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The Brothers Grimm (2005)
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Review Date: September 12, 2005
Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Producers: Daniel Bobker, Charles Roven
Actors:
Matt Damon as Will
Heath Ledger as Jacob
Monica Bellucci as Mirror Queen
Plot:
Based on the legendary brothers Grimm, this film features the siblings hustling their way through small, hick towns, bamboozling the ignorant masses by pretending that monsters and witches exist, and then seemingly, getting rid of them via their “special powers”. That is until some politicians get wise and hire the duo to rid a certain town of a real-life baddie enchantress. What ensues…well, isn’t all that pretty.
Critique:
Surprisingly dull and uninvolving. I’m a fan of most of director Terry Gilliam’s work, but I can’t say that this film is one that will be remembered, which is particularly odd when you consider the man’s genius, the film’s prime concept and the $80 million he’d been given to create something special. But the movie never really takes off, barely develops any of its characters, doesn’t really stun with its visuals (save for a few cool shots here and there) and ultimately, for a film based on fantasy, enchantment and mystery, felt rather impotent. Where was the fun? Where was the fancy? Where was the sense of wonder and awe? All I got out of this movie was a lot of darkness, lame jokes, caricatured secondary characters, lots of trees, crows and plenty of strained dialogue. Two characters in particular, the Italian one played by Peter Stormare and the French one played by Jonathan Pryce, annoyed the hell out of me with their over-the-top accents and goofy behavior. They felt like they should have been in a different movie altogether. Damon and Ledger were decent, but you didn’t really give a shit about them, with very little “getting to know” time with either of them. By the end of the movie, there is a love connection seemingly made between one of them and a lass, but I couldn’t figure out which of the two had connected. And ultimately, that was this film’s biggest problem: its story. For a movie based on a timeless legend and fairy tales…it was damn boring!

Not to mention that it didn’t really come together in the end, with an entirely facile solution seemingly concluding matters, and everybody and everything that could have gone wrong, ending up “okay” and inconceivably “living happily ever after”. At one point, a brother is thrown from a massive tower, with rocks, chaos and all hell falling upon him, and comes up, almost without a scratch and his glasses still in place…and intact! I mean…c’mon guys!! I know this is a “fantasy” and all, but either you make it a parody/comedy or you make it serious, but if you’re going to tow the line, don’t be tossing bullshit all around so that I’m taken completely out of the film. Sorry guys, I really wanted to love this film, but with the lack of depth in its characters, the weak CGI here and there (if John Landis was able to create the greatest werewolf transformation back in 1981, why are directors still choosing to use shitty CGI for their wolves?!?), the little sense of wonder or fun and ultimately, the absence of any true entertainment value or engaging storyline, there ain’t much in here – other than some nifty visuals and two decent lead performances – that tickled either my fancy…or anything else that generally enjoys being tickled when watching a movie. See it on video, but even then, don’t expect to like it much. It’s not a good movie, and even the stunningly gorgeous Monica Bellucci only shows up for about 10 minutes or so. The scene featuring her and mirrors was pretty cool though, granted. Other than that…grim indeed.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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