Sunday, November 18, 2007

Beowulf, Blank Bunnies and Something else that begins with a "B". (like maybe honey)

CD in Play: Funkadelic, Music For Your Mother - Funkadelic 45's

I Am, Like, Soooo Beowulf (And there are like... spoilers, you know)

So I saw the new digitally animated 3-D film, Beowulf, on Wednesday with Mr. Chuckaway. Where do I start? I liked it and didn't like it. I though Crispin Glover did a good job voicing Grendel and the animators got Grendel to look quite similar to the way I pictured him to look, though slightly less hulking. His lines were all in Old English, making what he says both familiar and unfamiliar in the same instance - a paradox Mr. Glover would enjoy I am sure.
Brendan Gleeson as Wiglaf, whose role in the film is quite a bit different than the one in the epic poem, really stands out as the most interesting character both in terms of delivery and presentation. Wiglaf is the most realistic looking character in the film, in fact there are momments when he seems extremely human, something that cannot be said for the other characters. His delivery is the most natural, along with Glover's, and the least intrusive of the characters. Gleeson is a great actor and truly deserves the recognition he is due.
Actually, much of what I like about the film has to do with Gleeson and Glover. Beowulf and the other Geats (an area that is now the southern regoins of Sweden close to Denmark) are dressed remarkably similar to the way the Spartans would have been dressed. Their armor is not at all Northern European and the line "I - am - Beowulf!" strikes me as being rather similar in tone and delivery to Gerard Butler's line in 300: "We - are - Sparta!" And it is that sort of taking liberties with history that I despise.
The year the action takes palce is stated to be 507, yet it looks remarkably similar Scandinavian life in the late 8th century. The Danes and Geats talk about Iceland and Vinland, but Iceland was discovered by the Norsemen sometime around the middle of the 9th century. (It was settled by 874 AD) Vinland (wherever Vinland may exaclty have been) was discovered by Leif Eiriksson around the year 1000. The Viking Age is said to have begun in 789 with the destruction of Lindisfarne Abbey off the coast of England, though records show much earlier raids. However it is after Lindisfarne that we see the expansion of the Viking world, and they were certainly not a factor in the world circa 507.
Given that the mode of dress, armor, weapons ships, knowledge of the world is so significantly advanced from the world of the 6th century Scandinavians: why not just have set the film in the 9th century? Why saddle the film with such inaccuracies? I realise that most of the audience will not pick up on this, it is just a movie - but people do have an amazing capacity for taking in and taking away all sorts of inaccuracies from films and other entertainments and perpetuating them.
Ray Winstone, whom I like as an actor, did not do a convincing voice-over as Beowulf. He didn't sell the character. Winstone hadn't read the epic poem, which he consedered a good thing as it would allow him to approach the character on his own terms. Didn't work. And Angelina Jolie's voice sounds like and attempt to immitate either Sara Berner's Mama Buzzard from Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid or June Foray's Natasha Fatale from Rocky and Bullwinkle. As a re-write and updating of the story Grendel's mother, obviously, can't be a horrific, vengeful monster - she has to be a shapely seductress who looks a lot like Ms. Jolie herself. Hmmm?
Anyhow, I just didn't care for the film.

All Qee'd Up (This'd be the Blank Bunny portion)

I have been wracking my brains for a Christmas present for Gavin and Maria's youngest daughter. I stayed with them a while ago and ended up taking her room, so I wanted to make it something interesting. I came across Qee. (Official site is I'd seen these before as I read Juxtapoz from time to time and then some of the artist I have met online customise these things.
I was at Elfsar and found these small 3.5" ones, Baby Qee, for sale with either angel wings or a devil tail. They are blank and are meant to be customized by the individual. Seems perfect for this little girl of 10, who is very creative and actually has some similar toys in shape and appearance. (just not able to customize them) What to get her? I have some pics of what people do with these things below.


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