One great thing about doing a review series like mine is the ability to go where ever our fancy takes us. We pretty much love watching almost everything from any time period.
This includes many mainstream films that I never had to a chance to watch when they first came out. Like “The Brothers Grimm”,I do recall it got a LOT of press because Matt Damon and Heath Ledger were two major stars that were the leads and that it was directed by Terry Gilliam who has an almost cult following his part in Monty Python and his various other films like Brazil and Time Bandits.
I picked up my copy of “The Brothers Grimm” while I was shopping at my only yard of the summer. I picked this up 1.67 cents and it still had its Blockbuster “previously viewed” sticker on it for 12.99. All in all,it was a good deal and I was happy to have found it at a good price.
Last night during Halloween,I put down the three movies on the ground and as always I let the cheetah pick out the movie. While we have yet to to review a Matt Damon or Heath Ledger movie,the cheetah and I have watched Monica Bellucci before in “The Stone Council” which came a year after “The Brothers Grimm”. Thus he picked Monica…
The movie opens in French held Germany as Jake (Heath Ledger) and Will (Matt Damon) Grimm are traveling across the country scamming and defrauding various villages of “witches” and “demons”. They send ahead two others they are working with to set up the con and then ride in later as saviors and making good money doing so. Karlstadt is but the latest town to have need of the valiant Brothers Grimm.
As this is happening,in the town of Marbaden,several young girls have gone missing.
This is shown by the various Grimm tales like Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretal where the girls suddenly are taken into a large forest.
After Jake and Will perform their last “killing” of a witch,they are captured by the noted Italian torture specialist Cavaldi (Peter Stormare) and brought to the French general Delatombe (Jonathan Pryce) where they are given two options,rescue the girls or die most painfully.
The two brothers agree to try and help and with Cavaldi and a small squad of soldiers in tow proceed to Marbaden. The group is not given a warm welcome as the village is terrified of both the French and the forest.
Jake and Will while brothers,are always fighting among themselves and have been since Jake bought some magic beans instead of medical supplies. Will has never let Jake live that down and he mocks him for believing in the supernatural.
After very begrudgingly getting the help of the local huntress Angelika (Lena Headey),who tells the story of how the woods have become haunted,the small party enters the forest where they soon come across the massive tower where the 500 year old Mirror Queen sleeps,she needs the blood of the young to stay beautiful after a plague had wiped out the population around her.
Angeilka warns over and over about the danger,having lost two sisters herself recently after her father had died. Will and Jake argue about the best way to get in the tower as they squabble,a wolf suddenly appears and attacks Angeilka who fights back with her bow and arrow while Cavaldi and his men are attacked by the forest itself. Cavaldi is knocked out and his men are killed while Angeilka narrowly avoids death when the wolf suddenly breaks off its attack.
The Brothers Grimm head to the village defeated and it doesn’t get easier when General Delatombe shows up looking for answers with a brigade of troops. He wants the brothers dead but after convincing Delatombe to let Jake and Will do it “their way with their own men”,he relents. With Cavaldi holding Angelika as a prisoner and with time running out on how to stop the Queen from capturing the last girl needed to make her spell complete,The Brothers Grimm are going to need some supernatural help and uncovering the most unexpected ally to have Marbaden and more importantly,themselves.
With the Mirror Queen on one side and the French Army on the other,things are about get hot and grim for The Brothers Grimm…..
This is actually my first time watching a Terry Gilliam film,other then watching the famous clip in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when King fights the Black Knight.
So did we like “The Brothers Grimm” with an”Aussie and a American playing two German brothers”? Just like this movie,we liked parts of it and others were just awful.
The most glaring thing was when Gilliam filmed on sets,you knew he was,the sound echoed and it looked like a set,there was no mystery.
He jammed in a LOT of fairytales when a little was more then enough to establish the tone of the story,it weighed the plot down quite a bit and some of the CGI,like the Gingerbread Man and the possessed horse just wasn’t very good.
As just like so many other directors,Gilliam did NOT know how to use Monica Bellucci properly,she is a very good actress and not just “eye candy”. She would have been just as good as Lena Headey was as Angeilka,instead all she does is,well……nothing but look stunning in her gown. But we don’t learn why or how she became the way she was. She just “is” and its a maddening waste of a good actor.
Heath Ledger and Matt Damon were solid as the Brothers Grimm,they were dashing,charming and quite boring if you ask us. They did was what was asked of them,no more and no less.
The three best roles and performances belonged to Headey as Angelika. Lena is such a bad ass here,completely fearless until she discovers something quite not what she expects,she allows confidence to crack and we see it as well. While she is also portrayed as the love interest,its open ended as to which brother she picks…the cheetah she wouldn’t have picked either and I’m with him here. Angelika would be way far too independent and smart for Jake or Will handle back in those days.
Jonathan Pryce is a such a interesting actor….very rarely does one look at what should be a nice gentle father like figure in his roles yet at a flip of a coin,he can become completely ruthless and without mercy like his Delatombe here. I enjoy watching him a great deal because you never really know what side you’re going to get. Alfred Molina,Luke Goss and Sean Bean have the same gift…are they heroes or the devil himself. Pryce pretty much elevates every film he is in….
That leaves Peter Stormare and I will say this…..if his Cavaldi wasn’t the inspiration for Gru in the “Despicable Me” movies,the creator would be lying because you watching Gru here,only without the Minions. Stormare is a complete scene stealer in The Brothers Grimm and yes,while there is one very upsetting scene,the way that its played makes complete sense. Watching Cavaldi trying to make heads or tails of what he is seeing and then deciding the hell with it,I’m trusting in my heart is fun watching. Now if they could a find way to bring his character in the new DM film…..
We enjoyed the set design work set in Marbaden that was done by Judy Garr and Guy Hendrix Dyas and the costumes were also very nicely done and that credit goes to Gabriella Pescucci and Carlo Poggioli.
This movie is best left up to the viewer,its so hit or miss that we can’t tell you if its worth watching or maybe skip over it. I gave it a iffy thumbs up while the cheetah gave it a paws down for that “one scene” and the poor use of Monica Bellucci.
The Brothers Grimm is rated PG-13 and has a director’s commentary as well as two behind the making of featurettes. The run time is 2 hours.
Have you watched “The Brothers Grimm”? Share your thoughts with us be dropping a comment below.