The Brothers Grimm (2005)

by | Jan 18, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Starring:  Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Peter Stormare, Lena Headey, Jonathan Pryce, Monica Belluci
Studio:  Dimension Home Video
Video:  1.85:1 Widescreen Enhanced
Audio:  DD 5.1, French
Extras:  Previews (Flight Plan, Underclassman, Dark Water); Audio Commentary; Deleted Scenes with or w/o Commentary (12); Bringing The Fairytale To Life (16 min); The Visual Magic Of The Brothers Grimm (9 min).
Length:  118 minutes
Rating:  ***

Terry Gilliam takes huge artistic license in the tale of the Grimm Brothers.  Actually, rather than document the lives of the real brothers, he brings many of the German fairytales they had collected to life through a light-hearted tale of his own.  The viewer is introduced to werewolves, witches, enchanted people, bugs, trees, Rapunzel, the Gingerbread Man, and Hansel and Gretel—to name a few.

Will and Jake Grimm make their living by hoodwinking the locals in different towns by claiming to eradicate the town’s pestering, magical nemeses.  Over the years the pair have developed quite a reputation, but when they are forced/threatened (by a member of the French military) to take on an enchanted forest that is seducing away the children of the nearby town, they realize that true magic might really exist.  Jake has been keeping a log of many of the tales they’ve heard during their travels, and he will soon need to put them to good use.  Along with the help of a local girl they’ll face their toughest challenge–to save themselves, the town, and the children from this powerful spell.

Although Ledger and Damon would seem to be an odd choice for the roles of the Grimm brothers, they manage to make it work in a quirky way.  In fact, most of the film is quirky, but that is what you can expect when Terry Gilliam is at the helm.  Although younger children may find the film scary in parts, older children will most likely be okay with the action.  The film is not made like a horror movie, so there isn’t a lot of jumping out of your seat.  It leans much more towards fantasy, with trees that can move their roots to shift position, and other magical creatures that have unique powers of their own.  The filmmaker claims to not have been overly influenced by the animated Disney films, but comparisons can’t help being made as much of the subject matter has come up in those classic films over the years.  Although “kissing the frog” (for example) is depicting in a completely different manner and live action has a truly different feel.  Comic slants continue to appear as every fairytale is introduced that will also help to distinguish it from the Disney tales.

The integration of the story lines is well done, but there just seems to be something missing.  That something holds it back from getting a higher recommendation.  Some may find it more entertaining, but I’d say it is not fit for more than a single viewing.  But this is the way I feel about the Tim Burton film with Johnny Depp, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and yet others love that film.  Use that as the best guide to gauge interest.

– Brian Bloom

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