Monday, November 19, 2007

Flying Away Now

Hi Neil,Are you aware that Beowulf has got a paticularly outraged review from the CAP movie ministry guy, ( and is summed up as "quite probably the most heinous culprit for stealing childhood from children ever made". You didn't quite do well enough in the scoring system to get a perfect zero (not enough impudence/hate - please try harder next time), but this does mean that Beowulf is rated worse than Natural Born Killers, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, et al.Chris Reynolds

There you go. Then again, this is probably the first animated movie aimed at adults to go on broad release in the US for a very long time, and the idea that it's not actually intended for children is a hard one for some people to cope with. Interestingly, the Christian reviews I've seen so far -- Christianity Today and the Catholic News Service -- both liked the film, and were very sensible.

(It's one of those pleasantly surprising things that the Google News thingummy threw up, like the articles from local papers where they have English teachers and professors explaining that this Beowulf is rather more faithful to the original material than they had expected.)

Dear Mr. Gaiman;Firstly, I would like to say that I have just seen "Beowulf" and it was indeed a great movie. I read the poem many years ago and your story was one of the more interesting interpretations of the original poem.That aside I read up on the long process it took to get this film off the ground. As with what typically happens in Hollywood, there was a rewrite. As I'm sure you know, the final confrontation with the Dragon was rewritten. This discovery did not surprise me because the final confrontation just did not seem to be your style. Just what was your version like?
Robert M. Sharples

Ah, that one's easy. There's a script book, which contains our original 1997 script, two long essays by Roger intended mostly for film students about the realities of Hollywood (one on how he went into it in the first place, and then how I got involved and how we wrote the script together, and one on how he was persuaded to sell the script to Steve Bing and Bob Zemeckis), some of the storyboards for Roger's original version, the shooting script we wrote with Bob Zemeckis that they went into the 2005 shooting with (which is of course different to what they wound up actually making) and an afterword from me about how and what a film script is and isn't.

So you can read the original script or even the shooting script and make a film in your head and see how it differed from what made it to the screen. (I found a review of the book at -- for some reason, none of the Amazon or Harper Collins sites make it clear what kind of thing the script book is.)


Right. Lots of people in the Philippines writing to ask how long I'll be there (until Sunday) and what I'll be doing. So I googled, and found a blog which seems to have all the information on it.

And the car to take me to the airport is outside, and I'm not yet dressed, so I will take my leave, vaguely regretful that I haven't done a big post on the writers' strike yet. Or even linked to the David Letterman show writers strike blog at or Matt Selman's TIME Nerd bloggery at

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