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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.88%
Worth A Look: 29.41%
Average: 29.41%
Pretty Bad32.94%
Total Crap: 2.35%

9 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Brothers Grimm, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"Gilliam & Weinstein go together like Mustard & Pancakes"
2 stars

Ask me ten years ago or ask me today, and the answer to "Who's your favorite movie director?" will always remain the same: Terry Gilliam. I just love the guy's work; the fanciful and endlessly creative settings populated by truly bizarre folks who do things both entirely wonderful and darkly dangerous. From "Time Bandits" to "Brazil" to "The Fisher King" to "12 Monkeys" and yes (even / especially) "Baron Munchausen" -- I just love this director's style. So please believe I'm sincere when I say that Terry Gilliam's "The Brothers Grimm" is far and away the worst film he's ever directed. By about 1,500 football fields.

What a garish, meandering, and ultimately pointless experience this thing is.

Problem #1: Whoever believed that a guy like Terry Gilliam would work great with a guy like Harvey Weinstein is probably the same guy who thought Michael Jackson would make a good babysitter. Gilliam's a perfectionist, a controller, a wildly creative semi-madman who needs to maintain control over his projects. Harvey Weinstein is a very smart businessman who believes he's the finest film editor that Hollywood has ever seen. (He's wrong.) The idea of Harvey Weinstein footing the bill on a Terry Gilliam film is the stuff of Bizarro World.

Problem #2: The high-concept, low-content screenplay by Ehren Kruger is all premise and no plot. "Hey, let's do, like, a live-action Shrek mixed with some mild Indiana Jones-type adventure and glue the thing together with some of the lamest comedy material ever. It'll be a buddy pic, a story book, and a broad farce at the same time. And I can pull it off because I'm the guy who wrote ... Scream 3 and Impostor ... and Reindeer Games ... and The Skeleton Key..." (crickets) I'm sure there's a germ of a very cool idea buried within the desperate muck that is The Brothers Grimm -- and a germ it remains.

Problem #3: Tone and acting. So the role-reversal offered is this: Matt Damon will play the cocksure swaggerer, while Heath Ledger will play the bookish nerdly guy. Together they are the brothers Grimm, and they wander from village to village, perpetually conning the toothless townsfolk into believing that there's a supernatural threat underfoot -- only to scurry off into the night after performing some sort of mock-exorcism. So, "medieval conmen." OK, it could work. And yet, not here. Damon and Ledger are forever mumbling, twitching, jabbering, and whinging their way through the story -- so when it becomes clear that we're actually meant to care for (or dare I say LIKE) this dullard's duo, the revelation comes as sort of a shock.

And on and on the endless tedium of The Brothers Grimm goes. The film has no sort of rhythm or flow or even the semblance of a cohesive story. There's a sketchy backbone about an evil witch that's stealing children from a grungy village, but it exists only as a coathanger on which to hang an aggressively disconnected series of mini-skits. Watch as the brothers wander through the forest before they go back to the village to stammer amongst themselves. Back into the forest they go, armed only with a few hastily delivered pieces of exposition that feel less like plot points and more like 17th-draft afterthoughts.

Toss in an excessively horrendous supporting performance from the generally quite excellent Peter Stormare, Jonathan Pryce delivering what's arguably the worst work of his entire career, and a directorial approach that adores the visual while ignoring (literally) everything else, and you're looking at one stunning disappointment of a movie. Frankly I never would have believed that Terry Gilliam had a movie this bad in him.

Gilliam's trademark visual style and a few darkly bizarre moments of comedy aside, "The Brothers Grimm" is a chore of epic proportions. What should have been a dark and twisted take on the classic fairy tales has, against all odds, hit the screens looking like so much "deleted scenes" footage. Much as it pains to say it, this is a staggeringly inert, helplessly confused, and periodically infuriating misfire. But it'll take more than one turkey in 20-some years before I'll wash my hands of Terry Gilliam. Let's just call this one an outright blunder and move on to the next masterpiece.

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originally posted: 08/26/05 16:14:45
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell not grimm pretty good actually 4 stars
2/07/11 Pamela White fun take on dark age con men and karma 3 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
6/09/07 Danielle Ophelia Indeed it is better than Van Helsing--long live Gilliam--but that doesn't take much. 3 stars
6/03/07 Beth C. this movie was very interesting and really fun to watch. 5 stars
11/30/06 Stanley Thai Meh. Gilliam kinda falls short with this film. 3 stars
10/20/06 MP Bartley Visually ravishing and loopily entertaining. The film Van Helsing should have been. 4 stars
9/08/06 drydock54321 kind of dumb 3 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist Obviously an attempt at a Labyrinth-ish cult classic; So its strictly medieocre. 3 stars
7/13/06 David Cohen Gilliam's worst movie, lacked cohesion, but not terrible 3 stars
7/07/06 Doremimi If your TV has a subtitles feature, turn it on, otherwise, it's completely incoherent. 2 stars
6/27/06 chienne Loved it, different & typically Gilliam. 5 stars
1/01/06 y2mckay too dumbed down for adults, too violent for kids, weak broad humor and meandering plot. 2 stars
12/25/05 othree Disneyish butchering Grimm favorites, in good humor, family movie 3 stars
12/19/05 um fatty it was a good movie um, publish 4 stars
12/19/05 Bree It was a fun film, but less than par for Gilliam. 3 stars
9/22/05 Fritz Dollar theaters were made for this sort of movie. Entertaining. 3 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes booooooooooooring 2 stars
9/21/05 Eric Fortune I thought this movie was better than most critics said it was. I enjoyed it. 4 stars
9/19/05 Glennyce Paetzmann If you're willing to submit to Gilliam's style completely, then you might end up liking it. 4 stars
9/15/05 millersxing A disappointment. BG is to Gilliam as Sleepy Hollow is to Burton. 3 stars
9/07/05 Gray I thought it would more funny and less weird 3 stars
8/31/05 Christian lady Too choppy, boring other than the forest scenes 3 stars
8/31/05 Titus Moments of genius, but some horrible writing and acting by the supporting cast. 3 stars
8/29/05 herkos akhaion One of Gilliam's best 5 stars
8/28/05 sweetgrrl1972 Boring. I've never come so close to falling asleep in a movie theatre before 1 stars
8/27/05 cam-ron I already saw this film. It was called BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF...only that one was good. 2 stars
8/27/05 sam a wild romp i recommend for all. 4 stars
8/27/05 KingNeutron SUCKS ALL ASS; I can't blv they actually released this pile of CRAP. Ledger is miscast. 1 stars
8/27/05 Mr. Chuckles Surprisingly awesome. Almost as good as Twelve Monkeys. Almost. 5 stars
8/26/05 Ray OK 4 stars
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  26-Aug-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Dec-2005



Directed by
  Terry Gilliam

Written by
  Ehren Kruger

  Matt Damon
  Heath Ledger
  Peter Stormare
  Jonathan Pryce
  Monica Bellucci
  Lena Headey

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