The Opposite of Pinocchio : Blog Of The Nation Nice abs, but can you really love a character in "motion capture"?
NPR logo The Opposite of Pinocchio

The Opposite of Pinocchio

Out of all your grad school heroes, Beowulf seems to be the most Beo-loved. No one remembers Gilgamesh, Achilles is screwy in the moral compass arena, and Samson is a sort of shaggy Biblical body-builder with poor taste in women. It's no wonder that it would have been brought to the screen -- we're hardwired to react to the darn thing, first to groan when we're assigned a paper on ("500 words on what is heroic by Monday") and then to wax nostalgic about it when we're far from school ("I read that in college, great poem"). I have reached the latter stage, and I'm a huge Ray Winstone fan, so I went and saw it this weekend, 3D 'n all. Never mind that the movie seems to have been turned into a morality tale about adultery (don't make it with a monster, people, no matter how pillowy her... er... lips are). It's also a bit like watching Ye Olde Sims -- with the faces of actors you sort of recognize. The process of motion capture, or mocap (doesn't Mocap sound like Grendel's brother?), is basically a means of capturing live actors and turning them into computer generations. The method by which this is accomplished is actually fascinating (read the New York Times on it here) -- how else would the hunky (yet burly) Ray Winstone become a garden variety glistening six pack -- but is there any one else out there that thinks it's sort of sad? It put me in mind of another, better, morality tale -- Pinocchio, the poor puppet that so badly wanted to be a Real Boy. It leaves me feeling somewhat empty to find that in the twenty first century, all the Real Boys are yearning to be puppets. Sigh. Maybe I'll look more like Angelina Jolie as a puppet.