Ugh ... five (5) days of eating Turkey leftovers, a couple of dinners with friends (some visiting from out of town), one (1) or two (2) hangovers plus three (3) 70 mile round trip drives to and from Beaver County (Quiptown Beatdown) and Pittsburgh (Eastside) which included two (2) family dinners and two (2) days of picking up 'new to me' furniture from my grandmothers house ... this is how I spent the T-Day extended holiday weekend.
But before all of that ... I recently went and saw Beowulf IMAX 3-D. Yup, the hype got me. I usually don't go to the movies. Well ... I venture out occasionally for classic films, re releases, indie or foreign flicks but I rarely go see the latest studio film while it is still in the 'cinaplex'. I just don't like seeing films at these big stadium seating, Dolby-loud-as-hell, usually attached to some mall-type-theaters which are typically crawling with distracting teens who will watch anything and eventually get on my nerves (I was there once). Don't get me wrong, I love film ... I just like to watch film in a controlled environment, like my living room, where I can control the viewing setting and experience the film in it's fullest.
And again, normally, Beowulf would be the last type of film that I would go see on the big screen. I'd get to it on my Netflix queue ... someday ... but a friend of mine and I agreed that we wanted to experience all the hype regarding the IMAX 3-D ... and man, we were not disappointed. The phenomenal 3-D effects were absolutely incredible and put a smile on my face for almost the entire length of the movie ... but it was not the only thing that got us. Surprisingly, the acting, animation and over the top action sequences were all top notch. As for the motion capture work, it was really good. The characters looked extremely real sometimes, and other times they looked hilariously fake, but in the end the filmmakers have come a long way since the 'dead eyes' animation of the Polar Express days.
Of course, at the beginning, there were plenty of gasps and giggles from the audience, mostly coming from the younger crowd in the theater ... mostly due to a few campy 3-D effects (spears and swords thrust out into the audience) and the half Danish and half 'old English-ness' of the dialogue and story, but, after a short while, I think everyone began to calm down and take notice that the film was actually pretty good.
Overall the film was one hell of an experience. It has the thrills for both the action/fantasy fan and the cinemaphile trying to follow the modern progressions in film making. (Is this the future of cinema?) The depth of field that the 3-D gave, drawing the audience 'into' the film itself, was breathtaking at times. On a beastly IMAX screen it feels like you are in the same room as these people on screen. (I caught myself ducking and blinking a few times thinking I was about to get hit by something coming out of the screen) ... but I have to say that the film was also good because of the great direction of Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump) and solid script adapation from Roger Avery, Hollywood’s go to man for pulpy comic-book stories (Pulp Fiction, True Romance, Killing Zoe) and Neil Gaimen, our modern representative of fantasy intellectualism (Sandman comics, Mirromask, Stardust). In the end, my friend and I agreed that the film would play okay in 2-D, but we would strongly suggest seeing it in it's big 3-D format if you can.