Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Brothers Grimm

Let me begin by saying that director Terry Gilliam's films are an acquired taste, and usually don't go down well with the average moviegoer, including myself. While films like Twelve Monkeys were easier to grapple with, general audiences may find cult favourites like Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen less palatable.

And the Brothers Grimm however, falls into that less palatable zone. Visually spectacular like the rest of Gilliam's works, the trailer and first fifteen minutes of the film might resemble summer popcorn flick Van Helsing, which fused horror lore and characters into one big budget special effects movie.

In this case, and if you don't already know, the Brothers Grimm Wilhelm (played by Matt Damon) and Jacob (played by Heath Ledger, watching my second consecutive film in which he stars) are the creators of famous age old classic fairy tales like Hansel and Grethel and Cinderella (yes, it wasn't Walt Disney). In this telling of their supposed origins, they are actually con-artists who goes around early 19th Century Europe to earn a living from exorcising spirits. As mentioned, the first fifteen minutes was good fun, until the cat was let out of the bag intentionally.

As their rouse got exposed, they are blackmailed into investigating and solving some supernatural mystery involving lost female children in an enchanted forest (or so it was believed). Like the saying "it takes a thief to catch a thief", the brothers initially thought that whoever it was spooking the forest and its nearby village just had a bigger rag/con budget. Before you can chant "Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your hair", they realize that they are up against the Mirror Queen's (Monica Belluci) diabolical plot to bring herself back to life and being young and beautiful again.

If you'd think, hey, that's an interesting premise, think again. The movie plods. And that's actually the strange thing. It has arresting visuals to entertain the audience, a credible storyline, good actors, but somehow the pacing felt wrong and it just moves along so incredibly slowly!

There is some saving grace, and that's the identification of certain fairy tale characters or references, from Rapunzel to Hensel and Grethel, from Snow White to Cinderella, from Little Red Riding Hood to the Gingerbread Man. But this could distract you from the plot, and the novelty dies after a while, that you just beg to get on with the show.

With so many releases this week, you might be better off with one of the other selections. If you really have to watch this, do so on a weekday, and bring along lots of friends to while some of the boring bits away.

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