Bee good: Jerry's animated debut is out today, plus good news for Gilliam, and I Am Beowulf!

imaginarium.jpgOnly animation related in the loosest sense, but anyone with an interest in the medium will know the work of Terry Gilliam, one time Monty Python cartoonist and now one of the most interesting, innovative and original directors out there (can you tell I’m fan?), with such titles as Brazil, Baron Munchausen and 12 Monkeys to his credit. Known for pushing the envelope with edgy projects, he’s seen some misfortune recently, not least the literal flooding of his proposed Don Quixote film which was to have starred Johnny Depp.

Well, good news! Today the Hollywood Reporter has announced that Gilliam and Depp are back working together again – not on Quixote, unfortunately, but on The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, which is equally as exciting for movie buffs.

As you may recall, Dr Parnassus was the movie Gilliam was shooting when his star Heath Ledger sadly passed away last month, and rumors quickly spread that the fabric of the story would allow for another actor – and many suggested Depp – to step into the same role [pictured right]…in fact, Ledger’s multi-faceted character will be played by three actors: Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.

Ledger won’t be missing from the final result either, with Gilliam confirming that his entire performance will be preserved. This is great news for fans of the director, as well as Depp and, I would even suggest, Ledger himself, whose last work will not go wasted. I very much look forward to The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus when it eventually opens, to see what Gilliam and his Brazil collaborator Charles McKeown have in store for us.

bee-tease.jpgNow then, on a lighter note, DreamWorks’ Bee Movie comes to DVD this week, not that you’d know from the slightly lackluster promotions. Is it me, or did this one sort of sneak up on us? Review copies were not forthcoming from DWs earlier than today’s street date, but I am assured the two-disc Jerry Seinfeld edition of this immensely enjoyable animated film is buzzing its way over to us.

In the meantime, you might enjoy reading James R Whitson’s theatrical view on the movie itself – even if I think I’ll end up being more accepting of the issues James assesses, having thoroughly enjoyed the film at the screening I was at. The jury is out on the Jerry-heavy extras, though it looks suitably packed, so look for my full take on those soon!

Another movie that seems to have been “dumped” into the market without much fanfare is the disappointing (could that be why, me thinks?) Robert Zemeckis wannabe-epic Beowulf, a visually messy combination of the motion…sorry, Performance Capture and computer generated imagery the director pioneered in The Polar Express. Unfortunately, while the ambitions have certainly got grander, the technique remains as frustratingly inexpressive as always, sometimes embarrassingly so for a major motion picture from major director and studio teams.

This Director’s Cut edition reviewed here at least adds a great deal of interest by way of some excellent supplemental features, which may or may not help one view the film in new light. Given Paramount’s turnaround on the hi-def front, a Blu-Ray edition (so one can pick out all that rubbery skin in better detail) can’t be far behind, though Rand will be clocking in soon with his take on the HD-DVD edition, for those still supporting that format.

Stay tooned! – Ben.