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Beowulf

a film by Robert Zemeckis

One certainly laments the - as Susan Sontag put it - Death of Cinema when one sees yet another CGI-dripping piece of mass hysteria'd fodder such as this, but I suppose, all-in-all, despite its obvious lack of cinematic desire (Zemeckis has never been the filmmaker even his overrated yet plausibly so mentor, Steven Spielberg is) and despite its obliviousness toward its source material (anything to get an animated naked Angelina Jolie up on screen?) and despite its use of a modern cinematographic technique with no redeeming factor whatsoever (either animate it or make it live action - make up your fucking minds people!) the man who once gave us what seemed like a giant cinematic leap forward in animation/live action coexistance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and then helped lead the way in creeping us all out with the mildly amusing yet visually disturbing "motion-capture" animation technique (Polar Express was a visual delight when the camera pulled away from all those ooky looking "dead" children's faces and concentrated on the train and the landscape) now hands us Beowulf and it really isn't all that bad - relatively speaking of course. There is even a bit of perverse pleasure one can take from the film - as if we just witnessed something we weren't alowed to see. Not that there is much to see, but... With a blind eye toward literary accuracy and the most bizarrely staged naked scene since Austin Powers (but Myers was doing his for laughs wasn't he?) Zemeckis' movie is certainly just another cog in Sontag's premonitory death knell, but its seeming inoffensiveness and lack of pretty much anything good or bad in its style leaves the movie as merely another bland example of how Hollywood has officially run out of ideas. Perhaps not new news at all, but just in case you had forgotten, there it is. Cinema - at least in the annals of modern Hollywood - just like Francisco Franco as that old SNL news punchline, is still dead. [11/18/07]

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