The Brothers Grimm
Send help! Witches and demons have invaded our village. Have no fear, Terry Gilliam is here! Having nearly destroyed his career as the gods did their best, and succeeeded in, ruining every possible piece of the film-making puzzle while trying to shoot "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," they decided to shine a little light on him this year with "The Brothers Grimm." A little.
Forced to give it a thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating, I'd go for the former with a little bit of reservation. It was definitly inventive. It is the obviously fictional story of where the Grimm Brothers' inspiration came from for their famous tales. Little Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man, Hansel and Gretel, et al; they're all here. The setting is late 18th century and the brothers are summoned to dispatch with the demons of which they have so much experience in battling. This time though, they may have met their match with the evil forest of Marbaden in Germany.
Gilliam's style is very evident, but the uncharacteristic (for Gilliam) presence of big budget Hollywood is also there. Hey, he needed the help after the Quixote debacle. Probably most evident in a Gilliam film are the props and sets. They are convincing, yet have a very constructed, "fake" feel. Exactly what makes his films great. However, they seem to strangulate the story in this case. With the inclusion of some low-budget CGI characters and other effects, Gilliam's style has betrayed him slightly. He should stick to what he knows: props. The moving trees were great. The historic buildings and settings were good (especially the tower area), but the created fantasy world seemed awkward, claustrophobic and chaotic. It was like two different films: the on-location areas, then all of a sudden we are in the forest which is so obviously on a sound stage.
The plot is both inventive and simple, yet the screenwriters managed to make the whole thing feel convoluted. A cast of actors who have all had their ups and downs runs amuck trying to make a movie of which they have no idea what the end result should be. Is it supposed to be amusing or heartfelt? Violent or lighthearted? I just felt torn the whole film. Is this fun or not? I guess the end result is..yes, it was fun. I think only because it strayed from the norm of all the super-junk that has been released recently.
To make a tall tale short, it was fun and worth a glance, but nothing to write home about. It's hard to rip something so unique and inventive as this, but it's also hard to praise because I can't tell who really made it and who it was made for.