Top positive review
the 'real' Baron Munchausen - Gilliam’s most enjoyable movie
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.