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BROTHERS GRIMM review thread...

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BROTHERS GRIMM review thread...

Old 08-21-05, 09:13 PM
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BROTHERS GRIMM review thread...

The Brothers Grimm

(U.K.-Czech Republic )

A Dimension Films release of a Dimension Films and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures presentation of a Mosaic Media Group/Daniel Bobker production. Produced by Charles Roven, Daniel Bobker. Executive producers, John D. Schofield, Chris McGurk, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Jonathan Gordon, Andrew Rona. Co-producers, Jake Myers, Michael Solinger.
Directed by Terry Gilliam. Screenplay, Ehren Kruger.

Wilhelm Grimm - Matt Damon
Jacob Grimm - Heath Ledger
Cavaldi - Peter Stormare
Angelika - Lena Headey
Delatombe - Jonathan Pryce
Mirror Queen - Monica Bellucci


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By ROBERT KOEHLER
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As divorced in its own way from the original source material as the most antiseptic Disney fairy tale, Terry Gilliam's "The Brothers Grimm" is deeply lost in the woods. While the pic may have been theoretically a good match for one of cinema's most fabulist directors, in practice the experiment reps a misconceived reframing of all things Grimm. From its depiction of the German author-kin as con men to its frenetic and exhausted conclusion, there's little appeal, save for those looking for a late-August distraction. Not even a Venice competition slot will slow the film's journey toward the video castle.
Working from a glibly conceptual screenplay by the busy Ehren Kruger ("The Skeleton Key"), Gilliam must have seen all sorts of possibilities stemming from the central idea of dropping the brothers down into a real-life situation in which some of their fictional characters and situations come to life.



This split between reality and fantasy is something the director has played with many times before, but the tilt here toward a hyperactive, buddy-movie action-adventure with loud comic archetypes is a poor fit for a film that relies on fairy tale icons and themes.

Nothing is less amusing than the set-up of Wilhelm (Matt Damon) and Jacob Grimm (Heath Ledger) as traveling con men in the early 19th century, who foster backwoods German folks' beliefs in witches and the like with elaborate special effects. If this is meant to be a joke about how artists can trick the senses, it falls like a thud, and has the effect of making what were actually quite engaging, earnest but poverty-stricken young writers into a pair of shady fools.

In typical buddy-pic fashion, Will and Jake -- the anachronistic nicknames they give themselves -- are opposites: Will is a skepticand ladies' man, and Jake a mystical private figure too much into his tales. Their cons are exposed and lead to their arrest at the hands of the fatuously silly torturer, Cavaldi (Peter Stormare), who's in the pay of the Napoleonic Army.

Down the road, the village of Marbaden is feeling cursed. One young girl after another -- including a little one in a red riding hood -- have vanished without a trace into the menacing bosque where trees come alive.

Accused of doing harm to the girls, the brothers protest, and are taken to Marbaden. Will assumes there is an elaborate piece of trickery going on, but in trying to convince local huntress Angelika (Lena Headey) to accompany them, the guys both find themselves attracted to her.

Although the film foregoes much of the Grimms' literature for a dumbed-down set of conflicts that turn even Napoleon's finest (led by Jonathan Pryce's theatrically spoofy Delatombe) into goons, the mood in the forest is powerfully atmospheric, as gnarled trees turn into nightmarish many-armed creatures, and a power is loose that can make a horse go mad and gobble down a small child.

Only for a brief interlude does an actual Grimm-like tale take center screen, featuring a crumbling tower that had housed a murderous king and his queen (Monica Bellucci), now alone and desperately trying to reverse the aging process, with touches here and there of the egoist queen in "Snow White." The brothers' belabored efforts to scale the tower and reverse the queen's evil powers lead the film into cumbersome action set pieces that are neither quite fairy-tale fanciful nor convincingly real.

It's this in-between-ness, along with Gilliam's numbing use of filming with ultra wide-angle lenses that turn "The Brothers Grimm" into the director's glummest and most visually clunky production.

Offsetting this tone to a degree is Ledger as a charming bumbler who really believes in dark powers. Damon does little more than a variation on his role as Linus in "Ocean's Eleven" and "Twelve." trying to be a smooth, nice-guy operator. They're both overwhelmed in the end by the pic's sheer busyness.Stormare and Pryce ham it up to pointless excess.

Even the terrific forest effects (and a stunning one of a boy transformed into the Gingerbread Man) get compromised by other, under-realized ones, some involving werewolf transformations. Taking his cues from the film's worst tendencies, composer Dario Marianelli has stitched bits of Bernard Herrmann stylings into a lumbering, generic score.



Camera (Deluxe color), Newton Thomas Sigel; additional camera, Nicola Pecorini; editor, Leslie Walker; music, Dario Marianelli; music supervisors, Maggie Rodford, Alison Wright; production designer, Guy Hendrix Dyas; supervising art director, Keith Pain; art director, Frank Walsh; set decorator, Judy Farr; costume designers, Gabriella Pescucci, Carlo Poggioli; makeup, Chrissie Beveridge; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS), Ivan Sharrock; supervising sound editor, Ian Wilson; visual effects supervisor, Kent Houston; special effects supervisors, Simon Taylor, Mike Kelt; visual effects, Peerless Camera Co.; miniature visual effects, Cutting Edge; stunt coordinators, Mario Luraschi, Pascal Madura "Chino", Jiri Kuba; associate producer, Mishka Cheyko; assistant director, Cheyko; second unit action director, Luraschi; second unit director, Michele Soavi; second unit camera, Milan Chamida; casting, Irene Lamb. Reviewed at Aidikoff screening room, Beverly Hills, Aug. 4, 2005. (In Venice Film Festival -- Competing.) MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 118 MIN.
Old 08-22-05, 07:32 AM
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I am going to see this on saturday hopefully. It sounds really cool!!!
Old 08-22-05, 11:25 AM
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Bad reviews or not, I'm seeing this.
Old 08-22-05, 11:45 AM
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Yep I'm seeing this too. Hopefully this thread'll still be here by then.
Old 08-22-05, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Kal-El
Yep I'm seeing this too. Hopefully this thread'll still be here by then.
Only if this thread goes the way the OP wants it to.
Old 08-22-05, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Mopower
Only if this thread goes the way the OP wants it to.
I'm not sure why you needed to write this.

The thread was started innocently enough, and did not include a single sentence of my own opinion.

I simply didn't want a repeat of the DUKES thread confusion. But you had to ruin it.
Old 08-22-05, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal-El
Yep I'm seeing this too. Hopefully this thread'll still be here by then.
Originally Posted by Mopower
Only if this thread goes the way the OP wants it to.

Guys, let's stick to the topic at hand.
Old 08-22-05, 11:01 PM
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I think this'll be the first Gilliam film I skip, barring an avalanche of positive reviews.
Old 08-22-05, 11:22 PM
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I think it looks good.
Old 08-23-05, 10:32 AM
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Gilliam, himself, has practically washed his hand of this film, what with all the meddling of the Weinsteins among other problems. He pretty much only did this so he could finance Don Quixote.
Old 08-23-05, 03:58 PM
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The reviews are 50-50 so far with objectionable and smart reviewers on both sides of the barrier. The most damning thing about the film is the similarity of its trailers to Van Helsing, which has to be the most over the top, derivative, CGI-centered, soulless piece of boring and uninspired hogwash to come out of Hollywood in a long time - barring a possible Hulk 2.

But I will probably see it anyway because of the Terry Gilliam name and the controversy.

Last edited by baracine; 08-23-05 at 04:00 PM.
Old 08-23-05, 04:34 PM
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Somebody care to fill me in on the controversy?
Old 08-23-05, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Mordred
Somebody care to fill me in on the controversy?
The controversy so far: Did the Brothers Weinstein limit Gilliam's vision by insisting his film conform to the usual dumbed-down anti-literary teenager summer blockbuster cookie-cutter model of a CGI bubble-gum comic-book-hero action obscenity, down to the last video-game and action figure tie-in (not to mention a trailer that starts with the inescapable cliché "In a world..."), as Gilliam seems to claim, or did Gilliam willingly sell his soul to the devil and compromise his artistic integrity by agreeing to make a film for those uncouth bastards in the first place?

Same old, same old.

Last edited by baracine; 08-23-05 at 05:39 PM.
Old 08-23-05, 05:00 PM
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Gilliam wanted Depp (this was before Pirates), Weinsteins didn't (because he wasn't a box-office draw yet - they're kicking themselves now though), and wanted Damon instead. Gilliam wanted crazy-looking make-up on Damon to make him look like he fit in the movie - Weinsteins didn't and wanted him to look pretty. This sort of thing kept going on all through the production (including a lot of script changes), so much so, that Gilliam has admited to giving up fighting the producers and doing this purely for the money, and that it's not at all his vision.

Poor guy, can't ever seem to get a break.
Old 08-23-05, 05:24 PM
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Interesting, I didn't know all that about Gilliam and Weinsteins. Oh well, I still think it looks good. I can't believe a guy like Gilliam has to fight for everything and someone like Michael Bay can get anything he wants.
Old 08-23-05, 05:27 PM
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Is this "controversy" documented anywhere, or is this more of a "I heard this and that from this kid I know who knew someone who worked on the film" type of thing?
Old 08-23-05, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal-El
Is this "controversy" documented anywhere, or is this more of a "I heard this and that from this kid I know who knew someone who worked on the film" type of thing?
Gilliam has two films coming out at the same time, Brothers Grimm and Tideland, after an 8-year interruption in his career. Under contractual obligations, he's given a round of interviews to every movie chronicler alive on this planet and they are just starting to appear in your local papers. The Toronto Globe and Mail published its interview this morning (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...tainment/Film). In it, he very subtly deflects criticism of Brothers on the "bigness" of the project - if you read between the lines - and insists on pushing his smaller, more personal film, which he wrote himself and on which he had total control, Tideland. The details of Gilliam's run-ins with the Brothers' producers are sufficiently known for the interviewer to take them for granted.

Last edited by baracine; 08-24-05 at 05:40 AM.
Old 08-24-05, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Kal-El
Is this "controversy" documented anywhere, or is this more of a "I heard this and that from this kid I know who knew someone who worked on the film" type of thing?
P.S.: A simple Google search for Harvey Weinstein's nickname, "Harvey Scissorhands", will yield 717 entries, as opposed to an item of lesser notoriery such as "Tom Sizemore sex tapes" (only 574 entries), for example. [His other nickname, "Fat Pig Harvey", only yields 33 entries, however, but it's as good a place to start your research as any.]
Old 08-26-05, 09:17 PM
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Saw this movie last night and I have to say that it's one of the worst movies I've ever seen. When I came out of the theater I came to one conclusion. That this movie was a shit sandwhich.
Old 08-26-05, 09:24 PM
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Why can't people just let Gilliam make a film the way he wants to. Didn't they learn anything from the Brazil fiasco?

If what is being said about Weinstiein is true, it's so frustrating that Terry gets these cool projects and has to end up washing his hands of he project. He just can't catch a break.
Old 08-26-05, 09:35 PM
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I am thinking about seeing a matinee on Sunday, intrigued by the premise, even if the reviews are not that great.
Old 08-26-05, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by monkeyboy
Why can't people just let Gilliam make a film the way he wants to. Didn't they learn anything from the Brazil fiasco?
Yeah, I'd say they learned from that. If you let him make the films the way he wants to make them, you end up with a critically acclaimed movie that makes no money.
Old 08-27-05, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe Molotov
Yeah, I'd say they learned from that. If you let him make the films the way he wants to make them, you end up with a critically acclaimed movie that makes no money.
If you are going to hire someone, and not let them make the movie according to their vision, why hire the person at all?
Old 08-27-05, 02:16 AM
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it jumped around a bit but it was fun. it could have been amazing...something didnt seem right though.

6/10
Old 08-27-05, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Ralph Wiggum
I think this'll be the first Gilliam film I skip, barring an avalanche of positive reviews.
I should've listened to myself.

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