Thursday, March 10, 2005

Epic Mistakes

Troy sucked. I have no hope for Hollywood epics anymore.

I rented Christopher Lambert's Beowulf with the understanding that somehow good ole' Chris got zapped back in time to save Hrothgar from Grendel. Nope. The closest I can figure, its set either on an alien world, or in a less magic/psionics heavy version of RIFTS. And yet again Christopher Lambert returns in the only role he knows how to play: a guy with a bad dye job, a worse accent, and a katana. I credit the character's supernatural powers as the only way he could actually carry all his weapons...the bastard was loaded up heavier than your typical D&D party. Twin repeating crossbows (repeating from WHERE, I have no idea), a retractable morning star (complete with a really nasty looking blade in the handle that, as far as I can tell, serves to make it more difficult to hold), a hunting knife, a hunting knife the size of a short sword, mini-dart throwers built into his gauntlets, an axe, a throwing knife, and a huge katanna with its iron studded sheath.

Of course, there were the unruly evil border people trying to kill the prostitute with their giant straight razor, full body guillotine. With executioner dressed in a death's head and bondage leather.

The movie even has a token black guy! Well, after Beowulf arrives, the first person to die is black, and the secondary token black guy is never seen to die...but its inferred by the fact that everyone else in the room is dead, and he never appears at the end of the movie. He DOES, however, have one good line. He walks into a room, and some jumpy bastard nearly skewers him. "Man, you could have KILLED ME!" "I thought I heard a noise." "Yeah. You heard ME!"

Not only was there a token black guy, but there was a token scantily clad woman who came and abused the king in his dreams. Mind that she later on turned into a CGI monster that looked like she ought to be in a Resident Evil game (though the monster form was nicely non-bipedal). And had a token badly delivered speech about wanting to have sex with Beowulf becuase he was part monster.

I will say this for the movie: its a classic RIFTS concept. An outpost in the middle of nowhere, that happens to have a Rift underneath it. A monster, god, demon, or powerful sorcerer comes out, and menances the town before the PCs show up to deal with it...PCs probably just looking for some grub, clean clothes, and maybe a spare e-clip. It works equally well as a Gamma World concept, except in GW the monster would be in hibernation or cryo-sleep underneath the building that used to be a genetics lab, and then it'll break out. And the PCs come by horseback looking for food, and possible iodine pills.

The movie was, without a doubt, crap. It sucked. Some of the costumes were nice (though I keep wondering why some of the soldiers were wearing what looked like life-support encounter suits, while others were wearing balaklavas), and some of the weapons had a nice "battered hunk of metal turned into a sword with the aid of a high powered motorized sanding stone"...but that was it.

Frankly, for film adaptations of Beowulf, The Thirteenth Warrior was one of the best. It was loose, but filled things in well. Especially the fact that it turned Beowulf (Bolvi, son of Hygeliac...who was the father of Beowulf, going to save King Hrothgar) into a secondary character. Beowulf was not this.


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