Folklore collectors and con artists, Jake and Will Grimm, travel from village to village pretending to protect townsfolk from enchanted creatures and performing exorcisms. They are put to the test, however, when they encounter a real magical curse in a haunted forest with real magical beings, requiring genuine courage. Written by
Many references to fairy tales (most recorded by the Grimms) are slightly different from the actual tales: Little Red Riding Hood is referenced only by her red cape, the heroic woodsman from "Little Red Riding Hood" is an evil henchman, the Big Bad Wolf is a large wolf instead of a diabolical personification, Rapunzel is an evil queen who locks herself in a tower to escape a plague, the Gingerbread Man is an incarnation of a mud monster, Jack from Jack and The Beanstalk becomes Jake, "Hans" and "Greta" are the original forms of the diminutives "Hänsel and Gretel" (i.e. "little Hans and little Greta"), Cinderella (Aschenputtel in German) is really the Grimm Brothers as they scrub the floors (the deleted scene on the DVD shows it better), the evil queen is also the queen from Snow White, all the girls' fingers are pricked as they fall into a deep sleep just like Sleeping Beauty, the Woodsman places slippers (which turn to glass) on Sasha's feet as he prepares her for the crypt, and Jake tells everyone a story of an imp whose name they had to guess, a clear reference to Rumpelstiltskin. See more »
When the general drinks wine as the forest burns, the overture to Rossini's "La Gazza Ladra" ("The Thieving Magpie") plays. The film opens in 1796, and the scene takes place 15 years later, in 1811. "La Gazza Ladra" was composed in 1817. See more »
Performed by Taraf de Haidouks
Written by Sapo Perapaskero
Published by Les Editions de la Bascule / Strictly Confidential o.b.a. Confidence (BMI)
From the album "Band of Gypsies"
(p) 2001 Crammed Discs See more »
Being a fan of both good old-fashioned fantasy movies and of director Terry Gilliam, I was really looking forward to this one. I was slightly put off when I heard Gilliam's complaints about the constant interference of the Brothers Weinstein, but the director does have a history of being dissatisfied with the production of projects which actually turn out pretty good in the end, so my hopes were still pretty high.
Rather than being a historical biography of the famous authors, this is a fantastic make-believe story of the possible inspirations behind the stories of the Brothers Grimm. The brothers travel around Europe working as con artists, fooling simple peasants into believing they are witch-hunters and monster slayers. However, when they are captured by a French general and sent to investigate a town which is believed to have been targeted by similar con-men, they discover that there may be some truth behind the fairy tales. The very woods surrounding the town seem to be alive, a big, bad wolf stalks through the darkness and an evil power seems to emanate from a mysterious ancient tower ...
So, Gilliam tries his hand at doing a commercial summer blockbuster. And the results are, well, interesting. Primarily he shows that he can produce some great action sequences, and there are some really great visual ideas here, many of which I'll admit are entirely thanks to top-notch CGI work. These are the moments when the director's creative magic appears to shine through, and there's enough of them to make this movie worth watching. Overall it does feel strangely derivative for a Gilliam movie, but I suppose that's to be expected when he sacrifices creative control to the studio. In the past I've heard that Gilliam simply sees himself as a "hired hand" on such projects.
However, where it fails is in the mixture of action and drama, in repeatedly placing it's characters in peril whilst also making us care about them. Unfortunately this has been a problem in a lot of these big-budget fantasy/action movies lately, including last years equivalent -- "Van Helsing". The other movie with which this shares a lot in common is Tim Burton's Gothic horror "Sleepy Hollow", which was far superior to either. The main problem with the "Brothers Grimm" is that there's little to no character development in the first hour of the movie, and then almost all of the conflict between the characters is suddenly introduced in one scene. This is what we call bad pacing. And the way the characters are written seems somewhat inconsistent (although both Damon and Ledger manage to turn in decent performances all the same), and we never really get a "feel" for their personalities.
For your average light-hearted Hollywood fantasy, this is perfectly fine. But from a director with a history of making fascinating, important works of surreal art, this is somewhat short of what you'd expect.
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