I guess old-fangled human actors are okay—always using their eyeballs and faces to communicate emotions and stuff (so pretentious). But what would be really great is if you could use a camera to film human actors, and then take a computer and scribble on the footage until the humans look like expressionless, waxy, reanimated corpses! Wake up, Louisa May Alcott—it’s called the 21st century (nice bonnet). And speaking of modernity: Yeah, I’m kind of into Anglo-Saxon heroic epics, but you know what would really jazz that shit up? BOOBZ. Hella boobz. Plus, have you heard about these new individually wrapped prunes? They’re totally changing the way I eat prunes. Jesus Christ, I love the future.
Beowulf, Robert Zemeckis’s retardedly modern, 3-D, motion-capture reworking of Ye Olde English yarn, uses technology to murder the shit out of entertainment. Zemeckis takes real actors—fancy, expensive actors—and pays them to act, and then covers them up with dead-in-the-face computerized bullshit. Because it’s the future, or something. Grendel is slightly terrifying. A scene involving sea monsters rocked my ass off. Beowulf would be a perfectly enjoyable, corny, exciting, dumb action movie if it weren’t for the criminally unnecessary Madame Tussaud makeunder. Bullshit, I say.
It all starts, predictably, in the mead hall. King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) rolls up on a litter, drunk and belchy and draped in a half toga. His smooth, CGI buttocks sway and waggle like white hams. Then, just in case you didn’t notice how fabulously Dionysian he is, he hollers, “Let’s hand out some treasuuuuuuure!!!” and pelts his drunken warriors with gold. Then they perform a medieval rap.
Up on a mountain somewhere, a Garbage Pail Kid named Grendel (Crispin Glover) has no skin, very sensitive ears, and major beef with Hrothgar: the Old English equivalent of “CAN YOU GODDAMN KIDS PLEASE KEEP IT DOWN!?” He hates the rapping. He kills everyone.
Eventually, Beowulf shows up (you know it’s him because he never stops yelling, “I am BEOWULF!”) and things get homoerotic: “There have been many brave men who have come to taste my lord’s mead.” A bit of sensual chain-mail unbuckling later, and Beowulf is naked—I mean fully nude, for no reason, in front of the queen—and fights Grendel with his bare hands. John Malkovich contributes a sarcastic slow clap. Then Angelina Jolie’s golden boobz come out of a lake. Then Beowulf bones her. Somewhere, your college English professor gnaws his own face off, and Robert Zemeckis unwraps a single, sticky, delicious prune.