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A Couple Of Reactions To Terry Gilliam's GRIMM!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

I can’t wait to get a look at this one. Early on, I heard numerous rumors about Gilliam pretty much going through the motions, treating this like his “get out of jail free” card, doing whatever he had to do to make a hit so that he could go back and make films he cared about again. But even if he’s making a “commercial” film, this is Terry Gilliam we’re talking about. I have my fingers crossed that he’s made something really special out of this, and so reading these reviews, I’m extra-interested.

First up, we’ve got a mixed reaction, but optimistic nonetheless...

Hi Harry,

You used my review of the HELLBOY New York sneak peek; I hope you can use this too.

Saw a test screening of Gilliam’s THE BROTHERS GRIMM (starring Matt Damon, Ben Af… er… Heath Ledger, and Monica Bellucci) last night at the Loew’s 19th Street theaters in NYC, and I must say that I was pretty disappointed. Which is not to say that there’s no hope for this movie, it was obvious that there’s a lot of potential, but, again, the version I saw – complete but with unfinished special effects, music, etc – just doesn’t cut it.

Gilliam was there (I saw him talking with some people in front of the theater, out of sight of the side door where attendees lined up and entered), but he didn’t make his presence known to the audience before or after the screening. It appears that THE BROTHERS GRIMM is supposed to be a humorous PG-13 fantasy/adventure movie, and it comes off as being so.

The acting, for the most part, is solid, there are a lot of good visuals and nice allusions to many classic fairy tales, action, suspense, and plenty of humorous moments – even the plot is good – however the movie in its present form simply doesn’t work. The first half didn’t compel me to care one way or another about the outcome of the movie.

The following is absolutly spoiler free.

As the movie begins we see a little girl in a red hooded cape make her way through a dark forest. Soon enough, and just before she reaches her village, she’s kidnapped or killed or whatever, by whom or what we’re not sure, but in any event some distressed, anonymous, old man calls out to her and the scene ends. We’re then introduced to the Brothers Grimm in rather dramatic fashion, and shortly thereafter we see how they go about making their living. After this exciting sequence they get in trouble with Napoleon’ s occupying army and must do a “job” for the government to save their heads. At the site of their new job, where nine young girls have gone missing in the nearby forest, we meet their mutual love interest, Angelica, who has lost various members of her family (all of them actually) to the dark, cursed forest. Reluctantly Angelica leads the Brothers and the accompanying French soldiers into the forest, where they are accosted by a fairly bad ass wolf, moving trees and a swarm of insects – needless to say this is when the really creepy shit starts to happen and where we are introduced to the main antagonist(s).

So far the plot was good enough for me, but at this point I still didn’t give half a shit about any of the characters. We’re introduced to the Brothers and then immediately thereafter the plot starts to roll – I dunno, perhaps Gilliam could add some more introductory material. Also, maybe it’s just because I’m an asshole, but to me at least, knowing that nine little girls are missing and caring about the fact that nine little girls are missing do not necessarily go hand in hand. Finding these missing girls, well her two sisters anyways, is Angelica’s main motivation – since I didn’t care about her motivation I didn’t care about her either. Perhaps Gilliam could solve this problem by introducing Angelica in the beginning as Little Red Riding Hood’s older sister (i.e. Angelica calls out to Little Red Riding Hood rather than the anonymous, potentially insane old man/woman) - but again what do I know about storytelling/film-making. At any rate my point is that there were a lot of great elements here but they weren’t all brought together to make a great movie. As it is, I don’t think the movie is very good, nor do I think it would perform very well in theaters, but I think a few changes would make this a fantastic movie.


Cool. Thanks, man. Let’s see what the other scooper had to say about it...

Hey guys,

I wasnt going to attend tonights screening of The Brothers Grimm because im usually beat on a Monday night,but my sister convinced me to to. I had only heard bits and pieces about the film until tonight. Before the film started a woman from Dimension Films who never gave her name stated that what we were about to see was an unfinished work. Effects involving a wolf and moving trees were not quite finished and also you may see a bit of wire work. So I cant be too judgmental of the film.

The film opens beautifully with a scene in black & white and the only color we see is the blood red cloak,of who i assumed was Red Riding Hood,as she is being stalked by the wolf which for now we only see in shadow. After that we are introduced to The Brothers Grimm :Think Ghosbusters circa 1805.They go on and on to scared townspeople of how they can remove the witch that has been haunting them.Matt Damon is the pessimistic,womanizing,money loving Will Grimm,and Heath Ledger is the hopeful,bookish,hopeless romantic Jake Grimm.Of course its all a ruse,and Soon their tricks catch the eye of Jonathan Pryce as French emperor Delatombe who threatens them with torture unless they find 11 missing children who Delatombe believes were kidnapped by similar tricksters. Delatombe also places his italian aide Peter Stormare as Cavaldi to keep a close eye on the brothers.Arriving at the town in which the children have vanished they meet the beautiful Lena Headey as Angelika,think a female Davey Crocket of course both brothers become quite taken with her.

As i mentioned before i cant really judge the films look because its unfinished while some scenes were beautiful and flawless others were grainy. Damon and Ledger work well together and are fun to watch. Pryce was a bit annoying at times. And it seems Stormare was playing the same character from Armageddon, except this time instead of a proud russian he's a proud italian, but he was still fun to watch. The film overstays its welcome for about 20 minutes i clocked the running time at 140 minutes. Most of the effects work The women of the film are beautiful, Monica Belluci is as beautiful and voluptuous as ever but she has as much screen time as she did in the Matrix films. Lena Headey was pretty good as the tough but beautiful love interest. Some parts of the story are not explained especially the part of the story concerning Angelika's father.

In the end i liked the film and would love to see the completed work. Im a big fan of Director Terry Gilliam's work,i think out of all of his films this one was the easiest to decipher.

if this is posted call me Darknight

Strangled syntax aside, both of these responses seem to be fairly promising. I hope the film isn’t much shorter than the 140 minutes the second guy mentions. Personally, I can’t get enough of Gilliam’s worlds once we get into them, and I’m pleased to hear that so much of this seems to be working already, even in such a rough state.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • May 25, 2004, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Terry Gilliam will surely not disappoint...

    by FineEagerSeeker

  • May 25, 2004, 7:12 a.m. CST

    Gilliam is a champ! I hope this movie is great!

    by Jon E Cin

    I never seen that documentary on the Johnny Depp film that ended in disaster..but I really feel for this guy. He doesnt get too much respect from those studio assholes.

  • May 25, 2004, 7:15 a.m. CST

    Belluci's twins....

    by badboymason

    When I was watching Matrix 2+3, I couldnt help wondering why Bellucci had 2 bald Hulk Hogan heads stuck on her chest.

  • May 25, 2004, 7:36 a.m. CST


    by Trevor Goodchild

    He does like that era. Speaking of Napoleon. Time Bandits. Revisited this childhood favourite recently on DVD. Anyone else know that there was a missing scene involving a spiderwoman? It's similar to the Shelob premise. She lurks in caves on the way up to the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness. Like to see an extended edit with this back in place.

  • May 25, 2004, 7:41 a.m. CST

    I think the Big bad Wolf should be played by Hulk Hogan

    by Judge Doom

    "not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin, brother?"

  • May 25, 2004, 10:03 a.m. CST

    First the COENs, now GILLIAM

    by ScreamingPenis

    when has Terry Gilliam been known to "go through the motions?" i am not sure why this site insists on using innuendo and rumor to try and trash today's most sincere filmmakers.

  • May 25, 2004, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Monica Bellucci is the lord's gift to chronic masturbators

    by JohnnyBlueJeans

    I should know

  • May 25, 2004, 6:57 p.m. CST

    Any reviewer who starts off by telling the reader he didn't real

    by The Real McCoy

    Maybe it's just me but I'd be a little bit more jazzed if I, being a movie fan, could go watch a film months before it's actual release. Even if it's a Monday. I'm a grown adult and I can set my own bedtime.**** I just watched Lost in the Mancha and it was quite interesting to see just how much trouble Terry Gilliam has in making a film. He really shouldn't have even had to go through the crap he had to go through. Just because no U.S. studio wanted to shell out a measly 30 million dollars( the budget of some network sweeps mini-series) we couldn't enjoy what looked to be another great Gilliam flick. I'm glad he got a shot with this new film but he really shouldn't have to do a safe picture just because he had one flop fifteen years ago. Every director and actor has a flop. Hell, look at Costner. He hasn't had a commercial hit since Dances but producers still throw money at him. And Schumacher? He managed to single-handedly kill an ENTIRE franchise. He still got to make his movies. I see a huge disconnect. But I can explain it. Most people in Hollywood aren't creative. Terry Gilliam is. So, naturally, they don't trust or understand him.

  • May 25, 2004, 7:11 p.m. CST

    MORE Gilliam please!

    by flossygomez

    I really hope this will bring Terry back from the shitmire that was La Mancha. We need lots more films by this visual genius.

  • May 25, 2004, 8:42 p.m. CST

    I'll see it, of course

    by beamish13

    Regardless of my reservations for Damon, Ledger, and the co-writer, Ehren Kruger

  • May 25, 2004, 9:01 p.m. CST

    I disagree about his commericial films...

    by Roger Thornhill

    I think his more daring and anti-mainstream films are far more interesting like Brazil(his masterpiece), Adv of Baron Muchansen, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas(easily his most underrated film). I prefer those three to 12 Monkeys, Fisher King, and yes even Time Bandits.

  • May 25, 2004, 11:15 p.m. CST

    Lame!!!!!!! Don't these people know they are dealing with a geni

    by msbrazil

    Three reviews so far, and nothing to get very excited about. What is up with that?? I want this movie to be another Gilliam classic, but I also want it to make money for everybody. Is that too much to ask? Oh, and I agree with the person who said "Brazil" was his masterpiece. One of my favorite movies of all time.

  • May 26, 2004, 12:29 a.m. CST

    Do they still teach English in school?

    by Skraggo

    For the love of GOD, did anyone actually graduate high school English? No, scratch that. How about simple old GRADE SCHOOL English? It's like the internet came along and then 75% of the population forgot even the simplest rules of grammar. The illiterate garbage that people submit for publication on the internet is shocking. If you're an idiot and you can't spell or use grammar or punctuation then at least trot upstairs out of the basement and ask your mom to proofread what you've written before you submit it to the world. Jesus --- your computer will do most of that shit FOR YOU these days. Drew's the best writer on this site. Harry, God love him, would never be able to pass English Comp I. And probably 90% of the people who send in reviews and reports couldn't conjugate a sentence even if it meant a lifetime supply of blowjobs from Liv Tyler. So I mean, really --- what's the story, people? Did you skim by in high school with a D average or what? I blame this all on the internet. And cellphones. Oh, and back on topic --- Gilliam is a genius, but I've got my reservations about this one.

  • May 26, 2004, 4:17 a.m. CST

    We're all rooting for Gilliam, but 140 minutes of that does soun

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    Lord knows I ain't a ridiculous right-wing Frenchie-hater, but man, the last two modern French films I remember seeing in theaters were both WAY too long: Brotherhood of the Wolf & Amelie. Not that Gilliam is French, just that 140 minutes sounds overlong. I mean, Le Haine & Man Bites Dog were kick-ass and didn't overstay their welcomes. Haha just kidding about MBD, you Poirots out there. Don't bust a waffle on my ass.

  • May 26, 2004, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Gilliam will deliver a good film, as usual.

    by ExcaliburFfolkes

    He hasn't made a bad film yet, and I don't expect he'll start now (even with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in the starring roles).

  • May 26, 2004, 5:07 p.m. CST

    CoffeeEnema, it's not just an age thing

    by GypsyTRobot

    I've found I can't be truly good friends with anyone who doesn't like Time Bandits and Brazil. Donnie Darko and Heathers, also. It's got something to do with a mindset of imagination, alienation and a touch of madness. A big dollop of geekly victimization as well.

  • May 26, 2004, 5:32 p.m. CST

    FALILV is one of the premiere "cult" films of our time

    by beamish13

    Absolutely fantastic adaptation. Alex Cox and Terry G. really outdid themselves...

  • May 26, 2004, 9:11 p.m. CST

    Loews 19th and Gilliam

    by Some Dude

    Loews 19th St is where I had my first experience with film testing. I was part of the audience that gutted Halloween 6. We took one on the chin so you didn't have to. Oh, and my little brother has recently become pals with Gilliam. Weird.

  • May 28, 2004, 8:03 a.m. CST

    I hope its as good as Time Bandits

    by Garko

    That is my favorite Gilliam movie

  • June 13, 2004, 1:55 p.m. CST

    The Brothers Grimm Rocks!!!

    by Dieselboy212

    I've gotta say, Gilliam has done it again. At first I was afraid that he would soften it up by making it some movie that was mainly targeted towards kids between 4 to 12, cause there are WAY too many of those already. This was the farthest thing from a kiddie cliche that I have seen in a very long time. Even though the effects and music weren't completely done when I saw it at a very early screening, it still was great and had my undivided attention from start to finish. I just can't wait to see the completed version. My favorite aspect of this movie is that he manages to grasp the fantasy world and takes it seriously while successfully blending in his brilliant Monty Python sense of humor. Bottom line: This movie kicked ass! Can't wait until it hits theaters.