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Saturday, August 27th, 2005

"It's Not Magic, Just Shiny"

The Brothers Grimm is not one of Terry Gilliam’s best films. Not even close – and I’m a Gilliam fan, willing to extend him a longer rope than I would some directors. I loved Baron Munchausen, so even when he goes completely off his nut, I’m right on board. On paper, it should have been great – the Brothers Grimm as 19th century ghostbuster con men in French-occupied Germany who find themselves faced with a genuine supernatural situation – but something went awry between concept and completion and the end results are disappointing.

It’s easy to put a finger on exactly why it doesn’t work – the script is confusing and doesn’t manage to pull the many many plot threads together into anything cohesive. The film definitely bears the scars of it’s difficult birthing process (check out the links below). But Matt Damon and Heath Ledger are just fine in the title roles and seem to be enjoying themselves immensely – most of the cast does, actually. The effects and visuals are considerably less over-the-top than you’d expect from Gilliam in this context, and maybe that’s where it fails to even be a spectacular failure, just a failure. The film spends too much time in the drab real world of Will Grimm and not enough in the fantastical fairy-tale world of brother Jake. There are high points, including probably the creepiest gingerbread man ever, but they’re more like exclamation marks at the end of plain, unexclamatory-worthy sentences. It’s certainly not a wasted two hours, even with all it’s shortcomings I found it a fun, enjoyable film, but it could have – should have – been so much more. Alas.

IGN has an extensive interview with Gilliam about the making of the Grimm, as does the official website. The LA Daily News has some background on the studio politics and general production nightmares that kept The Brothers Grimm on the shelf for so long since it wrapped production way back in Fall 2003. AZ Central also has a talk with Gilliam abou the film. Meanwhile, Zap2It finds out that Gilliam’s dream project, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, still isn’t dead. If you’ve seen Lost In La Mancha, you’ll understand why I hope against hope that Gilliam somehow, someday gets to make this film and that it’s as amazing as the doc showed it could have been.

Yahoo! Music interviews Carl Newman, head New Pornographer (via For The Records).

Durham, NC’s Independent Weekly welcomes home John Darneille, on the road with his Mountain Goats.

Sigur Ros begins what’s sure to be a huge and neverending press circus surrounding the release of Takk on September 13 by talking to The Guardian about Tommy Lee. Last two links via Largehearted Boy.

Check out the trailer for Bob Dylan biopic No Direction Home. This is one of the films playing at the Toronto International Film Festival next month. Via Golden Fiddle.

BlogTO features yours truly in this week’s “Blogerati Files” feature.

The Onion AV Club submits a list of critically reviled films that may yet be worth watching (though not necessarily because they’re not as bad as most think).

What do you get when you put five of the top voiceover artists in America in the back of a limo? The funny. Video gone! Alas. Video returned! Huzzah.

np – My Morning Jacket / Z

By : Frank Yang at 9:52 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Torr says:

    "No web site is configured at this address." for the voiceover link.

  2. Five Seventeen says:

    here you go…

    http://…/

  3. thomaus says:

    The family & I decided to see Brothers Grimm today, in the face of many, many bad reviews. We left the movie chattering about the film, good and bad. A Gilliam film is still a Gilliam film. Although much of it tends to be more straightforward than most of his other work, it still ends up more rewarding than most other movies these days. I think over time it will stand up to be a minor classic (at least in the fantasy genre), even though it isn’t his best work.

  4. rhea monique says:

    had never heard of gilliam before; the movie disappointed me, but wasn’t a failure, like you said. i found that, arguably, the biggest flaw was how good the concept and possibilities and promises were and then how badly they got carried out. the gingerbread man was so cool and creepy and crazy, but when it said, "you can’t catch me, i’m the gingerbread man," the comic implications ruined the mood. i didn’t feel it, the comedy and horror, and it really couldn’t pull it off like ghostbusters or other films have in the past.

  5. Frank says:

    never heard of gilliam before?!? Oh my stars and garters – you have to see his other films. Maybe you have and didn’t know it – he’s not really a cult director. "The Fisher King" and "12 Monkeys" are excellent films, "The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen" is beloved by many (including me) and the Monty Python films are, well, Monty Python.

  6. Yan says:

    Stars and garters nothing! You tell the child to see the other Gilliam’s, but don’t mention "Brazil," which blows everything else he’s done out of the water? Priorities, man!

    You might also inform the child that Gilliam is a Python, and the co-directed of two Python classics, "The Holy Grail" and "The Meaning of Life."

  7. Frank says:

    …know why? I haven’t seen Brazil either.

    stop yelling at me!

    I will, probably very soon, but I have this compulstion to always buy/rent the most elaborate sets available, and the most deluxe edition of Brazil I’ve seen in the stores is pretty goddamn deluxe. I would have to set aside a weekend to get through it all.

    But I will.

  8. Liane Chan says:

    I kind of liked "The Brothers Grimm." It’s far from a Blockbuster, but it can be very entertaining. I guess it could have used a less confusing plot (that might have been less predictable).