Last night Russ, Jeremy and I attended the first official event of Comic Con 2007: the unveiling of about 20 minutes of Real D 3D footage of Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf, based on Ye Olde English epic. After the footage and two trailers, we came to the conclusion that a lot of what we had seen was impressive, but it would never play on the internet, where the footage would be shrunk down to a small Quicktime window on your monitor. Judging by the reactions on our message board to the trailer, we were right.
The Beowulf footage (we saw essentially the second reel, as the rest of the movie isn’t done yet) is a step above The Polar Express in every way, but it still has the ‘Faces of the Dead’ problem that Zemeckis encountered there. The movements and animation are incredible… except for the faces and the eyes. Some people said that Anthony Hopkins, playing King Hrothgar, looked amazing, but I think it’s because Hopkins has been phoning it in for a decade. We’re used to seeing him with cold, dead eyes.
That said, the Real D 3D was AMAZING. So much so that I wonder how this film will play in 2D. Zemeckis filled the reel we saw with ‘Hey, it’s 3D! I have a sword in your face!’ tricks, which always look silly in two dimensions. Beowulf is apparently getting the widest-ever 3D release, and I do believe all judgment should be reserved until you see it in that format, the format it was made for.
I had problems with the Beowulf footage shown, but I also liked it. Unlike Jeremy, this wasn’t a movie I was interested in; now I can’t wait to experience the full thing when it’s released in November.