So What's With the Shouting?
There was a lot not to like about Beowulf. The CGI gave the players' faces an immobility that was distracting and annoying. (At times I thought I'd wandered into a Shrek film by accident.) Beowulf's stolid face had me longing for the thespian stylings of Arnold Schwartzenegger. Robin Wright Penn was about at sexy as a turnip, which is a downright criminal way to treat Robin Wright Penn. The ending just went on and on, with one unbelievable piece of action after another. (I know I'm supposed to be excited by these things, but I find complete detachment from reality to be pretty dull.)
I watched it on my old-school television, not in its 3D version, so I was not thrilled, and was sometimes puzzled, by the 3D effects.
Naked Angelina Jolie, it has to be said, I liked. We need more of that sort of thing in cinema.
Despite the fact that I really disliked this movie, I found myself liking the script, by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary. The script was for a subtler film than the one I saw, and made on about a third of the budget--- one that would have to depend on acting chops and not CGI.
The thing I disliked most about the movie was the shouting. Almost everyone, Beowulf in particular, delivered their dialog at the top of their lungs. I noticed this in 300 also. Only villains speak in a normal tone of voice. People who talk in normal tones are creepy and sneaky. Heroes are loud, blustering, rude, boastful, and bodybuilders. Are bodybuilders more manly if they shout louder than anyone else? Is it the steroids?
If you're a bodybuilder with a sword, and you shout down everyone else, are you a leader or just an asshole?
Is shouting the new heroic?
(Note to action directors: shouting removes subtlety of expression from dialog. You're stealing the actors' best chance to interpret their lines in interesting ways. Just a tip, y'know, from a complete amateur.)
The shouting also hurts the ears.
Iron Man, it should be noted, does not shout. Nor did it have loud music in the action scenes to tell you how excited you should be. It broke all the rules of summer blockbuster movies, especially the ones that state that all the acting should be wretched and the characterization nonexistent and that the plot should make no sense.
It was a fine film, with interesting characters and situations, and when the hero said "I am /B/e/o/w/u/l/f/ Iron Man," he didn't shout and in fact he sort of mumbled.
The final confrontation went on and on, the way they do, but I've got used to that (while quietly longing for the days when Bogart would just shoot the villain, and the bad guy would clutch his chest and die, and that would be that).
Y'know, it occurs to me that if you're a hero, you shouldn't have to shout. If you're a hero, people listen to you even if you whisper.
If only Hollywood knew that.