on 23 December 2008
I'm not one to create reviews that are a reply to other reviews, but I'm feeling sorry for the poor guy who hasn't seen this film and would like to know whether to bother. The answer is yes, don't bother with these 1 and 2 star reviews, because frankly I don't understand where they're coming from. They must've seen a completely different movie to me.
Now before I go on, let us remember that this is The Brothers Grimm, a tale that encompasses as many fairy tale references as it can. Fairy tale is the key here. If you're sat there watching it and you think "but that doesn't make sense", well neither do moving trees, feeling a pea under a pile of mattresses, or a walking, talking ginger-bread man.
Quick summary; Two brothers, one of logical thinking, one of fantasy thinking, con villages out of money by pretending to vanquish witches and monsters. After one successful con, they are dragged to the authoritative figure of the French invasion who sends them after the people responsible for the disappearance of young girls in a secluded village. It isn't long before the brothers find that this is a real curse.
To be honest, that's pretty much it, so what people are finding so messy and confusing I have no idea.
Acting is pretty decent. I've certainly seen a lot worse. Okay, so their accents may not be 100% perfect, but this is a light-hearted fantasy, why should they be? The special effects are pretty decent too. The characterisation was good, I really felt for the two brothers, especially Jacob. Script was almost faultless. Agreed, it could've been better, but that doesn't mean it has any faults.
A recurring theme - this film is not perfect by any means. The ending is awfully cliché, but it's a fairy tale, why shouldn't it be? The Queen appeared really late in the film so she barely got any screen time, which is a shame. The French characters were also pretty annoying, I just wanted them to die so they could leave the brothers to it.
Give this film a try, watch it with an open mind. This obviously isn't for everyone, but from where I'm sat, 95% of these negative reviews are complete rubbish. Remember, it's a fairy tale.
This is an imaginative take on the characters of the collectors and tale-tellers; indeed this take would probably be libellous if the brothers were still alive, for Matt Damon and Heath Ledger portray them as frauds, making money off the back of the supernatural fears of the peasantry in Napoleonic Europe. Terry Gilliam, the director, in one of the extras states that his film "has nothing to do with the real Brothers Grimm ... Instead of thanking them, we are using them."
It's a fantastical comedy, or a comical fantasy, but with dark overtones featuring toad-licking, wolves, ravens, and assorted creepy-crawlies. It does have a happy ending, though, which was disconcerting for Gilliam since he doesn't usually do happy endings. Indeed, it was a surprise to learn that he was asked to direct this film rather than he coming up with the idea for it himself, given that the subject-matter is classic Gilliam territory.
Filmed in the Czech Republic, there are numerous references to tales of Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, the Gingerbread Man and Rapunzel. But the core of the story involves ..., well that would be giving the game away. It sometimes feels like a poor cousin of `Lord of the Rings'. The script, written by Ehren Kruger, is perhaps unnecessarily complicated and overly contrived. The film itself suffers from some poor ADR (especially Peter Stormare and even Jonathan Pryce), and I'm not sure that the cockney accent of our two heroes works either; as Gilliam says, we have here an American and an Australian playing Germans with English accents. He doesn't mention also the Swede playing an Italian and a Welshman playing a Frenchman.
There is a good commentary supplied by Terry Gilliam. Here we learn that originally Matt Damon and Heath Ledger were to play their opposite roles; that there was "certain pressure from certain sources" (the Weinsteins?) to prevent the heroes from shrieking like girls; and that the amazingly vast forest was constructed in a studio - but that the most expensive scene was cut because the forest's supernatural qualities were deemed too explicit.
The extras also include deleted scenes. It seems to me that these should have been kept in to provide further background and characterisation, two aspects poorly served in the film as it presently stands, where the action predominates to push the story forward. Another extra is a sixteen-minute film called `Bringing the Fairytale to Life' where we see, for example, the clever use made of mirrors in the tower scenes
I am a big fan of Gilliam and have all but one of his films on DVD in my collection (guess which one I refuse to buy), so I have to ask myself if I would have purchased this DVD if it had not been a Gilliam film. Difficult to say: I give it four stars (for Amazon = `I like it'), but not five (`I love it'), so I have no qualms about it taking up space on the shelf. But, yes, it is so rich in imaginative invention that, despite some hiccups in the film, I will enjoy watching it again and again, for Gilliam has created a fairy tale anew.
on 26 September 2014
Terry Gilliam is a unique director, and has created some wonderful work both on film and recently in the theatre (a stunning production of Berlioz's 'Faust'). I so wanted to like this film, and can understand why many reviewers do, but for me this is one of his failures. It's made worse by the fact this is such an extraordinarily good cast, and all of them, even the usually impeccable Jonathan Price, contribute scenes where they act positively badly, sometimes mumbling, but most often overacting shockingly. They are not helped by a very poor script.
These faults are all mentioned by reviewers who nonetheless praise the film, and at times there are things to admire. Every now and then Damon and Ledger show their quality by some beautifully judged interactions and there are some great visuals of course (my favourite being the bizarre and extraordinary sequence of a child being encased by cobwebs and swallowed by a horse). However for me this was swamped by very fussy camerawork and excessive, fiddly detail and those awful, awful accents. Peter Stormare as an Italian who likes torturing people is just execrable.
So, sorry to say I rate this one a real dud - but I'm still a fan of the brilliant but uneven Terry Gilliam.
on 4 October 2006
Enter into a Grim and Macabre Adventure that is truly a Tale of the Unexpected. Well, we all know about the brothers Grimm, tellers of fairytales. We will never forget "Little Red Riding Hood" or "Sleeping Beauty". This film, is set in a sinister, enchanted forest and is a dark tale, full of twists and turns, gnarled trees and strange occurrences.
It's different and I liked it and it was hard to predict where it was going! Which was good. It features the abduction of Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood among others, a Woodsman turned Werewolf, a Sleeping Once was Beauty and a distracted, disturbed damsel with "issues". There is a gruesome take on the Gingerbread man that is completely unexpected and creepy!! The film has elements of the Princess Bride, Shrek, Snow White and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but is a modern film, set in mediaeval times with humour interjected throughout.
The forest, which is definitely alive, centres around a high tower where, what used to be, a beautiful raven haired princess is determined to regain her youth and life force through manipulative means. A mixture of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, with the Mirror revealing both reality and illusion. It weaves elements of Grimm's fairytales into one and is a dark, enchanted tapestry.
The Wolf was very well done, suitably supernatural and not the type of creature you'd want to run into in a forest, but this film is definitely not on a league with A Company of Wolves. It was horror in a shrek rather than a hammer way! Definitely room for improvements, but enjoyable. If you like the myth and legend of fairy tales, the supernatural, horror, fantasy and comedy, you should enjoy this. Very different and Definitely entertaining.
Terry Gilliam has a marvellous visual flair and in this film it is used to full strength, especially the scene with the cracked mirror. However, I never find his story lines rise to the same level. There's an element of the boy who enjoyed fart cushions growing up and getting a whole film with which to play. The Shrek-ish interweaving of stories is fun. If you like your fairy tales more in the Singing Ringing Tree vein you'll find this one full of unseemly levity.
If Terry Gilliam, the director of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," "Time Bandits," "Brazil," "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen," and "The Fisher King," wants to make a movie about the Brothers Grimm in which their fairy tales turn out to be real, then that should be a real winner. So the question on the table is why the 2005 film "The Brothers Grimm" is not a winner. When I sat down to watch this film I was hoping for something along the lines of "Ever After: A Cinderella Story" (in which the brothers appear in the prologue) or even "Sleepy Hollow," but what we end up with is much more in the spirit of "Ghostbusters," and not in a good way.
The initial misstep in this adventure comes when it is decided that Wilhelm (Matt Damon) and Jacob Grimm (Heath Ledger) will not simply be nonbelievers, but that instead they would be con-artists who exploit the believe of the common folk in witches and other things that go bump in the night ("Eliminating Evil Since 1812" is the film's tagline). The fairy tales do appear, but they are not really integrated into the story in any significant way by screenwriter Ehren Kruger, who has previously written "Scream 3," "The Ring," "The Ring Two" and "Skeleton Key." This resume comes into play because looking it over I was thinking that the story should have been more along the lines of "The Ring" films rather than trying for the tongue-in-cheek approach of the "Scream" films. This is especially true since the way the images from the video in "The Ring" were integrated into the story were rather successful, which proves Kruger can do such things, but chose not to do so to great effect in this film.
The look of the film is, as you would expect with Gilliam as the director, to be sumptuous. Guy Hendrix Dyas did the production design and set decoration (the latter with Judy Farr), with art direction by Andy Thomson and Frank Walsh, and costumes designed by Gabriella Pescucci and Carlo Poggioli, all of whom do most commendable work generally worthy of Oscar consideration (I do not like the Grimm's armor only because it is the chief symbol of their work a con-men, which I have faulted above). Having golden boys Damon and Ledger as the titular siblings probably helped get the film made and marketed, but I wonder if having unknowns would have helped make the story they chose to tell her work, since you have hero types playing against type for most of the film and for the most part their comic ineptitude falls flat for me.
Anyhow, the Grimms are revealed to be charlatans by Delatombe (Jonathan Pryce), who is Napoleon's representative in Germany. Instead of executing the con artists he dispatches them in another way, sending them to the village of Marbaden. Children there have gone missing and the nearby forest appears to be haunted. Delatombe sends along Cavaldi (Peter Stormare), his master of torture to make sure the Grimms do not run away. Apparently the Frenchman thinks the Grimms will either figure out the scam or die in the process. Of course the forest turns out to really be enchanted and is ruled by the 500-year-old Mirror Queen (Monica Bellucci). If not for the lovely huntswoman, Angelika (Lena Headey), this movie would be a lot shorter. When the brothers worry more about romancing the huntswoman than fearing the queen I was again thinking that this film was simply playing its hand the wrong way.
There was a really good film about the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm that could have been made and if Gilliam could not get it done I suspect it will be several generations before someone ventures into this specific territory again. But there are such works as the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods," Orson Scott Card's novel "Enchanted," and others you can certainly name yourself if you are fans of the genre that make it clear we should have been treated to something so much better than this tale of "The Brothers Grimm."
on 11 May 2015
I havn't actually watched the DVD yet, but I have already seen half of the film on TV & enjoyed it enough to want to watch the beginning that I'd missed the first time around. I'm really loving this new genre of Steampunk meets favourite fairy tales & putting a new, slightly gothic spin on them. When I was a small child fairy tales were much more frighteneng (I remember being positively terrified of the portrayal of the Beast in my Beauty & the Beast book, now look at him the poor devil after Disney finished with him - a Sweeeet Beast??!!) with wolves being slit open, having their bellies filled with rocks & then all sewn up again before he even woke up! Although more macabre, they were the original tales told before the advent of "political correctness" & somehow it was better to be scared of the monster in a book rather than the mosnters that children can dream up all by themselves which are usually much more difficult to deal with (you can't remove the offending imagination from the childs room, but a book is easily taken away to protect their safety!) Anyway, the point I'm making is that even though these films aren't quite as "family of little kids friendly" they are more like the original tales & I feel, much better for it! Something, I'm sure, the Brothers Grimm themselves, would be very proud of!
on 22 December 2015
This is a great movie, in terms of plot and acting. Well worth watching if you haven't. It's genre is fantasy - it incorporates fairy tale and I'm pleased to see a strong female character too! Would recommend.
on 9 August 2008
This is a full blooded Terry Gilliam film. It defies easy categorisation as all his films do. It's a morality tale, a swashbuckling adventure, a wicked comedy, a fantasy romp and a horror film all rolled into one.
It features excellent performances from all the leads, including an outstanding turn from Matt Damon as a preening, vain, overconfident con-man. The Bourne films clearly only use 1% of his acting ability - and here we get a full tour de force.
If you liked Munchhausen, if you liked Brazil - then you will love this.
If you want Van Helsing, a swords and corsets historical romance or you like your films explained to you every 5 minutes - then run away now...
on 30 January 2014
As I am a big fan of fairy tales and anything and everything to do with the Brother's Grimm, I was in love with this, before it even started.
I have a bose system, which improves the sound quality immensely! It's definitely worth buying, for the stories, and the sound, the acting and everything else!
The only issue with this is that it is not actually aimed at children, and some of the darker, scarier scenes would actually be likely to scare children, so I wouldn't advise buying it for a young child