"Worth it for Gilliam fans; others should step cautiously."
Terry Gilliam’s first solo flight as a director (he’d previously co-directed 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail') takes its title critter from Lewis Carroll but is closer in spirit to Chaucer.That’s the good news for literate viewers; the bad news is that those who appreciate the film’s Chaucerian qualities (its relentless ribaldry, cloacal jokes, etc.) will also know that Chaucer was funnier. Still, Gilliam wins major points for so thoroughly debunking the Dark Ages as rewritten by ignorant moviemakers, turning every conceivable medieval cliché on its head.
Michael Palin, perhaps the most soulful and versatile Python performer, does fine work as Dennis, a hapless cooper’s son who finds himself defending a run-down kingdom against the fearsome Jabberwocky. The movie is of some interest to fans of Brazil — it’s an early example of Gilliam sharpening his claws on bureaucracy — and the sets by Millie Burns are authentically grungy.
Uneven (what Gilliam film isn’t?) but worth seeing (what Gilliam film isn’t?).Score by De Wolfe; highly erratic cinematography by Terry Bedford. With cameos by Terry Jones, Gilliam (as a nutcase who insists that his rocks are diamonds), Neil Innes, and David Prowse as a knight in the jousting tournament.