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Quint has your first look inside the offices of Robert Zemeckis' BEOWULF!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here taking a break from the Santa Barbara Film Festival for the day to tell you about a small detour I took on my way up here from LA.

I was drawn to Ventura on my way up the 101 to Santa Barbara where I was ambushed by a crazed individual with a wicked gleam in his eye. I recognized this madman as none other than Roger Avary. He held me hostage at a '50s themed diner for a whole meal and then leaned in close as The Platters began TWILIGHT TIME and said, "I have something to show you."

Images of SILENT HILL ran through my head. I had talked to this happy lunatic before about the video game adaptation and after having seen the trailer for Christophe Gans' flick it has shot up into my top 2 or 3 most anticipated films of '06. Avary had looked further into the future than I had, though.

In 2007 Robert Zemeckis is releasing his next film, an adaptation of BEOWULF that was scripted by Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman. The cast includes Crispin Glover as the monstrous Grendel (the first time Glover has reteamed with Zemeckis since all that bad blood surrounding BACK TO THE FUTURE 2), Ray Winstone as Beowulf, Angelina Jolie as the demonic mother of Grendel, Anthony Hopkins as the King being tormented by Grendel. Also in the cast is Brendan Gleeson, Alison Lohman, John Malkovich and Robin Wright Penn.

There has been some concerned discussion about this film online since it was announced. People are worried it will be watered down or kiddie friendly because of Zemeckis choosing to make this story using the process he calls Performance Capture, which he used recently on the kid's book turned holiday family film POLAR EXPRESS. I'd be lying if I said I was a little disappointed that he wasn't filming it live-action as I've always wanted to see this story done balls to the wall in flesh and blood on the big screen.

When we walked into the unassuming Beowulf offices the first thing I saw was an L shaped set-up going along two walls with a flat panel big screen TV on each wall, connected to at least 10 computers manned by around 6 people. The rest of the office walls were covered with posters for BACK TO THE FUTURE and its sequels, and various other Zemeckis films. There was a sweet-ass BACK TO THE FUTURE pinball machine in the meeting room down the hall from this set-up. I didn't play it, but I really, really, really wanted to.

I was introduced to Christopher Browne, the post production coordinator, who led Avary and myself to a back room where the "Beowulf Bible" was sitting on the conference table. It was bound in thick, brown weathered leather with the title BEOWULF imprinted on the cover and was about as thick as a big city phone book. Within this tome was the movie told in 8X10-ish sized color stills, concept art and computer tests.

I was looking at Ray Winstone as Beowulf, one of the first pics, and was marveling at his costume and Viking beard. I was assuming it was a lighting study or costume design test, a model for the animators. Browne then told me that what I was looking at wasn't a still, but a computer generated image, a test shot of what the final product will look like. I looked closer and I didn't believe him. I'm not exaggerating when I say this still was photoreal.

Browne told me about how Zemeckis took the criticisms of POLAR EXPRESS to heart, specifically the "dead eye syndrome." The animation work on POLAR EXPRESS was pretty phenomenal, but even the biggest fans of that movie can't deny there was this doll-like feeling to the characters, that there wasn't anything behind their eyes, making it really really creepy to watch these otherwise living beings with no spark of soul or humanity in their eyes.

So for Beowulf they used this process called OEG (electro oculography) which maps the actor's eye movements, down to eye-lid flutters. They place three sensors on the skin around the actor's eyes that pick up electrical pulses given off by the eye muscles and surrounding nerves.

They showed me a side-by-side comparison of Ray Winstone before this new technology gave him human eyes and after. The difference in realism is astonishing. The "after" shot looked photoreal and the before shot looked like a top of the line computer game character. The secret to realism with these CG creations is all in the eyes, commonly referred to as the windows to the soul. Weta Digital got that with Gollum and King Kong and Lucas with Yoda in Episode 3.

I saw Hopkins as the King, Gleeson as a Viking (of course he's a Viking) and an example of how you can take away or add on years to an actor using a still of Robin Wright Penn. One pic had her subtly wrinkled, aged in her 50s and another was the same exact pose, shot, lighting, everything but had her looking like she did in her PRINCESS BRIDE days. I would have believed either as a real photograph.

Then there is Angelina Jolie as the demon mother. Good God. If you've ever thought Jolie was attractive at all you will explode when you see her in this. The stills they showed me had her naked with this T-1000 like liquid gold covering parts of her body. There were 3 photos with varying degrees of skin shown, the last just barely covered what the skimpiest of bikini bottoms would cover. Her face is absolute evil seductress, as pretty as she's ever appeared on film before. Va-va-voom!

And Grendel. Everybody wants to hear about Crispin Glover as Grendel. When I flipped the page to the monster I immediately bent down, nose near the plastic to take a close look at him. In my mind I had Grendel pictured as this long taloned, large beast... muscular, cool looking, viscous, but sleek, you know?

What I saw was much more disturbing.

In the concept art, Grendel seems to stand about 15 feet tall and is almost completely hairless. His arms and legs are long, ending in arthritic looking knuckled hands and feet. He looks bent and awkward, his body covered in tumorous lumps. His skin is gangrene green and covered in sores and splotches. His teeth are crooked, broken and protruding from his maw. He looks a little like what I pictured the Slow Mutants in Stephen King's Dark Tower series to be.

The thing about the design of Grendel I loved the most was that his gut is misshapen and protruding unnaturally, almost like a starving Ethiopian. The skin on the gut is just translucent enough so you can see the intestines underneath. Yeah, it's really damn disgusting.

My favorite piece of production art involving Grendel was his shadow massive on a wall with some terrified men with swords running about. The shadow showed an action... Grendel had his arms up in a Y shape. Both hands had something gripped in them, but it wasn't until taking a closer look at the left hand that you can make out what it is. You can see legs hanging down. He had just ripped a man in half. I desperately wanted to steal this out of the office, but I was under too much scrutiny. Sorry.

Grendel looks absolutely nothing like Crispin Glover, at least in the stills I saw... well, he did look creepy and Glover is creepy, but it didn't look like Crispin in make-up or a suit. Actually, if he shared a resemblance to any cast member I'd say there was a slight Anthony Hopkins look to his face. According to Avary, he and Neil Gaiman went to the original epic poem and did as literal a translation as possible, with the only liberties filling in holes in the story, either gaps in time or something left unexplained.

In this instance, they realized that Grendel was the son of the demon and The King, which would be the reason he's tormenting his father, as well as dragging living men off to his mother.

I also saw much artwork on Beowulf's dragon son, environment tests that ranged from snow-capped mountains to walled cities to Jolie's skeleton-littered cave-like den. All of this was concept art. It looked good, but I can't really get a feel for how it'll look in the film itself. For instance, much of it looked painted (think Frazetta brush strokes) and with the technology at Zemeckis' disposal he could very well translate that directly and make a moving painting or it could just be like regular concept art used for reference, colors, lighting, etc.

After I flipped through the whole book, I was led back out to the room with the L-shaped monitor and computer set-up I told you about earlier. In this room, we had layout artists: Trevor Tuttle, Matthew Ward, Harald Kraut and Jason McDade as well as integration artists Chad Lichty and John Meehan, all plugging away on their computers.

This is the stuff that blew me away, so pay attention...

I had always heard about how this kind of filmmaking gave an immense amount of freedom to the director, but I never realized how much.

Let's start with capturing the performance... There were no cameras involved, with the exception of those that read the data from the mo-cap signals attached to the performer. They captured audio and their movements only. Since there is no camera that means there was no set-up, no framing, no stopping to get a different angle. The performers, I was told, treated it much like a play. They ran through whole scenes without stopping, their movements and voices being recorded.

So, after the story has been acted out what happens is the smart tech people take the mo-cap information and lay over a sort of rudimentary animation. This is what I saw. It was about on par with a decent PS2 cut-scene. Full environments, full color, fully costumed characters with the faces of those playing the roles. Nowhere near final, but you can see the whole scene.

They then set up what I guess would be called a virtual studio with this information. On the ceiling was a contraption that consisted of 3 long vertical bars that were crossed with two short horizontal bars (almost like a number sign - #). There are sensors on those bars.

Underneath this contraption, on the floor, was a digital video camera with the lens-cap permanently attached. This lens cap had been whited out and the word "Zemeckavision" was written across it. The camera isn't important, it's actually doing nothing. All the info comes from a 3 inch big sensor attached to front of the camera. I was told they had previously used a coffee cup instead of a camera, but just mentally using a camera made things easier.

What happens here is the computer geniuses set up a sequence with the aforementioned rudimentary animation and Zemeckis picks up the video camera, which is being tracked by the sensors above. Those sensors tell the computers where the camera is within this virtual set and on the two widescreen monitor son the walls you see what the camera would see in this virtual set.

Essentially, Zemeckis is floating around this virtual set. He's able to move around until he finds the perfect angle and then they'll run the scene, recording the angle of the camera. It's almost like Matrix-time. The world is frozen, each character in the scene is frozen in their starting point and you can move around them, in the environment and see them from whatever angle you want. When you're ready they hit play on the world and everything unfolds, but from whatever point of view you've chosen.

Pretty cool, eh? I can see how addictive this must be to someone who wants to control every aspect of filmmaking. You can literally walk around a set and pick whatever angle you want from the very best performance your actors gave, all without having to relight and place the camera again.

I was also told that they can program a dolly move, map it out through the scene where you just stand in one place and tilt up or down or pan as the dolly rolls through the scene.

Essentially they have all this raw material that Zemeckis shapes scene by scene, shot by shot and slowly assembles a rough cut of the movie. That is gathered together and then moment by moment it's animated using, to its full extent, all the motion capture information, including the OEG information and the result is what we'll see in the theaters next year.

The first scene that they showed me this technology with was set in a barroom, with Beowulf arguing with a group of men, one that stuttered very badly. The rest of the group makes fun of him. There's also a barmaid (with ample cleavage), scrubbing down a table that gets a few cat-calls.

I asked if I could hold the camera and give it a shot. They obliged me and I walked throughout the frozen scene, going for close-ups on random characters, trying dutch angles, zooming into the cleavage... I might be a perv, but it did get a laugh. Then they ran the scene with me whipping awkwardly from character to character. They didn't record it, but it was really neat to get to play in the sandbox a bit.

The next scene (Slight spoiler here if you don't know the tale) they showed me was a sequence that happens immediately after Beowulf cuts Grendel's arm off and nails it to a board that is hung up within the King's building. The scene has Anthony Hopkins up on a platform giving a speech, the beast's arm hung up above and behind him. Beowulf and his men stand in front of the King's platform. Hopkins says something like, "This place for me has been a hall of sadness... but today the monster's rule has ended!" He gives his thanks to Beowulf and offers him many women as a token of his gratitude.

After they showed me this sequence, they asked me if I wanted to have a go at actually directing this scene. How could I not accept?

They set it up to record my camera movements. I took off my glasses and put my eye up to the eye-piece (the info on the widescreen monitors was seen there as well) and tried to pick an interesting angle. I decided to place the camera low, looking up at Hopkins with Grendel's arm in the background screen left. I told them I was ready, but they wouldn't let me continue unless I called, "Action!" I think they were just trying to make me sound like a moron, you know... have a laugh at the geek, but I played along.

The scene unfolded and I moved the camera over only when Hopkins leaned down to put his hand on Beowulf's shoulder, which resulted in Grendel's arm being framed between Beowulf and The King. It was a happy accident, but one that looked really good.

Of course they were just entertaining a visitor, so I don't harbor any expectations that my framing will make it into the film, but it really was a rush. And hey... it exists on that hard drive somewhere. I was also told that Steven Spielberg had come in the Monday before and set-up a shot in the film, so whether it makes it or not, I got to play with the same toys as some of my childhood heroes.

As of my visit they were only just beginning their work, with absolutely nothing final that moved. As great as the stills were, the real test is when they make them move. The stills are impressive, but to trick the eye with a moving character is a lot more difficult.

I also talked to them about a rumor I heard about a possible dual release that would see the PG-13 version go wide and an NC-17 IMAX version go limited. They're still in talks and this is a very delicate proposal as far as the MPAA goes. They haven't approved of this before, worried that impressionable youths will go to see the NC-17 by accident, I guess. No matter what, they're definitely considering an unrated cut for the DVD.

So, that's what's going on with BEOWULF right now. I'm a pretty old fashioned guy. I still prefer film over the best of HD technology, I still like well-done practical effects over CG, I think matte paintings look better than digital backgrounds. I don't think this kind of filmmaking should be the norm, but I think it opens the doors to some amazing advancements in filmmaking. If they get to a point where this really gets to be photoreal, then just the deaging or aging technology is amazing.

This might be the future, either in full or in part. It might just be a new form of animation, a new way to tell a story. I have no real way of telling until I see at least a few minutes of finished animation cut together. What I can say is seeing the rough designs and tools that are being used to tell this story has me drooling in anticipation of seeing the final product. The passion of everyone involved, from Roger Avary to the tech guys who showed me all the toys, is contagious and strong enough to seep into the film itself.

A heartfelt thanks to Roger Avary for setting this whole thing up. Thanks also to Christopher Browne for leading me though everything, Matt Markwalder for keeping the line of communication open between Roger and myself, to the tech guys for letting me get a glimpse at the cool shit they get to do every day and, of course, to Robert Zemeckis for approving my visit and letting you AICN readers get the first look inside this project.

I hope you guys enjoyed this first look into Robert Zemeckis' BEOWULF. I'm hoping to trick some concept art out of the production in the coming weeks, but it's been hard going so far. I won't give up the good fight, though. Hopefully I'll have something to show you soon. 'Til then this is Quint heading off to more flicks at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, bidding you a fond farewell and adieu.

-Quint





Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 7, 2006, 7:48 p.m. CST

    Chalk another "Lucky Fucking Bastard" award for Quint..

    by Tubbs Tattsyrup

    Boy, you sure get around, don't you? Anyway - this sounds fantastic. Good to see they're still advancing the CGI technology and ACKNOWLEDGING that they fucked up royally with the performance capture in Polar Express. I'll also say that I CANNOT FUCKING WAIT to see Crispin Glover as Grendel (even in CG form). That character design sounds fucking sweet.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 7:50 p.m. CST

    will this suck as hard as john mctiernan's beowulf?

    by newc0253

    hopefully not.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:02 p.m. CST

    I WANT TO SEE! I WANT TO SEE!

    by mraig

    When will these stills be released to the public?

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:05 p.m. CST

    LOL

    by Ribbons

    Too true, too true. From having a cameo in 'King Kong' to hob-knobbing it with James Cameron to getting a look at this new iteration of 'Beowulf' -- youse a lucky sonuva bitch, Quint.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:06 p.m. CST

    Damn cool, Quint.

    by CatVutt

    All shades of Green over here. Sounds like it was a blast!

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:08 p.m. CST

    Actually, now that I've read the *whole* article...

    by Tubbs Tattsyrup

    This sort of infinite directorial freedom is something I dreamed up a few years ago. It was when motion capture was being used for Gollum...I thought, if you can do this, you could have the scene completely there in the computer and set up any camera angle, costume, lighting scheme, or set, you liked. Motion capture cameras! - Sure enough, the documentaries on the LOTR EEs demonstrated Jackson using such a device for the Cave Troll scene. And now this. This technology has the potential to create THE most mind-blowing cinema. As long as it's used effectively, that is. I cannot wait for this film. I didn't know it was written by Avary and Gaiman until now, either - this movie will rule, I'm guessing, from the stuff in this article. Thanks Quint.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:16 p.m. CST

    I've seen some images... its awesome.

    by modlight

    Its like a Heavy Metal comic.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:16 p.m. CST

    best quote...

    by Jubba

    "you can take away or add on years to an actor using a still of Robin Wright Penn"....poor girl doesn't like that bad - you can add years to any actor just using her face? now that's power

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Anyone Else Seen the OTHER New Beowulf Live-Action??

    by DumbPunter

    Let me just say that THANK GOD this feedback is positive, because I've had the questionable luck to see the live-action Beowulf film that was recently made starring Gerard Butler, and man does that one SUCK. I mean, really, really bad. As in Grendel being a caveman that has survived and now is seeking vengeance against the group of men that defiled his caveman-father's grave. So yeah, the fact that Grendel is actually a monster and not a dude in a rubber-muscle-suit is enough to have me excited again about the potential of the classic tale reaching the big screen. Too bad though, Gerard Butler has a cool look to him, just needs some better roles.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:22 p.m. CST

    I Read BeoWulf In College.

    by skoobyx

    Okay, community college. Its pretty damn confusing. Theres this part where he goes underwater and finds a door in the bottom of this lake and opens it up and fights underwater with this monster. Did people back then really not know you can't breathe underwater? That seems hard to believe. Anyway this could be good. If you've never seen The 13th Warrior (how did marketing NOT think Eaters of the Dead sounded better?) you should check it out. Its a good adaptation of a Michael Crichton adaptation of the same story.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:25 p.m. CST

    the "other" live action movie

    by Jubba

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0402057/ trailer looks ghastly...here: http://www.kinopremiery.cz/trailery/308/tr/high.htm

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:31 p.m. CST

    Beowulf and Grendel

    by ziroc

    There is a Beowulf and Grendel film coming out in this spring that looks pretty good. The trailer can be seen here http://www.movie-list.com/trailers.php?id=beowulfandgrendel

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:47 p.m. CST

    Now this sounds good

    by Terry_1978

    People constantly complain about CG humans not looking good enough, I like that Zemeckis is choosing to address it and try to get rid of the living mannequin look most of them have. PG-13 CG movie that hasn't been done since Final Fantasy...only this time hopefully it won't be boring.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Beowolf....

    by vinceklortho

    Nice report there Quint. Sounds like they are seriously trying hard for this one. It could be completely revolutionary or just completely bomb. Interesting rumor about an NC-17 version being released...and on IMAX? I bet this movie would be sweet on IMAX. Hey, it's Zemeckis though, he's due for a good movie. He hits and misses all the time. One could be an instant classic or another could be just a forgetable mess. But, I trust this story could be what this technology was waiting for..can't wait to see some footage; or should I say "footage" nowadays? Till then, fellow geeks, adieu!

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Now this sounds good

    by Terry_1978

    I want to check this out now. And I like Zemeckis wants to address the mannequin look most CG humans have as of late, and hopefully be the first to get it right.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:56 p.m. CST

    Fascinating implications

    by John-Locke

    If this is as good and photo realistic as you say Eric then this could be the norm in a decade or so, on the up side it'll mean we'll get to see things like The Dark Tower finallt realised with ease, especially with the aging thing, that'll be key. I hope it just finds it's place and doesn't become the norm for all films, if Scarlett finally goes full frontal in a film I want it to be her flesh I'm going crazy over.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 8:59 p.m. CST

    this sounds awesome!

    by mrgreentheplant

    a question: if the technology got good enough, theoretically couldnt someone create photorealistic footage of someone robbing a bank (or perhaps, of angelina jolie doing.. cool stuff..)? i wondered this when matrix 2 came out as well. i wonder if there will be government regulations for this kind of stuff. anyways, can't wait for the extended underwater battle and the dragon fight, if they decide to include it.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 9 p.m. CST

    B&G with real actors, real scenery...

    by Arion214

    Guess film lovers can differ but I'm looking forward to seeing the live action Beowulf and Grendel. http://www.beowulf-movie.com/ If it can just find a U.S. distributor -- somebody? anybody?

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 9:04 p.m. CST

    True, POLAR EXPRESS was a disappointment but...

    by JohnGalt2005

    that's because it was 12 minute story expanded beyond all reason to feature length. I still have faith in Zemeckis as a filmmaker and I will champion Cast Away and Contact as great films till the day I die. Hopefully they have refined "performance capture" to the point where it will really bring this story to life. Because really, I only need two words to get me to see a movie: Crispin Glover.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 9:04 p.m. CST

    Damn Quint....

    by Jaka

    ...man, your movie stuff is what's making this site right now, period! Another great one. First thing, being a huge Gaiman fan, I've known about his involvment for a VERY long time. But I had no idea it was this far into production. Cool. Second, SO glad that Zemeckis took the criticism for PE to heart and made and effort to do something different with this film. The man has done some great things in his career - but PE was just completely flat to me (waaaay more to not like than just the "doll eye" syndrome - and I'll kindly take a finders fee from whoever steals that term, lol). Third, I LOVE that WETA caused Lucas (even though I will STILL never watch ep I-III ever again) and now Zemeckis to step up. What I want to know is, did anybody else get a glimmer of hope from Quint describing the aging/unaging of RWP in regards to PJ et all getting around to making a Hobbit film WITH Ian Holm? Although I will not be bothered if they don't make one, and would BARELY be bothered if they made one without Ian - I would be pretty damn happy if the technology allows them to do it. It just seems like, particularly with the success of TLTW&TW and the fact that they appear to be going through with filming all 7 HP books, that The Hobbit needs to be made.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 9:33 p.m. CST

    Brodester

    by skoobyx

    That's not a bad point, but is making up a document for a fictional work really dishonest? If I write a phony 'we hid the aliens' memo in the beginning of an Area 51 novel aren't people supposed to guess that I'm just making it up? Why does everyone expect novels to be some kind of journalism? I've lost track of the number of people who've tried to regale me with the 'scholarship' they've picked up from The Da Vinci Code. Don't think I'm directing this to you personally. I'm just saying. BTW have you read State of Fear? Its the most interesting Chrichton book in ages, and I have to say he makes a pretty good case for the idea that we're just fooling ourselves. Apparently he was expecting some backlash as there's about a hundred books noted in the bibliography as his way of saying 'don't blame me, here's some evidence'. Of course I shouldn't just make up my mind based on a novel.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 9:42 p.m. CST

    Global warming is not a fact

    by JohnGalt2005

    At least not MAN-MADE global warming. The sun is getting hotter. Period. It does that from time to time. Hence the slight trend in global warming. Educate yourself. Crichton is absolutely right--politicians who manipulate bullshit science for some retarded agenda are scum.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 9:45 p.m. CST

    Brodester and skoobyx

    by Jaka

    Is he really trying to refute global warming - or just working on some of the theories out there now that the planet would be doing this whether humans were around or not? Because that is now a working theory. Apolgies for going so off topic - I don't read Chrichton's books. Never have. skoobyx - you catch the History Channel show on TDC? THAT was a VERY enlightening look at what IS fact, what COULD BE true, what is based around rumor and myth, and what is just plain made up. I point people to that show whenever the start trying to get silly with me about TDC.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 9:47 p.m. CST

    JohnGalt, well....

    by Jaka

    ...I wouldn't go THAT far. I tend to believe that BOTH theories are accurate. We ARE contributing to it - but some form of global warming would be happening regardless.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 9:52 p.m. CST

    Special effects or not...

    by IMScully33

    This sounds pretty lame, story wise. Grendel the son of Hrothgar? Scantily clad Grendel's mother--that's just pandering to the fanboys. Sorry, I still want a CHANCE to see the live-action one, which Zemeckis seems determined to snuff. That gives me alot of faith in his version when he can't stand to compete.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:08 p.m. CST

    JohnGalt

    by dimnix

    Michael Crichton is an author of FICTION NOVELS, not the kind of guy to get your information from. The earth IS warming up, there are more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that contributes highly to the warming of the earth. Surely some of this is natural, but to think that the chemicals and gases we pump into the sky have no impact is fucking retarded. It's not something politicans are behind, creating some kind of big lie... hell, the politicians would rather not think about it. It's consultants, scientists, policy writers, and they're not using it as an agenda - they do it because they are concerned that if something isnt done soon to slow down the worldwide emissions it may be too late. Maybe they're wrong, but to sit back and wait for absolute proof, when it may soon be too late, is ridiculous.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:15 p.m. CST

    Hmm...

    by Renholder

    Beowulf is a great story and I have always felt that it would translate well to the big screen but I would kind of like seeing this done with the old run of the mill type of effects. That way the film would have a real gritty type feel to it and not that polished CG look. On the other hand I will take Angelina Jolie however I can get her.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:15 p.m. CST

    Malignant narcisism...

    by JohnGalt2005

    will be the downfall of humanity. But I suppose it is the natural state of man to think that EVERYTHING revolves around them. We have no more effect on the Earth than an anthill has on a 40-acre field. But it makes us feel good (in some perverse way) to think that we have the power to save and/or destroy the Earth. So it is, I suppose...

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:16 p.m. CST

    sarah polley's in it and that all i care about

    by oscarmike

    love them canadians

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:21 p.m. CST

    And by the way...

    by JohnGalt2005

    The idea that "temperatures have rapidly changed" is hogwash. Good data is only available back to 1960 and most charts are able to "extrapolate" another 100 years back (for those of you who don't know, extrapolate is the scientific term for "made up"). Last time, I check the Earth is billions of years old (unless you're an uber-devout Christian), so there is no way to deduce any rational analysis of climate change for the Earth over time.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:26 p.m. CST

    Well, Quite The Stimulating Panel Discussion Here.

    by skoobyx

    Glad to see something that hasn't gone from zero to flame war in six seconds. I really don't have an idea to what extent global warming is a manmade problem, and if anything that book made me less sure. He writes a pretty lengthy afterword where he talks about the danger of politicized science (eugenics, repressed abuse memories etc.) which I agreed with completely, but then again I don't want to be someone who's swayed so much by fiction. I guess if I had the time I'd like to read everything in the bibliography and some second opinions before deciding exactly where I stand but I don't have the time, and even if I did is there any guarantee I'd come to the right conclusions? What do you do as an amatuer when forced to decide between experts with conflicting opinons? It's something to think about.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:27 p.m. CST

    This sounds amazing, but...

    by Annamaria

    ... seriously, why doesn't this site give any attention to the live-action version that has been out?!?! You said yourself that you wanted to see a live-action version, Quint, so what's stopping you? I mean, honestly, I love digital filmmaking, it IS the future, although this is a bit extreme, and I will definitely see it, but please, at least MENTION the other movie. This is a movie site, come on, guys. Anyway, some of this stuff sounds unreal. I'm shocked that this technique exists, this is just amazing. I hope I get to be able to try out something like this. Really great report.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Dude...

    by JiggamanSpence

    Can't fucking wait. An NC17 IMAX version! That cant happen, because it would be way too cool.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:44 p.m. CST

    I don't know, I never read STATE OF FEAR....

    by JohnGalt2005

    I am basing my statements on my own analysis of data I have read from scientific journals. Does Crichton make any mention of data going back to 1960? That would be quite a coincidence. Look, people, you have access to more data and information and research than any other time in history...USE IT. Don't rely on Crichton any more than you should rely on Dennis Kucinich. Use your brain...that lump three feet above your ass. Galt out.

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:54 p.m. CST

    The data from the last half century is fine...

    by JohnGalt2005

    No one is refuting that. But you want to plot a trend for 3 billion years based on 50 years of data? I think statisticians will be on my side...

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:57 p.m. CST

    And how did a talkback about BEOWOLF...

    by JohnGalt2005

    deteriorate into a discussion about global warming? What a sad state of events this is...

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 10:59 p.m. CST

    Quint had to suck someone's dick to get access to this!

    by acroyear77

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 11:10 p.m. CST

    "Tat was all scarasm in case you couldn't figure...

    by JohnGalt2005

  • Feb. 7, 2006, 11:21 p.m. CST

    Country grammer?

    by JohnGalt2005

    Try country grammar.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, midnight CST

    Okay I admit it, I liked Polar Express

    by Vern

    At least, I liked the Imax 3-D Spookarama version. I gotta say though, the creepy lifeless people is part of the appeal. That scene where they first introduce the girl, she's smiling at him from across the train and she looks like she has two glass eyes. That shit gave me the heebie jeebies. Anyway the whole thing had a good atmosphere to it, in 3-D it was like going on a Disneyland ride. Can't say I approve of the songs though, those things were fuckin horrible. Anyway, this sounds like a good one, I look forward to it, but trying to make the characters look real is ridiculous. Number one, they're always gonna look somewhat creepy and unnatural when you try to make them look real. Because they're not real. Number two, WHY THE FUCK would you put sensors around Angelina Jolie's eyes to capture the electromagnetic pulses of her eye nerves or whatever WHEN YOU COULD JUST USE A FUCKING CAMERA TO FILM HER FUCKING STANDING THERE. It kind of seems like spending two months and 10 million dollars to create an artifical banana when real bananas are on sale at Safeway. Which is a fancy way of saying it's stupid. This technology oughta be used for creating monsters, cartoons, giant monkeys and skeletons that dance like Michael Jackson. Not for creating Angelina Jolie. But I shouldn't complain because if they're gonna make another accidentally creepy movie I might still enjoy it. Good luck to these nutballs.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:09 a.m. CST

    JohnGalt2005 is just plain wrong...

    by Snow Is Fun

    Let me set everything straight. In order to figure average global temperature for a given year, measurements must be taken all over the globe, on land, the ocean and in the arctic. In about 1960, scientists around the world began an initiative to monitor average global temperature by doing just that -- taking temperatures around the all around the world and averaging them. This is where JohnGalt2005 and Crichton got this idea of data only reaching back to 1960. However, data most scientists would consider "reliable" can be found all the way back about 150 years. Now, based only on this data, a significant increase in average global temperature is shown to coincide with the very much human-created Industrial Revolution. However, assuming that the IR was indeed what caused this increase is very foolish. So, scientists developed methods of taking the earth's temperature from long ago. How? Well, to measure tempertures on land, the width of tree rings is measured; wider tree rings represent warmer years in which the tree was able to grow more with thinner rings representing colder years during which the tree's growth was limited. In the oceans, temperture can be measured by extracting cores from the ocean floor. The deeper the core sample, the older. In warm years, more snow and ice melted and ran into the oceans, taking with them sediments. More sediments result in thicker layers for that year compared with thinner layers created during colder years with less melting and less runoff and thus less sediments. In the arctic, the method is similar to that used in the ocean, only now the cores taken are made of ice. Like the trees and ocean cores, ice cores have layers created each year with lower layers representing earlier years. During colder years, more new ice accumulated and less melted resulting in thicker cores. During warmer years, less new ice formed and more old ice melted, resulting in thinner layers. So, by averaging all of this data together, reasonably accurate estimates of global average temperature can be determined dating back thousands of years. No, they aren't 100% accurate, but they do give a more than ample idea of what the temperature of the earth was at any given time. And what exactly does all of this data show when converted to an easy to read form such as a simple line graph? It shows relative stability dating back thousands of years, with several fluctuations accounting for ice ages and the subsequent warmer periods. However, nothing is quite as striking as the very drastic increase in average temperature shown to begin around the mid-1800s. Know, think back to middle school. What was happening at about this time? That's right, the Industrial Revolution was really heating up! Anyway, for JohnGalt2005 to claim that humans cannot possibly in any way affect the health of the planet is just plain stupid. What would happen if every nuclear weapon in existence were to be detonated at once? All life on Earth would be destroyed, possibly to never return. Considering that, would you still deny the ability of humans to impact the Earth's climate? We are far more than some anthill. The simple fact is that human activity is indeed warming the Earth, and you JohnGalt2005, would know this if you were to attempt to comprehend the information in those scientific journals you claim to read. The question is not whether or not humans are warming the earth, it's just how much are we warming the earth and how much of it can the planet take? The outcome could range anywhere from minor warming leading to nice comfortable beach weather to complete apocalypse, but most likely somewhere in between. So JohnGalt2005, please think and do a little research before claiming you have all the answers. Sorry about the length and poor writing of this post; I had a lot of information I wanted to pass along to you nice people and didn't really want to take the time to write a whole damn article. Anyway, Beowulf sounds like it might rock if the humans end up looking better than those in The Polar Express.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:19 a.m. CST

    Have to agree with you Vern about mocap

    by AristidesTheJust

    nuff said

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 1:18 a.m. CST

    Global Warming Can Kiss My Tan Ass

    by elfstoned

    From The Scotsman (http://news.scotsman.com/features.cfm?id=76062006) //Global warming: Is it too late to save our planet? IAN JOHNSTON GLOBAL warming is irreversible and billions of people will die over the next century, one of the world's leading climate change scientists claimed yesterday. Professor James Lovelock, the scientist who developed the Gaia principle (that Earth is a self-regulating, interconnected system), claimed that by the year 2100 the only place where humans will be able to survive will be the Arctic.// It's pointless to argue about GW because if it's true we are already fucked, and if it's not, we're A-OK. So there, dickheads.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 2:37 a.m. CST

    Quint's right

    by kid doozer

    Gotta say, this film has a lot going for it pre-production wise. I got a chance back in october to visit the "set" (or the "volume" or "area" or whatever they are calling it now) and the pre-viz stuff rocked all sorts of ass. Grendel looked fantastic, the Dragon from the 3rd act looked great, and Angelina looked like a goddess (even if she did have wierd claw-feet in the mock-ups they had out). As for the story, I was told that it was based on Seamus Heaney's translation, with Avery's take somewhat overshadowning Gaiman's. Angelina's character, while not having as much screen time as some may like, ties the whole thing together (as she is the mother of several characters in the film(SPOILER!)). All in all, everyone involved in this project has high hopes, mainly due to Zemeckis' leadership on the film and his ability to take what he learned from P.E. and kick it in the ass.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 2:41 a.m. CST

    "photoreal":

    by Rupee88

    There's no way this will be "photoreal". It sure won't be possible in our lifetimes (or our grandchildren's) to have photoreal CGI of human characters in movement. It just ain't gonna happen despite the retarded comments you read to the contrary. I'm glad they are pushing the techology as far as it can go, but then won't get there anytime soon.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 2:44 a.m. CST

    Canadians

    by blackwood

    *waves flag* I dare - DARE - them to release a hard R wide. I'm sick to death of having all our cinema dumbed down or tamed to satisfy a market that will likely grow into some standards down the road. If we don't let tweens vote, why do we let their fickle habits dictate what's made? Now back to your regularly scheduled hyperbolic hysteria on the state of the world.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 2:56 a.m. CST

    Performance-capture technology will be so great that...

    by Demosthenes2

    ...one day Zemeckis will animate an image so photorealistic that it will be identical to the original image being captured, which is by all means a fruitful endeavor. Actually while I agree the trailer fell pretty flat, I'm willing to give the Gerard Butler Beowulf the benefit of the doubt until I see reviews because the trailer may have been marketing the film as something different from the director's intent. The traditional action-thriller trailer format struck me as discordant with a film that seemed to deliberately not want any special effects, to perhaps strip away the spectacle and get to the human root of the myth. Then again it could just be a cheap movie and suck, we'll see.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 3:11 a.m. CST

    I sooo dig Canadian girls...

    by OldEnoughForMe

    just because <--- the grass is always greener on the other side. Yeah, I would just like to see a hard R CG film being released nationwide. Beowulf, or not, this is a GOOD start into Hollywood&#39;s new Renaissance. It&#39;s about freaking time some people in Hollywood are taking animation as a serious art form, and not just for a special effect or &#39;cartoons&#39; for the kids. I am hoping this movie succeeds. Kudos, Mr. Zemeckis!

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 4:03 a.m. CST

    Neil Gaiman =

    by Nachokoolaid

    me seeing this on opening day. Gaiman is awesome.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 4:12 a.m. CST

    NC-17 Imax

    by Vern

    By the way, no fucking way this movie (or any movie) ever gets released in an NC17 Imax movie. I mean come on, this part of the story stretches the ol&#39; credibility. Yes, I&#39;m sure the Imax corporation has no problem endangering their decades long relationship with all the science centers and aquariums of the world in order to release an adults only nerdy cartoon fantasy movie. This is about as likely as Steven Spielberg remaking Flesh Gordon as his next movie. In other words, only a 50/50 chance of it happening.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 4:19 a.m. CST

    Oh my god.

    by Hell_Bender

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 5:27 a.m. CST

    "Of course they were just entertaining a visitor...

    by kiddae

    so I don&#39;t harbor any expectations that my framing will make it into the film" = Could not be harboring more expectations. This article was hilarious. "The secret to realism with these CG creations is all in the eyes, commonly referred to as the windows to the soul". WHOA THERE IS A SCOOPS FROM THE REALM OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE!

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 5:28 a.m. CST

    It should star Harry Belafonte and be called DAY-O-WULF

    by Serious Black

    Who wouldn&#39;t pay to see Belafonte in Viking garb?

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 5:29 a.m. CST

    I&#39;d much rather see this in live action...

    by dr_buggerlugs

    ...Ray Winstone hacking off body parts, blood spurting everywhere, extras getting thrown and gored all over the place - maybe make Grendel a big CG effect but only him...but more importantly, why have a cgi-d Angelina when we can have her for real dangnammit?!?!?!?! Bloody computer programmers are taking over everything...but then again, I want to see real life Transformers built for their film as opposed to more cgi so what do I know? Still Beowulf will probably be great but hell, I want my old fashioned analogue thrills and spills back!!!!

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 5:31 a.m. CST

    Global Dimming

    by Cineast

    First of all, Beowulf sounds cool as hell. Second, to contribute to the global warming discussion: There is a reason why we aren&#39;t baked yet as Greenpeace and those other hippie folks prophecied since the eighties. It&#39;s called global dimming and has only recently been added to the equation. So, gases are massively released into the atmosphere by the dominant species, us. Some of them, like carbon dioxide or methane lead to the greenhouse effect, which is warmth trapped within the atmosphere. But at the same time those gases also increase the building of clouds. Thus, less sunrays can reach the surface of the earth. In the end there is an unstable balance between global warming and dimming. But sooner or later it will fall in one direction (Ice Age III: Apocalypse) or the other (Waterworld II: Dryland is a Myth). Unless we do something about it.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 5:37 a.m. CST

    Why would this get NC-17?

    by Doc_Strange

    I never read the story so could someone inform me why it would get an NC-17 rating? Is there a lot of titties and sex or what? By the way, I had seen a trailer for a Beowulf direct to DVD starring Christopher Lambert but it looked like it took place in the future.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 6:04 a.m. CST

    2000 and fekkin 7

    by AwesomeBillFunk

    I have to wait until 2007 for this shit now? I can&#39;t even sit through commercials. Everything bad happens to me. I mean what are the chances global warming won&#39;t have killed us all by 2007 anyway? Probably not great.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 7:07 a.m. CST

    screw the neutered live-action version

    by Peven

    piss on the people who felt the need to reduce the tale of Beowulf to a mundane "realistic" cheap ass movie. i am really glad to see that Zemekis is going for something that sounds pretty close to the original tale. i just hope Quint was wrong about Beowulf cutting off Grendel&#39;s arm, since in the story he literally rips it off, or rather, Grendel ends up ripping it off by struggling so fiercely to escape Beowulf&#39;s terrifyingly strong grip. still, all in all, thiss ounds like i will get my money&#39;s worth for sure. as for the global warming debate, talk about "a little knowledge is dangerous". Snow is Fun was on a roll, until he made the lame statement about "all life on earth would die" if all the nuclear weapons were detonated. typical hyperbole based more on a political pov than any hard science. fucking duh, maybe all human life would be extinguished, but life on this planet has dealt with worse events and still keeps coming back. before dinasaurs ever walked on earth there was a mas extinction where 96% of species were wiped out. wrap your mind around that. but still, life found a way to come back strong. on the flip side, anyone who thinks that our activities don&#39;t affect the world, and thereby human life on earth, are wearing blinders. it isn&#39;t a matter of protecting the earth for earth&#39;s sake, it is a matter of protecting and preserving human life on earth.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 7:21 a.m. CST

    I AM BEOWOLF!

    by IAmMrMonkey

    No, I&#39;m not really.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Yeah, the arm is pulled off, not cut

    by DannyOcean01

    In the recent translation I read anyway. It would be rather stupid for Gaiman and Avary to overlook that considering it confirms Beowulf as a total badass warrior who needs no weapon beyond his muscle. And seriously guys, is this TB getting hijacked by discussions of Global Warming?? Puhh-leaze...we&#39;re fucked unless America etc sort their pollution policies out. Okay?

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 9:16 a.m. CST

    mormons own IMAX, folks

    by occula

    are you kidding me with nc-17 imax? you think the mormon community would go for that? i can&#39;t WAIT for that shitstorm! and PS, global warming AND canadians both ROCK!

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 9:19 a.m. CST

    sorry, OK, to address the actual film

    by occula

    i appreciate zemeckis&#39; long struggle with exploring the possibilities of CG, but it always feels to me like he tries too hard and comes up short. everything he does is so mannered and slick - it&#39;s like, &#39;look at me! look at me!&#39; anybody know where the &#39;grendel&#39; project went to?

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    by Ingeld

    In this instance, they realized that Grendel was the son of the demon and The King, which would be the reason he&#39;s tormenting his father, as well as dragging living men off to his mother. By giving motivation to Grendel they take away so much of the importance of the original story. He was the kin of Cain. Grendel&#39;s origin as a kind of mythic origin. He kills not for revenge against men, but against God. It is an old bloodfeud that has spilled into Hrothgar&#39;s hall. Moreover, he takes pleasure in the act of killing, not for honor, protection or wealth. This is why he is monster. I don&#39;t mind small changes, but why such substantive ones. I hate the movie already.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 10:02 a.m. CST

    "performance capture" is a bullshit term

    by HypeEndsHere

    i got a casting notice from Zemeckis and they refer to it (rightfully so) as "Motion Catpture" the technology IS amazing. i mean, we are on the verge of being able to capture photo-realistic images of people delivering performances in which which the nuances are not lost. yes, we are truly about to achieve the ultimate goal: being able to simulate what has been readily available since the late 1800s.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 10:11 a.m. CST

    I prefer the John Gardner version of Grendel.

    by FluffyUnbound

    Especially the psychotic Beowulf. And the credulous pagan priests. With regard to the Global Warming discussion: I think it&#39;s very likely that human activity is having an impact on the climate. The activity of every species has an impact on the climate, and there are six billion of us, and we leverage our impact with technology. But I&#39;d like to correct the person who said that temperature changes always take hundreds of thousands of years - that&#39;s just not true. The temperature swings at the beginning and end of the medieval climate optimum and the little ice age were as large as the changes we have seen in the twentieth century. The difference this time is the models predict that the warming will continue into a range that will spawn weather changes that would disrupt existing social patterns.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 10:19 a.m. CST

    re: Hypeendshere

    by Ingeld

    Excellent point. If it is photo realistic why not just film the actors in costume? This is like using computer drafting design, a team of a hundred engineers, and exotic alloys produced from elements constructed in an atom smasher to produce a paper clip. I hate this movie already.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 10:22 a.m. CST

    The 13th Warrior was R, so why wouldn&#39;t this film

    by R.C. the "Wise"

    receive an R as well.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Angelina Jolie=Ultimate Seductrice.

    by R.C. the "Wise"

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Lambert&#39;s Beowulf

    by fyrie

    It&#39;s so bad that it is good.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Uncanny Valley

    by arctor

    search "Uncanny Valley" at wikipedia...but there are already many example of &#39;photoreal&#39; people in films, most go completely unnoticed by audiences...granted most are crowds/digital doubles etc, but there are other very fine examples where parts or all of an actor is replaced with CG (see some moments in Contact, Fight Club, MatrixI/II/III etc), and very soon, perhaps here with Beowulf, we&#39;ll see something really great. In general though things like motion capture (&#39;performance capture&#39; is marketing bullshit) and CG actors are just new tools to play with, eventually film makers will be less dazzled buy the possiblilties and just use the right tools for the particular job - whatever they may be.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 11:41 a.m. CST

    If they&#39;re going to spend

    by Shaner Jedi

    so much time replicating the looks and movements of an actors eye movement, THEN SHOOT THE FUCKING ACTOR! Zemeckis has become just like Lucas: in love with his toys and drowning the story in the "process".

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Brodester

    by Shaner Jedi

    "I&#39;m sure statisticians will be on your side... but not scientists" ROTFL! Don&#39;t be a dumbass. Statistics IS a part of science, wank! And John Galt is right. Look up nasa.gov charts and see for yourself. Most of the earth&#39;s CITIES are warming up, but non-urban areas are COOLING. This is based on data back to the 1700&#39;s for Europe and 1850&#39;s for the U.S. So, the PR that global warming is an "atmospheric" phenomenon, influenced by CO2 gases, is highly suspect. Urbanization seems to be the culprit, NOT CO2. Do you know how much of our atmosphereric CO2 has increased and is expected to increase? From 134 parts per million to 137 parts per million. SHOCKING! You&#39;ve bought the global warming, fear-mongering. Have fun in your waterworld craft skating on the ice when we enter a mini-ice age(which globally actually is more probable based on global data)

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Hypeendshere, right on the money.

    by Blue_Demon

    I thought a "performance capture device" was called a 35mm camera.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:02 p.m. CST

    HypeEndsHere

    by Shaner Jedi

    "yes, we are truly about to achieve the ultimate goal: being able to simulate what has been readily available since the late 1800s." LOL!!!

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:04 p.m. CST

    I&#39;m gonna go all artsy fartsy about the CG reasons

    by Terry_1978

    Polar Express could&#39;ve been done live, but they wanted to capture the illustrations of the book,and going that route was the best way to do so. Beowulf could&#39;ve been done live as well, but I&#39;m assuming Zemeckis wants to do sort of a "living painting" type of thing with this, make it real, but somewhat hyper real, as a lot of those older paintings and portraits are as far as the art style, which couldn&#39;t be done in live action.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Why Motion Capture?

    by FluffyUnbound

    I guess they think they can better integrate a motion-captured actor into a computer-generated landscape. I tend to think not. But I also think the work being done now is seen as an investment - if it can be done well enough, eventually maybe they won&#39;t need actors at all. Considering that stars are the #1 studio expense at this point, that&#39;s probably an attractive prospect for the studios. I think they ultimately want to get to a point where they can capture a star once, and then reuse that star through an infinite range of movements, costumes, and make up effects. That means they could buy Angelina Jolie once and then never need her again. And she also wouldn&#39;t age.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:09 p.m. CST

    The no so distant future of movie promotion

    by Ingeld

    Movies will be advertised like health foods are now. Underneath the title it will read: "From The All Nautural Film Studio. With 100% real actors. No artificial sites, sets or props." "We make movies the old fashioned way. We film them!"

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Yes, we can all laugh at stupid shit others say...

    by Jonesey1111

    "which globally actually is more probable based on global data"

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:18 p.m. CST

    good point, fluffy

    by HypeEndsHere

    but actors will probably sign a contract allowing the footage to only be used for a specific film/performance by that time. it&#39;s the same as Crispn Glover&#39;s argument against (and subsequent absence from) Zemeckis&#39;s Back to the Future 2. (weird)

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Mo-Fo Cap

    by isNegative

    I agree with Fluffy/Hype about having the "photo real" characters rendered in 3D space... the ability to setup and shoot the SAME shot from infinite camera angles, and more or less maintain a character&#39;s appearance though multiple pictures... (how many more credible seasons of "Lost" and "24" do they have?)

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:33 p.m. CST

    You guys don&#39;t get it...

    by Batutta

    The point to this technology is that Zemeckis can first get the most perfect performance he wants, then go in and get as many angles as he wants without worrying about duplicating the actors performance. This is every director&#39;s dream, to be able to keep directing the scene long after the actor&#39;s have left. Forgot to grab an angle, or realize another one would be better? Well instead of paying the actor and all the crew to come back and try and recreate it, just move the digital camera to a new position and you&#39;re done. Yes, photorealism might seem like an absurd goal, but with this technology you can do things you&#39;d never be able to do in reality, yet make it look absolutely convinving.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Or more eloquently worded ....

    by isNegative

    By Batutta.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 12:48 p.m. CST

    I think we &#39;get it&#39;, but this has some severely...

    by HypeEndsHere

    negative aspects to it. including but not limited to the "neverending film" which Lucas is currently pioneering. fiddling with the film every few years. and believe me, the actors and crew WILL get paid for the rights to mess with their contributions ad infinitum. they will be compensated BIG TIME. and up front. the technology does provide for some fun. like what if Screech from Saved by the Bell acted through Marlon Brando&#39;s body?

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 1:02 p.m. CST

    I don&#39;t know, if I was an actor I would be concerned

    by Ingeld

    If photo-realism is achieved, films makers can create a huge data base of performances, gestures, faces, voices they edit, copy, paste and play with. The actor would be reduced to the role of mime and then perhaps eliminated completely. The future of film may be in photo shop and computer graphic arts. Sound far fetched? May be, but could you imagine trying to explain how Gollum was created to D.W. Griffith? If and when this happens there will be a backlask. Movies made the old fashioned way. We film them. They&#39;ll be a novelty.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 1:21 p.m. CST

    The perfect actor/actress for the part...

    by isNegative

    Yeah they should be scared!!! Why should we pay you 20 million for this pic when we can get anybody to play the part... Actors will be licencing their likeness... Yeah, think "Now starring Screech performing Marlon Brando&#39;s likeness as Captain Kangaroo..." Live action movies will be for nostalgic/artistic sake like Black and White films...

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 1:26 p.m. CST

    on the other hand...

    by HypeEndsHere

    this technology may prove who is a talented actor and who is a pretty one. we could have Steve Buscemi deliver a performance presented as Brad Pitt. up until now, it&#39;s only been ugly writers putting the WORDS into the mouths of pretty people. (see: Friends) also, imagine the acting talents of Geoffrey Rush in the physical body of Peter Sellers. we could get a real Pink Panther film. (I would also like to state that i have the day off and I don&#39;t know what to do with myself)

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Performace Capture Might Be Bad for Actors...

    by blackwood

    ...but it&#39;ll be a boon for dancers.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 1:40 p.m. CST

    ditto

    by isNegative

    If Grendel doesn&#39;t look anything like Glover... Why use him... does his physical acting skills lend to a 15 foot human/demon hybrid? (Yes, I&#39;m aware that he&#39;s a great actor...) But my point is that how they have to use a Name as a draw...

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 1:47 p.m. CST

    yeah! why have Jolie if not for her name?

    by HypeEndsHere

    it&#39;s not her great acting (i saw Alexander), and she plays an ugmo monster in this. wtf?

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Now just hold on now....!!!

    by isNegative

    If I read the above article correctly... the demon is a dead on nudy CG body double with some clawed toes... let&#39;s stick with Jolie&#39;s body... (literally) and hmmm let&#39;s see... Maybe Judi Dench acting? Ha.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 2:16 p.m. CST

    First of all, this may be the best talkback ever...

    by Jaka

    And on multiple levels. I agree with the poster that said it&#39;s too late. Unless, literally, EVERY person who owns a car switched over to a hydgrogen model TODAY, and every factory spewing toxic emmisions DRASTICALLY lowered those emmissions TODAY, it will make no difference. MANY scientists have said this. "The next twenty years" is a term often used. Well, the next twenty years ia a NANO-second in the life of our planet. It&#39;s NOW. Right NOW. TODAY! Government CAN&#39;T do anything about it, it&#39;s too late. We can all LESSEN the eventual effect by making these changes in the coming years though. Such as hydrogen power cells for automobiles. But that should have been done already. It could have been. It could be done right now - they exist. But when that switch is made the WORLD economy is going to go ape shit because so much of it is based around fucking crude oil. Drastically reduced oil sales. Drastically reduced gasoline sales. You think the Middle East is fucked up now, wait until their current crude oil sales drop by 90%. And then you have the per barrel cost skyrocketing for people that use oil for things like heat. Plus, will the government EVER make large corporations lower their emissions? Doubtful. Bush certainly wanted nothing to do with the Kyoto Accords. Why? Because big business IS big politics. Anyway, end of this particular ramble. The real point, is that the world WILL BE a VASTLY different place for your children and grandchildren than it has been for us. And yes, billions of people are going to die. We didn&#39;t even get into how usable farmland all over the planet is shrinking, quickly. How more and more food must be grown with the use of chemicals. And I&#39;m surprised at so little (no?) mention of the thinning of forests as a contributor to the global warming issue. Have you seen the satelite pictures of the Amazon shrinking? BladeRunner, Foundation....it&#39;s not that far away.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah, I agree about Gaiman also.

    by Jaka

    As much recognition as he has been given - it&#39;s not nearly enough. One of the most creative minds out there. All of his comics and books would make incredible (and ORIGINAL, for once) movies if somebody could make them properly.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Billions of people are going to die...

    by JohnGalt2005

    Now there&#39;s a bold prediction. I&#39;ll go out on a limb and say everyone on the planet is going to die...and if there&#39;s one who isn&#39;t, I&#39;d sure like to meet him (or her). In related news, tomorrow the sun will rise.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 2:42 p.m. CST

    for the retards who...

    by Cameron1

    don&#39;t believe in man made global warming: http://www.monbiot.com/archives/category/climate-change/ _____ Now if you can, read the articles AND the sources.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 2:44 p.m. CST

    JohnGalt

    by Jaka

    You&#39;re funny. I like you. : ) Of course we&#39;ll all die eventually....well, maybe not Keith Richards....but it&#39;s the way we go out that will matter. Because of course the sun will rise tomorrow - but will we be able to go outside?

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 2:52 p.m. CST

    My prediction re: Global Warming

    by FluffyUnbound

    It will somehow work out that the climate change works out really well for the United States, and shitty for everyone else. Why do I predict this? Because that&#39;s just how life is, folks.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 3:05 p.m. CST

    We&#39;ll have no need for actors omrorow?

    by Rupee88

    Once again, they aren&#39;t going to be able to perfect this technology and make it photoreal anytime in the foresseable future...I doubt they&#39;ll do it in the next 100 years. So actors don&#39;t have anything to worry about.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Photo-real CGI actors will replace real actors...

    by JohnGalt2005

    when hell freezes over...which should be any day now because of global warming. Satan wouldn&#39;t sign the Kyoto protocol. What a dick.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 3:20 p.m. CST

    THIS JUST IN

    by HypeEndsHere

    "Reader of Ayn Rand Nihilistic"... CONTINUED ON PAGE FU2.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Speaking of global warming...

    by Jonesey1111

    Would it be considered blasphemous to make a movie about Mohammed since it is evil to draw him? Can a person named Mohammed draw his own picture? Wait...how does that deal with global warming...oh well...

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 4:14 p.m. CST

    can Mohammed look in the mirror?

    by HypeEndsHere

    isn&#39;t the reflection blasphemous? oh yeah, &#39;blasphemy&#39; is nonsense.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Rupee88 > wrong

    by arctor

    I&#39;m not going to say when...2 years? 5?...anyway VERY soon there will be a performance in a feature film that is indistinguishable from that of a &#39;living&#39; actor...the advances I&#39;ve seem in the VFX industry just in the past 5 years are as good an indication of that as you&#39;ll ever get.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 5:59 p.m. CST

    In order to do my part in the prevention of global warm

    by Childe Roland

    ...I hereby resolve to fart only in the mouth of John Galt henceforth. One man, with the appropriate tool, can do a shitload of damage (collateral and ecological) to a significant patch of property, land, air and sea. We have billions of men (and the often less rational women and children - no offense) running about the planet with all manner of devices and technologies, few of them being used responsibly. The world as we know it hangs precariously over a deep cavern from which, once it falls, there will be no coming back. Yet we all meander happily, cluelessly through it with our fingers on the proverbial buttons. The fact that one of the most scary-stupid people on the planet is in control of a substantial portion of its nuclear weapons should have you crying yourself to sleep at night, but as long as there&#39;s something good on the tube, who cares, right? I live just a few hundred miles south of the Canadian border and have been in the northern Midwest for more than thirty years. I remember winters so cold it hurt to breathe...when nose hairs froze and sliced into tender sinuses and exposed flesh burned, then went numb within seconds. Now we have happy assholes jogging through the streets in sweatshorts in February. It was near fifty fucking degrees here most of last week. Global warming is a reality. Oh...and on the Beowulf movie, I would&#39;ve gone to see this on the strength of the writing team alone. This tech report has me even more excited, though. And the NC-17 version has potential to be this generation&#39;s Heavy Metal.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 6:03 p.m. CST

    Wow, this sounds insane, hope it lives up to the hype.

    by minderbinder

    And it better be WAY better than Polar Express. Aside from the script being a total piece of crap, much of the animation was STILL pretty weak even though most of it was mocap. As cool as the "virtual camera" stuff sounds, I still don&#39;t see the point for doing an entire film with it. Polar Express could easily have been done like Sin City with live actors and CGI sets, it would have looked a ton better and cost a fraction as much.

  • Feb. 8, 2006, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Cockroaches could survive a nuclear holocaust

    by Meremoth

    Shame too, as they are one of the two animals I truly hate with all my being. The second being Turkeys.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 12:59 a.m. CST

    Is Avary HIGH?

    by snowbunny-3

    <i>According to Avary, he and Neil Gaiman went to the original epic poem and did as literal a translation as possible, with the only liberties filling in holes in the story, either gaps in time or something left unexplained.</i> Please. Having seen the script, I gotta say this is NOTHING like the original Old English epic. Here are just a few of the differences: -Beowulf is Christian in the poem. While it is true that Hrothgar&#39;s people have been said to have sacrificed to pagan idols, the author says that that is their downfall, not their strength, as in the movie. Beowulf laments the coming of Christianity in the movie and says that it is responsible for there being no heroes in his country. (The original author says that Grendel is a descendant of Cain...this poem is frought with Christianity.) -In the film, Grendel is made out to be the good guy, the one we are to hold in high esteem. Beowulf is seen as the monster. -The film strips Beowulf of his natural strength that was inherent in the poem. -Grendel&#39;s mom is not supposed to be a ho-bag. Neither are the Hrothgar or Beowulf. -The queen in the poem admires Beowulf as a hero, she doesn&#39;t want to jump into bed with him, as in the movie. -Beowulf doesn&#39;t sleep with Grendel&#39;s mom in the poem...he *kills* her! He even brings the hilt of the sword that he used to kill her (the blade melted away) to the king as evidence. -Beowulf leaves the Danes after he kills Grendel&#39;s mom, returning home to the Geats. In the movie, Hrothgar names him as his heir, gives him the queen and proceeds to commit suicide. -The dragon that Beowulf kills at the end should be over 300 years old...NOT this son begotten of Grendel&#39;s mother. -Oh yeah...Grendel is definitely NOT supposed to be the son of Hrothgar, also begotten of Grendle&#39;s mother (clearly). -Did I mention that everyone is a ho in this movie?

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 1:33 a.m. CST

    Ah, this was such a fun TalkBack...

    by Snow Is Fun

    Really, the whole global warming discussion has been great. Okay, so to the guy who pointed out that my saying that all life on Earth would die in the event of every nuclear weapon being detonated at once was excessive: you&#39;re right, a few basic multi-cellular critters could survive. However, you seem to be underestimating just how much power we have with every nuclear weapon currently in existence. We could destroy the entire planet hundreds of times over. That&#39;s just plain true. The planet would likely never again be inhabitable. And to the guy who said that we would be more likely to enter an ice age than a warm period: yeah, you&#39;re right. That&#39;s the whole idea of global warming. IT LEADS TO AN ICE AGE. How? There is a current that flows through the entire Atlantic Ocean. It carries warm water from the tropics along the surface north toward areas like England where the water cools and sinks to the bottom of the ocean where it flows back south to be warmed in the tropic where it rises to the surface and is carried back north and so on. However, if the Earth warms up, ice from the Artic will melt and fresh water will be released into the northern Atlantic. This freshwater is less dense than the salty water in the ocean, so no matter how much the water is cooled, it can&#39;t sink back the bottom of the ocean to be carried south to be warmed. This means that the current that carries warm air and water north to areas like England would stop moving. The northern hemisphere would grow colder as a result and, bingo, you&#39;ve got your ice age, and it was all a result of global WARMING. That&#39;s science, kids.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 4:08 a.m. CST

    Yes, but will it be better than Serenity?

    by -sfx-

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 6:05 a.m. CST

    This will be shit...

    by Johnny Wishbone

    Robert Zemeckis, go ass-fuck your own culture you cunt.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 6:30 a.m. CST

    I don

    by Judge Doom

    When the S**T hits the fan I

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 6:45 a.m. CST

    Global Warming

    by JackRabbitSlim

    Its the atheists version of the Bible-Bleaters Apocalypse - a certain mentality seems to cling to the selfserving notion this world can not go on without them and that thus they will live to see the end of it. 4 billion years of the planet and we just happen to be at the end? I&#39;m a wagering man and say bullshit.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Hey, I&#39;m an atheist

    by JohnGalt2005

    And I say bullshit too. The problem with all the global warming chicken-littles is malignant narcisism, nothing more.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 7:52 a.m. CST

    HAHAHAHAHA

    by Cameron1

    Yeh, all those mountains of scientifc data and all those thousands of articles published in respected scientific journals are just because atheists have big egos. Mmmmhmmm, god your Kool-Aid must taste fucking awesome.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 10:18 a.m. CST

    then, emilminty, Tim Burton needs to learn to direct

    by HypeEndsHere

    actors better.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Spielberg and Lucas can use this on Harrison Ford...

    by Christopher3

    For the next Indy movie. Take about 20-30 years off the man.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Global warming of Beowolf nuts

    by punkdogmalcolm

    not one of you knows anything at all about the science it takes to detect Global Warming, so shush the mouth, please, ans stop spreading bullshit around. Global warming is a fact, whether or not it is human made global warming effecting the current changes is somewhat debatable but, due some damn reasearch other than Google and Wiki for Christ sake! Oh yeah, Beowolf does sound interesting.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 12:40 p.m. CST

    I am aware I need grammar lessons

    by punkdogmalcolm

    you heard it here first.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 1 p.m. CST

    Global Whining

    by acroyear77

    The same "learned" "intellectuals" that are hyping global warming, hyped global cooling less than 30 years ago. The Earth has been around for millions of years, and it&#39;ll be around for millions of years. Liberals don&#39;t seem to get it. Obviously.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 1:15 p.m. CST

    NEW RULE: No Hollywood adaptations of classics.

    by Bill Maher

    I thought Troy was an abomination, but this is even worse. So Grendel is now Hrothgar&#39;s son? FUCK YOU ROBERT SMEGMACKIS! It takes a total fuckhead to take a great story and shit on it like this. Beowulf is a fairly simple story. So simple that even a no-talent like Zemeckis couldn&#39;t fuck it up. VIKINGS? THERE WERE NO VIKINGS IN BEOWULF YOU FUCKING MORONS! Vikings didn&#39;t start until more than 200 years after Beowulf died. I&#39;d like to take Zemeckis and the other assholes who did this and give to Zarqawi in exchange for the life of that poor reporter held hostage. Then they can be trussed up in orange jumpsuits and beheaded with rusty knives on videotape.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 2:57 p.m. CST

    So, you&#39;ve got Tony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie...

    by Wee Willie

    Crispin Glover, Brendan Glesson, and Ray Winstone. So you&#39;re going to take this amazing cast and shoot them in what is essentially a high-tech version of Ralph Baski&#39;s rotoscope technique... You&#39;re going to turn them into cartoons that look photorealistically like themselves and then place them into computer generated environments... Interesting... Say, here&#39;s an idea. Why not build some sets, film the actors, and make a real movie? No? Not your cup of tea? Okay. Enjoy.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 5:32 p.m. CST

    hmm weird

    by punkdogmalcolm

    It does seem very inefficiant to create digital characters that look just like the real actors. There&#39;s really no point, except to spend money on pushing technology. It probably costs more as well at this point.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 5:56 p.m. CST

    Bill Maher

    by Ingeld

    No hollywood adaptations of classics. Sounds good to me, but think of the appeal. No copyright to deal with. No prima donna author to deal with. Can change anything about the story at will. Built in audience due to years of forced reading in high school and college. I think the last thing on their list would be--oh, yeah. they&#39;re pretty good stories too. These authors may have had a point they wanted to get across. I hate this movie already.

  • Feb. 9, 2006, 6:17 p.m. CST

    Beowolf&#39;s breath causes global warming

    by cantankerous

    The problem with the theory of global warming is that it attracts the nut-balls like a moth to the flame. Some see it as another tool to be used in their endless assault on western civilization and America in particular. The really deranged even try to blame it all on George Bush. Most of the information has been politicized to the point where few people short of a climatologist can distinguish what is fact and what is filtered ideological crap. To make matters worse the facts keep changing as we learn more about the phenomena, and they tend to be ambiguous. Nevertheless, using less fossil fuel is a good idea regardless of the impact it may have on the climate. Trashing your economy because of it is idiotic.

  • Feb. 10, 2006, 4:05 p.m. CST

    politically-motivated, self-imposed ignorance

    by twan_deeth_ree

    OK, idiots. A little science lesson for you. The Greenhouse Effect is real. If it didn&#39;t exist, our planet would be considerably colder than it is, due to its distance from the sun. Venus is hotter than Mercury because of said effect - its atmosphere is filled with huge amounts of greenhouse gases that keep its temperature far higher than it should be based on its distance from the sun. Our greenhouse gases are mainly carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor. We have noticeably increased the amounts of the first two by burning fossil fuels, burning forests, raising massive amounts of livestock and covering most of Asia in rice paddies. If the presence of greenhouse gases keeps our planet warmer than it should be, does it not follow that increasing the amounts of said gases in our atmosphere would warm the earth even further? It takes only a very basic understanding of science to realize that human-induced global warming is a fact. Lie to yourselves all you want to, if it makes you feel better, but science won&#39;t listen. I promise. Have any of you thought that maybe your own politics are coloring your perception of this situation? And have you thought that maybe you should stop being an intellectual child and let the facts speak for themselves?

  • Feb. 10, 2006, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Haha... northerners are the only ones bitching...

    by GimpyMcGee

    Try living in Texas kids. You haven&#39;t experienced heat until you do. Winters up there only getting down to 50 degrees? Boo hoo. It&#39;s happened down here my whole life. Summers here are typically straddling that 100-degree point, and it really hasn&#39;t changed at all in the past few decades. And there&#39;s only been one winter in my life were I remember more than a few millimeters of snow EVER falling. That was when I was 3. And we got all of a whopping half-inch or so, enough to make a 2 foot tall snowman with ALL the snow in the yard. The only people I hear really whining about Global Warming are the northerners who miss their blizzards. I just don&#39;t get it. I&#39;ll take 100-degree summers over biting winters any day of my life. (And, yeah, this is going to have some folks coming back with some rebuttal to the tune of "Well, I&#39;m glad you like it, because it&#39;s only going to get hotter and you&#39;ll never be able to set foot outside ever again in another few decades!" Oooooohh, I&#39;m really scared.) But yeah, gas prices are too high, fossil fuels are only going to go away, and yes, the government is idiotic for not promoting alternative fuels before things get too bad, but with the idiots we put in power, what would you expect? They&#39;re in office to getgetget every kickback and pocket boost they can think of during their terms, then they go off and don&#39;t give a shit afterward, because they&#39;re all old fogies and will be dead before any of their own bad/selfish policies cause any discomfort to them. We&#39;re all screwed one way or the other.

  • Feb. 10, 2006, 10:27 p.m. CST

    I can&#39;t wait for this scene. . .

    by Ingeld

    Hrothgar: "Grendel, I am your father." Grendel, "Nooooooooooooo!"

  • Feb. 10, 2006, 11:32 p.m. CST

    Gee, thanks for the science lesson, twan_deeth_ree.

    by cantankerous

    Few people doubt that human-induced global warming is a fact to some degree (Hey look, I made a pun!). The question is - Does human-induced global warming have a significant effect on natural climate change? That question requires a lot more than simple science to answer. Hell, science can

  • Feb. 13, 2006, 1 a.m. CST

    cantankerous

    by Doc_Strange

    It&#39;s that kind of short sighted thinking and apathy that could result in its destruction as well. So when you&#39;re drowning in melted ice cap, what&#39;re you gonna do then?

  • Feb. 13, 2006, 2:34 p.m. CST

    cantankerous

    by twan_deeth_ree

    "Few people doubt that human-induced global warming is a fact to some degree" Well, my post was addressed to the members of those few who said so on this talkback. So, your argument against doing something about global warming amounts to concerns over "crying wolf?" We shouldn&#39;t do anything about it because it MIGHT be incorrect and then when the real crisis happens no one will care? That&#39;s one of the strangest justifications for ignoring a problem I&#39;ve ever heard. Even if one is disinclined to buy the "hype" about global warming, there are plenty of other very valid reasons to stop using fossil fuels: disconnect ourselves politically from a hotbet of religious extremism, find alternative energy sources before oil runs out and it becomes nearly impossible to replace our current energy infrastructure, reduce negative health effects of breathing oil and coal emissions, etc. The only reason I can think of to NOT reduce fossil fuel consumption is that it will make a few really really rich guys a little less rich. And I hate to tell ya, but that&#39;s not going to keep me up nights.

  • Feb. 21, 2006, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Fuck Global Warming, the more important question is...

    by spaceworlder

    "Who&#39;s John Galt?"

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 7:01 p.m. CST

    can't wait

    by CarbonGhost

    can't ca'nt cant'

  • Dec. 15, 2006, 9:29 a.m. CST

    First!!

    by Kristian66

    Maybe second