on 7 May 2007
I first saw this film about ten (or more) years ago after seeing it advertised as showing on tv. Enticed by the fact it looked like a kids film, I was only put off by the (very) late night showing time because it meant setting my video timer. I had only watched it once, and the memories of how strange and brilliant it was stuck in my head until I bought it a few weeks ago.
My memory had not failed me. Not only is it definitely dark enough to suggest that it shouldn't be watched by young children - beheadings! risque jokes! The terrifying winged creature of Death! - it is also a lot wierder than I remember as a child, and as such this film deserves high acclaim. In keeping with its inherent off-the-wall nature, this is one of the best fantasy films I have ever seen, one of those films that cherishes imagination and ideas over anything else. The special effects, for the most part, still look incredible today, which is amazing considering the film's age and the fact that newer films like the first lord of the rings are starting to look dated already. Whatever the film's intended audience, it sadly didn't reach them, and has instead become something of a lost gem for those who want something a little different. This is just a brilliant and highly imaginative film!
on 12 July 2000
THE ADVENTURES OF BARON VON MUNCHAUSEN. I must admit, the title does not immediately take your breath away, sounding rather more like a 1940's war movie than fantasy. But, peel the cover back, watch the movie, and immediately be immersed within an amazing fantasy world where reality as we know it no longer needs to exist. This is a comedy like no other I have ever experienced, full of laughter, adventure, and sorrow brought together beneath an ever unwinding storyline, so wonderful I almost wish it were true. I, for one, cannot see why any fantasy lover could not enjoy this epic. Entertaining for both children, and the child within us all. As such, I cannot rate this wonderfully original movie anything other than the top grade, 5 stars. I only hope that you all would enjoy it as much as I.
on 6 February 2006
This is the art of the imagination brought to life in brilliant style. You'll cheer, you'll cry, you'll say "What the hell was that?" and you'll think Mr Gilliam needs a nice padded cell with a comfy chair. All true.
The scope is breathtaking, the cast, stars and support are all astounding. Bill Patterson as a failed actor in the worst wig in the history of film: "Cut down at the height of my talents - my public will kill me if I die now...". Little Sarah Polley is wonderfully natural, John Neville shows his undeniable star quality and who knew Oliver Reed could do comedy? This and Brazil are two of Mr Gilliam's finest and two of the best films ever made. Anything can happen and often does. If you don't like this film you have no sense of humour, no soul, no imagination and no child-like wonder left in you. Don't try and deny it... Get it now, watch it now - life will be better as a result.
on 3 October 2008
This is a wonderfully inventive film, full of striking images, marvellous performances and a lovely streak of dark humour running through it. Gilliam's brain must be constantly ticking with new ideas to amaze his audience as he directs these brilliant films.
Oliver Reed shows, like he did in the Musketeer films, that he is well suited for comedy roles, playing the god Vulcan as a childish, jealous child in a God's body. Robin Williams gives a wildly over the top performance as The King Of The Moon, but its perfectly suited for this film. John Neville is perfect as the ageless Baron, and Eric Idle and Sarah Polley also impress in their roles.
Really, its a film about having an imagination and not losing it as you grow up, as at the beginning the only person to believe the Baron is the child, but by the end of the film our hero has won over his adult audience too.
This is a great film, Gilliam's masterpiece in my opinion, and can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. 5 out of 5
on 19 September 2003
This film is the funniest film i have had the pleasure of watching. It's witty, fun to watch, and is deeper than you would first think, the story is well thought out and the special effects are amazing for the time that the film was made, probably as good effects today produced by computer.
The film is mind blowing,with places and events so impossible yet fitting to the story. THE STORY LINE IS NOT LOST at all.
I would recomend this film to any monty python, Hitch Hickers,Time Bandits or Red Dwarf fan.
on 21 March 2004
When I was younger I had a copy of this of VHS that I watched so much the tape snapped. This is the kind of fantasy film a child would make if given a grossly overblown Hollywood budget, and I mean that in a good way. It in no way patronises the younger audience like a Disney live action might, it only invites them to let go and be taken from place to place as the incredibly imaginative story unfolds. Terry Gilliam is a master the field of old school story telling, and for me no one dose it better. Not for those who cannot suspend their disbelief.
on 23 September 2004
The film itself is a visual feast and I feel captures perfectly a whimsical romantic era of great adventurers, somewhat in the vein of Indiana Jones. Beyond the eye candy the film itself has a story which while at times is chaotic, it is none the less profound, taking as its theme the power of imagination. The film itself I feel can be enjoyed on many levels and for this reason alone it is a truly great piece of work.
on 16 December 2014
It is one of those inexplicable quirks of Hollywood producers that if a film goes wildly over-budget, as this one did, instead of doing their best to push it and get their money back, they moan publicly about the financial disaster and kill the movie. They did it to Heaven's Gate, now at last being seen for the work of brilliance that it is, and they did it to Terry Gilliam's The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen.
This is especially tragic when it comes to this marvelous work of one of the most underrated directors of our time. Even now, years after it was first released (and I saw it then in a cinema), it is still a thrill to watch. The in-camera FX are as good as any that would be done now with computer graphics and huge budgets (this film actually cost $47 mil. which ain't much by modern standards). To my mind this film stands alongside The Wizard Of Oz as the greatest children's films ever made. And I include all the gruesome stuff. Kids love being scared. Don't you remember the thrill of peering through your fingers at the flying monkeys and the wicked witch? Well, give yourself and your kids a treat and get this movie!!
on 3 March 2005
I saw this film as a child and loved it and so couldn't resist when I saw it on Amazon - I was a bit worried it wouldn't live up to my memories but I needn't have been. This film has got the Pythonesque brand of bizarre humour and magic stamped all over it. The sets look amazing and the cast are as great a celebrity rogues gallery of grotesques as you could wish to find. The Baron himself puts James Bond to shame as the epitomy of unflappable British charm and I especially love Oliver Reed's turn as Vulcan (complete with comedy northern accent). This is fairy tales the way they should be, rude, funny, strange and a little sinister.
on 17 November 2015
I absolutely hated Brazil the first time I saw it, which must have been around 1988. And I mean physically hated, not even “meh, give it a miss” type apathy, I mean “ranting and railing against it” type hated it. I just really didn’t get it. It left me with that feeling of confusion you get when you fall asleep half way through a Hammer Horror film on the TV and wake up half way through a totally different Hammer Horror film, where the same actors are playing different characters and you’re trying to piece together who they are and why someone you thought was dead isn’t. So I have actively avoided anything to do with Terry Gilliam ever since, until I was persuaded by our esteemed bossman to watch Zero Theorem last year and... I loved it. Adored it. Waxed lyrical about it to anyone that would listen as it was utterly brilliant, surrealism and is now permanently ensconced in my top 5 films of all time. So, when I heard we were going to look at the work of Terry Gilliam, I found myself wondering what had changed in those 25ish years. Was it his directorial style that had found more logic, or my watching skills being more ready to accept that which I didn’t understand? I wasn’t quite brave enough (yet) to go back and tackle my Brazil nemesis, so I plumped for the next film Gilliam wrote and directed, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
So.... yeah. My first thought was how much like my favourite Tim Burton film Big Fish this film is, both in style and story, in that they are fanciful tales which may or may not have a vestige of truth behind them somewhere in the past but embellished to make them a lot more exciting to the listeners. And the films are made the same way, with a dreamlike quality to the tales themselves which is echoed in part in the “real” parts of the stories. Indeed Burton and Gilliam are fairly similar as writers/directors too. Both are a very acquired taste, I must admit, and the films of them both are instantly recognisable in style and structure as being theirs. As directors, they also both are so well respected by the acting community, if not by the money men, that they can gather big names to be part of an ensemble cast very easily, and often return to the same actors again and again. Neither of them are afraid to put creativity ahead of financial gain either in their film making, which is probably why they are not popular with the big studios because neither of them appear to like being reined in on a project just to make it commercially viable. They are artists in the medium of film – creating their own visions and to hell with the rest of the world, you either buy into it or you don’t.
To go back to my initial question though, was it his directorial style that had found more logic with Zero Theorem, which I adore, or my watching skills being more ready to accept that which I didn’t understand? A bit of both I think. There was a more linear story to Zero Theorem, with fewer unexplained leaps of faith than in the earlier films like Baron Munchausen and (I will assume) Brazil. But yes I will admit I am much more ready these days to take that leap of faith with him in the earlier films that my logic bound teenage years was less than ready to accept. And I also understand the concept of appreciating the artistry without having to like the artist. So am I an out and out convert to Gilliam’s work? Not yet. But I will try more of it, although Brazil may still be a hard nut to crack.