The Brothers Grimm Movie Review

If you stop to think about it, weren't the Brothers Grimm stories demented enough that they really didn't need to be made into a horror movie? Not that it's stopped several other people from touching the subject matter before, but no one has quite given the Grimm fairy tales the molestation that they get in the latest rendition of this story.

In the latest Grimm, the brother-tellers are snakeskin oil salesmen, with younger brother Jacob always focused on the fairy tale world. When a string of abductions, (including Red Riding Hood and Gretel) in the village of Marbaden catch the attention of a French General (Jonathan Pryce, playing Ian Holm's Napoleon from Time Bandits) who only seems interested in a good meal, he sends Italian torturer Cavaldi (Peter Stormare) to grab the German con men out of bed to send them to investigate the problem.

I'm not sure if fairy tales have ever been penned and helmed by such creatively demented minds. Director Terry Gilliam is a byword in surreal cinema, having 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Brazil, and all of the messed up cartoons from Monty Python under his belt. Ehren Kruger wrote The Ring movies, Arlington Road, and Impostor. Armed with a mostly first-rate cast (Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as the brothers) and with a solid technical master and a good writer, The Brothers Grimm has all the makings of a good movie.

If only it didn't suck.

The Brothers Grimm moves at the pace of a retard solving a Rubik's cube. The love interest (Lena Headey) doesn't ever click (and she tries to click with both fellows). The scares are so few that the six-year-old behind me told his parents that the movie wasn't very scary as soon as the lights came up.

It's not funny. Brothers Grimm scrapes the bottom of the barrel for laughs so hard its fingers bleed. Here are some of the highlights: toupee gags and watching the gingerbread man taunt his pursuers.

It's just not scary. Gilliam uses such tried and true techniques as making crows fly across the screen to freak people out. He tries to grab us with weird camera angles and high pitched scores and scares in the distance. For all of the creativity he has shown in the past, there isn't really one memorable piece of horrific imagery here, not one time where it doesn't seem like Gilliam is making horror movies with paint by numbers.

It's not cinematic, either. Brothers Grimm plays the small village darkness like a Sleepy Hollow-lite. The enchanted forest looks like it was stuck together on three sets with cardboard. The village is gray and dark, but done so cheaply that it ends up all looking like the front of a UPS shirt instead.

The only redeeming value in The Brothers Grimm is that it manages to be just fun enough to make you not lose your mind. As it is, it's an hour and a half of my life that I didn't really enjoy, can't have back, yet I don't have any particular distaste for it. It's just cheap and ineffective, slightly entertaining but not nearly enough to be worth the time.

What do you mean you're out of butter topping!?


The Brothers Grimm Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: PG-13, 2005


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