"Beowulf" directed by Robert Zemeckis [review]
Prescott, Nicholas Adrian
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Beowulf, the latest computer-animated blockbuster-wannabe to emerge from Hollywood’s studios, is in some ways a follow-up to director Robert Zemeckis’ 2004 CGI extravaganza, The Polar Express. Zemeckis, who has long held a kind of secondtier monopoly on Hollywood fare beneath Steven Spielberg, has always embraced cutting-edge technology in order to make the special effects in his films as eyepopping as possible. Those of us who are old enough to remember when the original Back to the Future was released (in 1985) will attest to the fact that, in its day, that film was about as remarkable for its visual effects as it was for its wildly entertaining story. Zemeckis has had many successes subsequently, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? to Forrest Gump and Castaway, and all of them have had their share of behind-the-scenes techno-gimmickry to keep them buzzing. With Beowulf, Zemeckis has continued the SFX tradition, and has looked to an extraordinarily old narrative in order to pilfer a storyline: a poem that’s roughly 1,000 years old. The results, sadly, are nowhere near as successful as Michael J. Fox in a Delorean time-machine.