 30, 2007

What Times We Live In

Seth and I went to see Beowulf tonight, a movie that strikes me as remarkable for two reasons: first that for a time the most popular movie in the US was based on one of the oldest stories in the English language and second that it's basically a two-hour video game cutscene. I don't mean the last to be derogatory - I enjoyed the movie immensely - but turning everything into a CGI effect was more distracting than it was cool, as opposed to say 300 earlier this year.

They took some liberties with the story, but understandable liberties; overall it wasn't something that took anything away from the overall enjoyment of the "Beowulf is a fucking badass" premise of the story. You could argue that they aren't liberties at all, because Beowulf was a spoken poem long before it was ever written down and passed through several iterations before it reached the oldest known written form we have today. Oral stories change. Written stories can change. So adapting it to the screen and changing it a bit isn't bothersome at all - it fits completely the spirit of the original type of text. It also added another interesting dimension to the tale, the human side of the hero - which has been so overdone in comics recently it's drifting into cliche territory and Neil Gaiman was one of the writers, so take from that what you will.

I enjoyed it. I cheered for Beowulf, marveled at the effects, drooled at Angelina Jolie, and had a great time. That a poem 1400 years old can inspire that is also remarkable. If you have a chance, check it out.

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