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Full-blown FX
By TOM MEEK  |  November 20, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars

VIDEO: Watch the trailer for Beowulf.

In Polar Express, Robert Zemeckis unveiled “performance capture,” a nifty process that turned actors into CGI figments. In this updating of the Old English epic of devils, demons, dragons, and the title hero, Zemeckis goes one step farther, transforming his flesh-and-blood actors into full-blown FX. As Beowulf (mostly in voice), the reliable and paunchy Ray Winstone develops a digitally chiseled physique; Angelina Jolie, as the water nymph and mother of the murderous monster plaguing a Danish kingdom (Crispin Clover the perfect choice for Grendel), fares less well and seems merely colorized. All this cutting-edge techno-wizardry spawns yet another live-action graphic novel, with Beowulf a swaggering braggart doomed by hubris. Although loyal to its roots, the story, co-scripted by Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction), wanders into new territory after the Geat warrior slays Grendel. It drops its epic posture and spews far too many double entendres. 115 minutes | Boston Common + Fenway + Fresh Pond + Circle + Suburbs
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