Beowulf: The Digital Monster Movie

William John Robert Campbell Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-168
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • animation
  • Beowulf
  • cinema
  • Henri Bergson
  • monster
  • monstrosity
  • montrage
  • motion capture
  • Robert Zemeckis
  • synthespian


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