Database for Animation Studies


Beowulf: The Digital Monster Movie

Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf (2007) is the latest film made using motion capture technology, a film that tells the story of a hero's quest to defeat a series of monsters.This article examines not only the thematic role of monstrosity in the film, but also the way in which the film's very construction, through motion capture and CGI, can be understood as monstrous. That is, after Deleuze's Cinema 2: The Time Image (1989[1985]), Beowulf can be understood as typifying a cinema that has seen a shift from montage to montrage, a cinema that shows. Analysing the aesthetics of monstrosity in Beowulf, the author also considers how the film's motion capture synthespian performances can be understood as comic through Henri Bergson's (1912[1900]) theory of laughter, which suggests that humans laugh at mechanized human beings.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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