The Brothers Grimm

"Weak"

The Brothers Grimm Review


There could be no one better than Terry Gilliam to direct a tongue-in-cheek supernatural thriller set in a world of fairytales.

Unfortunately, in "The Brothers Grimm" -- a movie with a Terry Gilliam look and feel but without a Terry Gilliam soul -- the eccentric genius behind "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "12 Monkeys" and "Brazil" seems to have had his spirit broken by studio mandates (like a hottie love interest) and commercial constraints (like a curtailed run time).

Set in French-occupied Germany during the early 19th century, the fable-warping story reinvents the the legendary Grimms as good-natured con artists, who only later became authors, immortalizing the likes of Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin and the Golden Goose by putting their own famous dark-candy spin on familiar folk tales. Here wily huckster Wilhelm (Matt Damon) and frustrated idealistic scholar Jakob (Heath Ledger) are traveling snake-oil salesmen, exploiting local superstitions, staging theatrical hauntings, then peddling their services as ghost busters.

In the early going the film holds the promise of ironic delight. Decked out in chintzy mirrored "armor" and sporting Gilliam-gothic Rube Goldberg gadgets, the siblings easily dupe village after naive village until they run afoul of the haughty French governor (Jonathan Pryce) and his sniveling, blustery henchman (a severely over-acting Peter Stormare). To save their skins from jail, torture and death, the Grimms agree to visit a hamlet where young girls have been vanishing and investigate the supposedly enchanted forest that seems to have turned evil since the French occupation.

The brothers assume their job will be merely to bust some other charlatans horning in on their racket, but they couldn't be more wrong.

By incorporating tweaked (and sometimes satirical) elements of Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Frog Prince, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty into the plot, writer Ehren Kruger ("The Ring" movies and this month's "The Skeleton Key") created a screenplay full of portent and dark comedy that seems perfectly suited to Gilliam's goofy-footed talents. Production designer Guy Dyas ("X-Men 2") rises to the occasion too, with picturesquely muddy townships and disorienting tendrilled forests of thick fog, migrating trees and the ominous castle ruins.

But the studio's fingerprints are all over the finished picture. From the demographic-friendly, incongruously gorgeous, post-feminist huntress (Lena Heady) who becomes the Grimms' guide to the cost-cutting too-soft CGI effects, to the sometimes disjointed editing that makes it painfully obvious when scenes have been left on the cutting room floor so the film would clock in at under two hours, it's clear Gilliam's vision for "The Brothers Grimm" has been compromised.

With the exception of Ledger, who finds a nerdy, idealistic sincerity that makes Jakob uniquely appealing, and Monica Bellucci, who plays a seductive cursed queen, even the performances of the gifted cast lack the memorable punchiness that is a hallmark of Gilliam's movies.

The result is a film with a grand scale that nonetheless feels watered down and uncharacteristically predictable. What does remain intact, if not at full strength, is Gilliam's absurdist sense of humor. At any moment he chooses, the director can get a laugh out of the cheap clank of fake armor or the sight of enchanted trees sneaking around behind the Grimms' backs to disorient them in the forest.

Such moments only serve as a reminder, however, that this forest is as thick with stifled potential as it is with ambulating arborary, and that when it comes to playing fast and loose with history, Gilliam's "Time Bandits" and "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" did it better.



The Brothers Grimm

Facts and Figures

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th August 2005

Box Office USA: $37.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $105.3M

Budget: $88M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Dimension Films, Mosaic Media Group, Reforma Films, Atlas Entertainment, Summit Entertainment, Weinstein Company, The

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Fresh: 68 Rotten: 111

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jacob Grimm, as Wilhelm Grimm, as Hidlick, as Mayor, as Cavaldi, as Delatombe, as Königin, as Angelika, as Bunst, Barbora Lukesová as Mother Grimm, Petr Ratimec as Young Will, Anna Rust as Sister Grimm, Jeremy Robson as Young Jacob, Radim Kalvoda as Gendarme, Martin Hofmann as Gendarme, Josef Pepa Nos as German War Veteran, Harry Gilliam as Stable Boy, Miroslav Táborský as Old Miller, Marika Sarah Procházková as Miller's Daughter, as Hidlick

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.