Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop now Learn more

on 20 March 2018
‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’ (from 1987) is surely Terry Gilliam’s most enjoyable and visually appealing movie. Veteran actor John Neville gives a charismatic performance as the eponymous Baron, and there’s a supporting cast full of great names too: Bill Paterson, Peter Jeffries, Jonathan Pryce, Alison Steadman, Valentina Cortes. (However, I do find Robin Williams’ unbilled King of the Moon a bit tiresome to watch now.) Young Sarah Polley is a delightful co-star, accompanying and encouraging the Baron in his adventures, while Gilliam’s fellow Python Eric Idle, and co-writer Charles McKeown give good comedic performances as his ‘super-powered’ companions - Not forgetting Oliver Reed as a suitably hotheaded Vulcan whose wife Venus, played by Uma Thurman, is beautifully elegant and Botticelli-like.

The special effects and sets have an endearing, theatrical handmade quality - though there is one fine ‘digital’ seqence when the Baron is on the moon, and the signs of the zodiac revolve around him.
Praise should also go to production designer Dante Ferretti, who also did remarkable work on another of my all-time favourite movies ‘Titus’ (an exceptional version of Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’ by Julie Taymor).
Unfortunately, there was no real bonus content on this particular DVD edition.

There are two other versions of the Baron’s exploits that pre-date Gilliam’s fantasy masterpiece - a Czech film (from visionary director Karel Zeman) of 1962; and an amusing German film from the 1940s (financed by the Nazis, no less). Both were fascinating to see. Check out the trailers on Youtube.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
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!!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
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
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 27 September 2017
No problems. Disc plays fine.
The movie is a weird one. Definitely not for everybody.

Blu-Ray seems to expose the limitations of the original movie image quality wise. It might not be worth paying the extra over DVD. On the other hand the DVD probably doesn't have a DTS soundtrack (just Dolby Digital).
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 25 August 2014
The real Baron Von Munchausen gained a reputation as a teller of tall tales following his return from the wars of his time. This is a reversal as the main character and his assistants with 'super abilities' did not, however they gain a level of reality and youth the more people believe in them and their ability to help them. The film also pokes fun at the way we allow pompous bureaucrats to rule our lives. Definitely worth watching more than once.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 15 December 2016
I remembered this from years ago, and having my imagination captured by the book as a child, I indulged myself with this dvd. Its hilariously wacky but parents be aware there are some racy booby costumes in it.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 28 May 2017
A master-class of how to make a movie despite all the odds.
Terry Gilliam is a genius but stuffed up here. He should have made the lead more sympathetic.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 7 April 2010
I enjoyed the film, and found the props and scenery incredible -- no wonder the film ran out of money !

Nice to see the Monty Python lot again.

I wonder if it would be possible to sew a hot-air balloon from nylon knickers ? (just in the spirit of curiosity, of course) so naturally, I have presented the challenge to a smallish sample of women, but sadly, I seem to lack the powers of persuasion of Von Munchausen and I fear the question will remain forever unanswered.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 26 October 2016
4 stars,long been one of my favourite films,but on release a box office flop.Well,for a starter,when I saw it at the cinema I was almost the only one there!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)