It's not magic; it's just shiny

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Perhaps the fact that I didn't rush right to my computer this past weekend and throw up a gargantuan review of Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm (IMDB) will give you some hint as to my thoughts about it. The thing about BG is that I really, really wanted to like it, much more than I did. Gilliam is one of my favorite directors--I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt, even for his so-called 'flops.' I have a lot of respect for any filmmaker who can break through the haze of mediocrity where most of Hollywood lives and breathes.

That being said, it's hard for me to be anything other than ambivalent about Brothers Grimm. The concept is a pretty good one--the brothers are, in fact, cynical guys who prey upon the gullibility of their contemporaries, recreating all sorts of witches, monsters, and villains so that they can take money from towns for "banishing" them. Much like "Shakespeare in Love" or even the Shrek franchise, the idea is that the movie is meant to be allusive, rewarding our ability to spot all the various references to well-worn fairy tales that pop up throughout. There are some really clever moments, and some dark moments as well, both of which are hallmarks to my mind of Gilliam's work.

At the same time, the movie felt pretty unsustained to me. I've seen reviews that claim that the plot is spotty, but I didn't find that to be the case at all. What I ended up with was that it felt like there were three or four different directions that the basic premise could have been taken in this movie, and all of them are attempted almost equally, to the overall detriment of the whole picture. Matt Damon is tolerable, and I'm appreciating more and more Peter Stormare's ability and comic timing. Jonathan Pryce and Heath Ledger, though, were both distracting at best (particularly the garble that was Ledger's "accent"), and Lena Headey's performance seemed to veer close to Keira Knightley's turn in Pirates of the Caribbean at times.

I don't know. I'd like to believe that the movie is a good one that's just suffered because of my high expectations, but I think that it's more the case that Gilliam felt those expectations and tried to meet all of them at once. The result is a movie that I have a hard time recommending beyond matinee prices, honestly.

That is all.

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on September 8, 2005 5:44 PM.

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