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Sometimes you despair. A new format is trust upon us - and an opportunity is presented to the movie industry to finally to do the business by their classics - and what do they do - they give us the same old dull stock and rip us off by getting us to pay more for it.

Twenty years on, Terry Gilliam's 1989 fantasy epic is still extraordinary - inventive, funny, touching, and on a scale few movies today would even dare to go near. Unfortunately, the transfer of it to the new format is more Blur-Ray than Blu-Ray. And while it's not awful all the way through - it's not far off it. For large parts of the film there's grain and blocking - the colours in some instances are better for sure - but it's also obvious that little or no restoration has been done to the print - when like "Time Bandits" - here is a fantasy film that is crying out for a clean up - and would surely have been much more commercially viable if it had been cleaned up - and a big deal made of it (even a re-launch in the cinemas?).

The extras mimic the special edition DVD issue - reviewed elsewhere - nothing great.

When you see "Cool Hand Luke" or "Zulu" or "2001: A Space Odyssey" on BLU RAY, the clean up work is immediately apparent and evident throughout the entire film - making them an enjoyable 'spot-the-difference' experience for the whole duration. But you know you're in trouble with "Munchausen" the second the washed out "Columbia" logo comes up at the beginning - I've seen crinkled videotape look better than this. What a huge disappointment and what a disservice to a really great fantasy film. I can only think of the gobsmacking beauty of Uma Thurman as she appears in a seashell to cheer myself up...

Unfortunately this release is why Amazon reviews are necessary. Avoid this overly expensive poor reissue unless you absolutely have to own it...
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on 1 May 2017
Terry Gilliam films have a certain stylistic and visual flair that allows you to recognise them within a few minutes of starting. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is no exception.

The third movie in his Trilogy of Imagination (the first being Time Bandits followed by Brazil), the meandering storyline, which flits between present and past within the film's timeline, can't quite make up its mind if it is fairy tale or fantasy (I am of the opinion these are two distinct genres). This is fine by me as I adore both.

I saw this once as a child and was promptly spellbound, I couldn't get enough of the fantastical elements, the costume and set design, and the genuine eeriness and sense of peril the movie elicits in certain set pieces. Quite frankly, some parts of this film are strange, if not weird (the Robin Williams scene is a prime example), and I love that.

Is this the best movie Terry Gilliam has made? Probably not. Is this the best movie in his Imagination Trilogy? Probably not. Do I enjoy this the most? Yes, I would say so, although some of this is down to nostalgia.

The blu-ray transfer itself is perfectly good, the sound is great and there are a few extras on there. I received a region free version, I can't recall if it is a US release or otherwise, however it is in a slimline blu-ray case and doesn't have the standard UK PG rating on the disc or cover. Either way, I was extremely happy with the quality of the disc I received. Well worth the money.

If you're a fan of fantasy, fairy tales, Terry Gilliam and general oddness/weirdness, then I suspect you will enjoy this movie and I would recommend this 20th Anniversary Edition blu-ray release. Now go buy it.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon 21 October 2009
21 years after the off-screen battles are over and unrealistic expectations have all been exorcised, Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen looks really rather wonderful. If anything it's probably too wonder-full to ever appeal to a mainstream audience as Gilliam plays out the eternal conflict between mundane and unexceptional reality and dreams and imagination in the palaces of sultans, the kingdom of the moon, the inside of Mount Etna, the belly of a whale and points inbetween as the teller of tall-tales hitches a ride on a cannonball, flies to the stars in an airship made from women's underwear and dances with Uma Thurman's goddess Venus in the air as waterfalls and cherubim surround them and Oliver Reed's rather wonderful god and munitions manufacturer Vulcan (played like a cross between a Northern mill owner and Gumby from Monty Python's Flying Circus) hops angrily up and down below them as his temperature rises to danger levels. As John Neville's Baron himself says, "This is precisely the sort of thing that people never believe."

Terry Gilliam's `Fellini film' - indeed, many of his collaborators (Giuseppe Rottuno, Dante Ferretti) are Fellini veterans - was much criticised as being all hot air and fantasy with no real foundation, but in fact the script is a lot better than it was ever given credit for. Beautifully structured as a ramshackle but ingenious play gradually becomes the Baron's `reality,' the figure of Death constantly hovering on the sidelines of the Baron's adventures that periodically rejuvenate him, it's end is somewhat disappointing as it paints itself into a fantastic corner, but getting there is a lot of fun. While there's much Pythonic humor along the way, it's not always entirely successful: the scene on the moon fares worst, largely due to a very loud and unfunny cameo by a literally off-his-head Robin Williams, here billed as Ray D. Tuto after his agent allegedly told him the film could be a career-killer (the original conception of the sequence was very different, with Sean Connery taking the role of the King of the Moon only to be dropped to keep the budget down: typically for the film, it cost more to cut it than it would to have shot it!). Yet even here it's a constantly astonishing looking film: where with fantasy films you often see amazing pre-production concept sketches that the film's visuals can never match, here they exceed them. The sheer unique old world craftsmanship the Italian artisans bring to the film is breathtaking, reminding you that this could never have been shot in a Hollywood studio. The effects work is amazing, all the more so for being largely physical effects that have more weight to them than the too often poorly integrated and lighter than air CGI. Even Michael Kamen rallies to the cause with a splendid score that captures the spirit of its vainglorious fantasist hero. Hot air and fantasy it may be, but gloriously heroic nonetheless.

After years of being available with only a trailer as extra (curiously missing from this 2-disc edition), this new special edition finally does the film justice with an audio commentary by Gilliam and co-writer Charles McKeown, deleted scenes and 72-minute documentary The Madness and Misadventures of Munchausen.
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on 5 February 2009
OK, I recently reviewed Brazil - another Terry Gilliam movie - and said that it's the best movie of the 20th century. I guess that I really meant, "alongside Baron Munchausen", because this is also a masterful work.

Flawed, yes - deeply so; probably as a result of Gilliam and McKeown overreaching themselves to produce a hugely challenging film. According to the "Making Of.." documentary extra (and indeed movie making folklore) the birth was an agonising one and nearly a stillbirth. If you believe some of the claims, the production was horrendously overspent even before filming began and relations between the crew broke down to the extent that the producer and director wouldn't even speak to one another on set, and no-one really knew how much the film was actually costing.

Perhaps as as a result of the production company's damage limitation efforts the plot is an incoherent mess: but don't lose heart - if you accept it as being almost irrelevant to the film itself, you can happily sit back and enjoy the performances, the humour and the glorious spectacle of it.

For me, the most enjoyable performance came from Sarah Polley as the little girl who may or may not be dreaming the whole story up, with honoourable mention going to Peter Jefferies as the Sultan (look out for his serenade to the Baron on his "torture organ"). By contrast, I found Robin Williams' cameo as the King of the Moon simply annoying, but then I've always found his brand of humour seriously over the top.

The spectacle is truly sumptuous and I suspect that Peter Jackson would have thought twice about what Gilliam was trying to achieve. Some of the sets do look very contrived (outside the Sultan's palace and when Eric Idle pops out to Vienna for a bottle of Tokay) and amateurish. I wondered whether this was the effect of the spiralling costs, but it does give the film a dreamlike quality in places and it actually carries it off well, so perhaps it was intentional. The ending was possibly the biggest disappointment of the film - a terrible anticlimax - and again this may be down to the film's problems.

All in all, my balance sheet added up very much in the black. If you allow yourself to be entertained, forgive it its flaws and pay attention to the details, I suspect that you'll love it. You might hate it, so read the reviews carefully before you buy it.

"I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious."

RIP John Neville - 19 November 2011
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on 7 September 2017
The making of this film could be made into a comedy movie on it's own. The failures and misadventures of an english speaking crew filming in Italy with an only Italian speaking crew and a whole host of other problems and increasing budget. Just watching the making of is an adventure in it's self. The film is one of my favourite Terry Gilliam films
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on 24 July 2017
This was a film I watched many times with my children on VHS Video many years ago. The transfer to Blueray makes it seem like I had never seen it before, and I have enjoyed the film all over again as new.
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Sometimes it was funny, sometimes not. The parts with Robin Williams were unfortunately really tiresome and nearly ended the movie for me. All in all, nice to have seen it, but wouldn't recommend it.
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on 24 January 2016
Terry Gilliam's ill fated and flawed but always enjoyable fantasy is well worth the upgrade to blu ray for.
Both the production design and photography loom superb in BR. Also included are a documentaries- and a very funny Robin Williams and eric idle.
Gilliam is his usual acerbic self. Excellent
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on 28 November 2015
Wonderful film, the kind they don't make any more. So much invention, and featuring the unbearably beautiful Uma Thurman in her prime. Not quite as amazing as when I saw it all those years ago, but still great.
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on 17 February 2018
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