I went to see Stardust a week back. I had read the book previously, and thought it was very good. The movie didn't live up to it, but I still enjoyed a couple of hours of lighthearted humor. I took notice of the upcoming fantasy movies, which follow the current trend of fantasy book-to-movie adaptations.
Mister Troll lent me his copy of Beowulf a few years back. I did not enjoy it as much as he did, mostly because I found it difficult to read. It is an epic poem, originally written in Old English, and even though I was reading a translated version, reading it was like wading through muck.
But I have to say: Holy crap this movie looks bad. I like Neal Gaiman's work and all (he's co-directing it), but the movie trailer alone highlights three big problems:
1. Mrs. Gruff turned to me during the trailer and said, "Hey, it looks like a video game." She was right. It looked like a video game, and a bad one at that, including funky lighting, bad computer-generated monsters, and bad acting.
2. It deviates from the original story quite a bit. Grendel's mom trying to seduce Beowulf? What? Sure, the original tale wasn't that great either, mostly consisting of a big guy beating up some nasty monsters that attack his home. However, throwing in a weird seduction scene with a monster-lady Angelina Jolie does not really improve it (well, some might disagree).
3. It looks so cliched, so done already. The trailer features a zoom-out shot of big ugly Grendel (a nasty monster) screeching as it attacks. Haven't we seen this exact shot in five or six bad movies already? Come on, you can do better than that.
The Dark is Rising
This looked a little more promising to me. But then again, The Dark is Rising was one of my favorite series growing up. Some of the books in it were not that strong, but that's just Susan Cooper succumbing to Rule Number 1.
I also could not help but noticing Ian McShane playing a major role in the cast. McShane plays one of the major roles in the HBO series, Deadwood, which my father (Grandpa Gruff) hooked me on about a month ago. McShane's character, Al Swearengen, is one of the nastiest people imaginable, and McShane plays him to perfection. And somehow he manages to make you sympathize with the character (sometimes).
I'm really only including this movie for completeness. I have not read the books, but maybe I should check them out. The movie looks fun, filled with lots of creepy exploration and fantasy action.
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