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.
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