robert zemeckis I have always found him to be an excellent director, except for the occasional perfectly forgettable blunder, but since his magnificent ‘Cast Away’ he seems not to want to have anything to do with live-action films, concentrating ever since on animation, trying to find a perfection that I like. I fear it will never achieve, although it will be able to give us visual feasts such as ‘Beowulf’, or his past experience with the undervalued ‘Polar Express’. Zemeckis is a director who has been obsessed with technological advances for a long time, he has always liked visual virtuosity, something that he has made clear to us in many of his titles (the little leaf of ‘Forrest Gump’, or impossible shots of ‘What the Truth Hides’, to cite just two examples). Now, in a field that is advancing by leaps and bounds, he will be able to experience whatever he wants, and in fact his next film, ‘A Christmas Carol’, already in pre-production, belongs once again to the field of animation. .
And the truth is that the changes with respect to ‘Polar Express’ are enormously substantial, not only technically, but plot-wise. If in the film starring Tom Hanks there were clear childish elements that bordered on pettiness, for more than obvious reasons, in ‘Beowulf’ consciously departs from all that, and despite the fact that we are dealing with a heroic fantasy film, a genre that is successful among children, the film is not intended for this type of audience, resulting in a rather adult story, with lurid and hard details not fit for childish minds. All this, thanks to a concise and worked scriptthe work of Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, who adapt a famous epic poem, and do not shy away from introducing the odd element that seems to come from a twisted mind.
robert zemeckis he directs with his usual efficiency, giving the film an impressive rhythm, in which nothing seems to be left over or missing, perfectly combining the spectacular moments with others that are not so spectacular, and achieving one of the most entertaining films of the season, beyond the attempt at visual perfection that its director intends to find. And this is where the film has its worst things, especially in the attempt to make the characters resemble the actors who lend their voices and movements to them. Perhaps in this aspect the most accomplished is Anthony Hopkins, curiously one of the best defined characters in any aspect. But in the rest, inexpressiveness takes over all of them, especially in the cases of Robin Wright Penn and John Malkovich, who seem dead walking because they are so inexpressive. And let’s not talk about the substantial change that exists with respect to reality with Ray Winstone, which makes him seem much more herculean than he is, or Angelina Jolie, with whom something unthinkable happens: drawing is more desirable than the real one. . Maybe all this is done on purpose, but one can’t help but think about it while watching the movie.
In the case of Crispin Glover things change, since the actor plays Grendel, a monster that has terrorized an entire kingdom, probably the best character of all, since both the director and the actor endow him with incredible humanity, reaching the point that the viewer feels really sorry for him. This is one of the successes of the film, getting excited in this way, something far more commendable than achieving visual perfection with advanced animation techniques, something that does not seem bad to me, because I am a staunch defender of animated cinema. But that does not mean that I miss flesh and blood characters, or the sense of adventure that Richard Fleischer had, for example, in his films. And with this I simply want to say that I believe that the future of cinema is not this ‘Beowulf’, that real actors can never be replaced by digitized ones. Of course, both things can live together, and Zemeckis shows it to us with this wonderful film, highly enjoyable from start to finish.