Therefore, I'm pleading with people--please, please, please go see this film! I don't normally go on and on about a film's special effects. To me, what's the use of effects when...they look like effects? Watching "Matrix Reloaded" is the equivalent of watching two coats of paint dry in my opinion. "Beowulf," on the other hand, is one of the few films I can think of that uses special effects for GOOD! The animation is absolutely incredible. There are moments in the film where I forget I'm watching a piece of animation, because the characters are soooo lifelike. I know I complained previously about animated characters not showing a range of facial expressions. Not in this case. It's incredible how the emotions of the real actors were able to get converted into animation. It's so complex that I wouldn't be surprised if Anthony Hopkins gets an Oscar nomination for his performance in this film.
I will preface that I saw this film in 3D. I'm sure the regular version will be enjoyable as well, but Robert Zemeckis took full advantage of the 3D technology, truly making you feel like you're part of this world. This is not like back in the days when occasionally you'd see some creature's arms stretch towards you, and that would be the extent of the 3D. There's a moment where Beowulf is about to get his crotch impaled, and I found myself almost gasping (I'm a guy, of course). It doesn't hurt that we get to see a very lifelike replication of Angelina Jolie strutting around almost naked during her every scene.
Now, for all you parents out there, DO NOT take your young ones. I find it funny that the movie is virtually being promoted as a kiddie flick. If this were R-rated, I would classify it as a hard R. I can't come up with any sort of explanation as to why this gory, gruesome film was awarded a PG-13 rating, other than....it's animated. I guess you can get away with a lot more with animated violence. Don't quote me on that, though. We're treated to such images as a monster getting stabbed in the eye and a heart getting torn out. Yet a movie with 10 uses of the F-word gets an R-rating. The MPAA is on crack. It's official.
If I have to make any mild criticism, it's that Robin Wright Penn's character looks a bit too cartoonish and flat. Ray Winstone has a great and powerful voice, and lends it well to the main character. I just find it funny that his character was the only one that had no resemblance to him. His character is tall, muscular, and handsome--the exact opposite of the real life Winstone. I liked the performances for the most part. Some have said that John Malkovich was pretty awful. I disagree. I thought he played a great heavy, as he always does. I suggest everyone checks this movie out in theaters, though. As big of a cinephile as I am, I don't usually urge people to see films on the big screen. To me, if a film is truly great, you can watch on your laptop or your I-Pod and still enjoy it just as much. "Beowulf" NEEDS to be seen on the big screen. It is not just a movie. It is an experience!