For all the visual wizardry at work on screen in Robert Zemeckis’ “Beowulf,” it’s a wonder I found myself leaving the theater feeling lifeless and unenthusiastic. Certainly, here we are at the helm of a true technical achievement in cinema, a complex and rigorous endeavor that marries the real and the digital with the kind of detail that makes its nearest cousin, “The Polar Express,” look almost like a dress rehearsal in comparison. But perhaps that is the root of the conflict at hand; for every whisker and every pore that is visible on the face of an actor who has been completely altered by the multi-dimensional capabilities of a computer-generated image, there is a facial expression, a sign of human feeling and even basic mannerism that is lost in the system. Characters do not pass very basic plausibility tests because there’s no outlet for them to warrant it – they can’t be merely cartoons because we know there is flesh behind the gimmick, and we can’t accept them as human beings because they appear to lack very basic facial functions. Are they supposed to look authentic? Are we supposed to consciously acknowledge that they are thespians simply being represented on-screen by elaborate shell casings? The movie offers no answers, a terrible dilemma at a time when this bizarre and uncultivated sub-genre is in desperate need of rationale.