Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Zemeckis' Vision


Trailer #2 for 'Beowulf' is up, and this one gives us a much better idea of director Robert Zemeckis' vision for this movie than the first trailer. His camera, of course, is never still but never looks busy. The performance-capture is more natural-looking than Zemeckis' previous attempts -- 'The Polar Express' had a pasty 2-D feel, and 'Monster House' (while better) covered the range from cartoony in some scenes to eerily realistic (even bizarre) in others.


From the look of 'Beowulf' one gets the feeling Zemeckis is in his element and would prefer not to work in conventional live-action film again. (In fact, his next project is an animated version of 'A Christmas Carol'). Unlike 'The Polar Express' and 'Monster House', 'Beowulf' could be considered a live-action movie which happens to have been shot using an alternate technology in order to support an effects-driven plot, but which is filmic in all other traditional respects -- it has parts which call for the physical talents of good actors (i.e., they can't be drawn or conjured up in a computer [at least, not as convincingly]), and dialogue which is not on-the-nose or 'animation-esque', as well as subtle and non-verbal acting (quite a feat for a performance-capture piece, which, before this, relied on obvious acting and artificial over-expression).

The first trailer really didn't do it for me, but this one has me sold. Zemeckis is going for story here, not product, and yet it would seem he has found the best of both worlds...the beautiful acting found in the best movies, captured (intact) and transplanted into a world where anything can happen. His results are convincing.

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