Posted Friday, April 11, 2008, 11:17 PM

I just watched Beowulf on DVD. It was very pretty, but not quite as impressive as it tried to be.

As a story, and a myth, it was wonderful. It's one of the oldest myths, apparently from the Vikings, one that JRR Tolkien was somewhat enamoured by, inspiring him to write Lord of the Rings (though the themes don't mirror it in any way).

But the movie, which employed 3D computer graphics recorded from motion capture by the (excellent) performers, was a little bit still stuck in the Uncanny Valley, which I found quite distracting. I did get used to it, but it didn't really stop happening throughout. And a lot of the animation/motion was still a little stiff and jerky - not unlike a (very impressively elaborate and detailed) cut-scene from a video game.

So we're still in an experimental mode for this art form, even this far along since Final Fantasy. Indeed, I think I preferred FF's achievements in motion capture, as its more stylised character design suited the lack of finesse in the capture/animation, while the higher production values and technological improvements applied to Beowulf was a mismatch, and should've heralded a better finished product.

Oh well. It had Angelina Jolie almost (digitally) naked, which isn't such a bad thing to see.

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