I love the idea of this project... of translating the epic story into immersive film via the comic book / graphic novel talents of Neil Gaiman. But after viewing the film (on DVD admittedly) I question the choices of the director (Robert Zemeckis), and his overuse of performance capture techniques. The special effects work great for dramatic scenery, action, monsters, and group scenes. The scenic lighting is particularly good. But what a sorry misuse of acting talent... like Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich and Robin Wright Penn in the human roles. There is some very tender writing here, with nuanced performances hidden beneath computer generated Botox. The 3D performance capture dots seem to miss enormous numbers of tiny movements that make up our facial expressions. Are Hollywood folks so accustomed to seeing faces frozen by cosmetic surgery that this feels real to them? It really got in the way of my enjoyment of this ambitious retelling of Beowulf. I'd rather watch Brad Bird's Iron Giant, an example of 2D animation that gets the emotion right on.
Our library now has a copy of The Art of Beowulf by Mark Cotta Vaz (Author), Steve Starkey (Author), Robert Zemeckis (Foreword), Neil Gaiman (Introduction)
Read articles about the performance capture and computer graphics techniques used in the recent film version of the epic Beowulf. Many visual stills from the film + process...
VFXWorld / an animation world network publication