Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Movie Review I forgot to post: Beowulf and Waltz with Bashir

(Well wow blogsphere, I completely spaced on posting this. I wrote this review up in February, and just didn't post it for some reason. I'm actually posting this from the future on March 25th. I guess I got sidetracked, but hey, better late than never right?)

Ok blogsphere,

Sometimes I miss a thing or two that comes out, and don't bother looking for it until prompted by something later. This is limited to the media I consume, nothing else. I don't want you to think I forget to brush my teeth or anything like that, because that'd be gross. But in the case of movies, it's really easy for me to lose track of...well alot.

So, tonight would be a prime example, as I watched some video of bad Letterman guests, Crispin Glover topping the list. As you might suspect, I like Crispin Glover. I start watching interviews with him, one of them featuring his roles in film, including his role as Grendel in Beowulf. I decide to watch a Crispin Glover movie.

With the choice being between his latest Hollywood films, I decide to watch Beowulf instead of Charlie's Angels Full Throttle.

While I enjoyed quite a few technical aspects of the film, I found the writing to be lacking. Because this is an old movie I've watched, I won't bother with the details of the story, but this is a retelling of the epic poem of Beowulf. Basically this is the equivalent of a Marvel Comics What-If? Where something that we know to be, is no longer, and the universe moves forward from that point.

Beowulf is one of the bad issues.

No offense to Neil Gaiman, or the ancient epic poem, but the way this was written was pretty bad. They completely lost me as a viewer, not because it was confusing, but because they started it out with such compelling beginnings, only to end in the most predictable and boring manner possible. Honestly, it wasn't a bad concept, but the way it was executed, was just too big of a let down for me. Bad storytelling, makes for bad film.

Ironically, Waltz with Bashir, is the complete opposite. Like Beowulf, it's technically great, what they do with the animation style is nothing short of phenomenal. But the real draw is the story of the director Ari, and his memories of war. His introspective in the time he spent in war, is told mostly through other people, who all have their own memories of the war as well. The movie forces one to think very hard about the things they say, and the stories they tell, as the movie's theme is actually how the human mind responds and relates to memories. Which makes the animation perfect for such a task.

Also it reveals an almost hidden history, about the war in Lebanon in the 80's. I know there are quite a few people that have already been informed about the nature of the fighting over there, but I for one had no idea that such things happened over there. Even though the war in Iraq has shown us glimpses of their lives, I had no idea that the middle east had such a sorrowful history of war. I've read Persepolis as well, but that's from one person's perspective. This documentary showcases multiple viewpoints, as each person interviewed tells you their own personal story, which is recreated through the animation as well as actual video of the massacre they speak of.

I really like this film. The subject matter is very strong, and gives quite a bit of real insight into the world of soldiers and the history of the middle east. Not only this, but it also showcases the abilities of animation, as it almost puts you there in the memories of the soldiers, allowing what they saw to unfold right before your eyes. Granted, I love animation, so I enjoy how they illustrated the soldiers memories. Though I can see why a person would think that it's too fake for them, as some sequences might take a person out of the film. Don't let that discourage you from watching it though, as what's spoken of in the film is very real.

Bottom line, I'm glad I watched Beowulf so that I had a bad enough taste in my mouth to seek out Waltz with Bashir. Check it out if you can ^^

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