We went to the movies Saturday night. We were actually hoping Stardust would be there; it wasn’t, but I hadn’t realized Beowulf was already out – and it was in 3D IMAX. So we switched gears (Gaiman movies, rather) and went to see that instead. Very pretty movie. Yet another thing I hadn’t realized was that it was all animated, so it worked really well in 3D. We’d expected it to be like the most recent Harry Potter movie, which use sort of a Jazz Singer approach; only one scene was 3D and they had to interrupt the movie to tell peope to put their 3D glasses on. The performance-capture animation allowed the whole movie to be in 3D. I’m not entirely sure it made much difference; there’s a big wow-factor in the beginning, but once I got involved in the plot, I wasn’t really noticing the effects any more.

After Beowulf kills Grendel, the plot departs from the original. I was feeling grateful that it’s been so long since I read the original. But then I read the movie website, and learned there that the script doesn’t depart as far as I’d thought (possibly I read an abridged or shortened version). (They’ve hidden it well, possibly under the belief that most viewers won’t care about fidelity to the original. Go to the website, then choose About the Film -> Production Notes.) It really does continue fifty years later, after Beowulf fights Grendel’s mother; I’d forgotten or not known that. I’m pleased to see from the website that all of the changes can be, if not exactly deduced from the text, at least argued for. I should have expected that from Gaiman and Avery.

I think I looked at my watch once during the movie. I’m just not really a movie person, so from me, one watch-check is about as good as it gets. This would be worth seeing for the eye-candy alone, but it’s more so for the story. The ending is a bit more equivocal than I’d like, but some people will like it better that way. And those people might have included the original skald; Beowulf’s end befits his stature.