The Brothers Grimm

Bomb Rating: 

Terry Gilliam movies almost always require another viewing and it's not because they're any good.

I only want to watch a movie once. That's almost always enough. Actually, most times that's one time too many. However, no matter how complex the movie, one time should be enough. It should always be enough.

Terry Gilliam movies almost always require another viewing and it's not because they're any good. Usually, it's because two things are going on in them. First, I can never understand a damn thing anyone is saying. Second, while I'm trying to understand what the characters are saying, I'm trying to drown out the whispering of all the stupid people around me asking each other "What did he say?"

Could anybody understand Brad Pitt in "12 Monkeys"? No. Could anybody understand Johnny Depp in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"? No. Could anybody understand Jeff Bridges in "The Fisher King"? No. Can anybody ever understand Jeff Bridges? What the hell is wrong with that dude's speech anyway?

In "The Brothers Grimm" the culprit is Peter Stormare, who's kind of like Jeff Bridges in that he's an actor who's pretty much incomprehensible all the time. So given that, what does Gilliam do? He casts him as an Italian. So Stormare walks around the movie slurring in this thick Italian accent and about one out of every ten words that comes out of his mouth is comprehensible.

Though the movie isn't about Stormare, he's in it an awful lot. Matt Damon and Heath Ledger play Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm and the whole film is kind of a riff on how their fairy tales came to be. There are lots of fairy tale inside jokes, which is a problem because nobody in the audience with a driver's license has heard one of those stories for at least a decade. So basically, if you want to fully enjoy the film, you have to go and read those stories again and then go watch the movie again. Who has that kind of time?

A story eventually emerges from the various gags and it concerns an enchanted forest and a queen (Monica Bellucci) trapped in a tower who needs twelve girls in tombs to complete a spell that will grant her eternal youth. This is a problem for the brothers, because while they parade around as supernatural saviors, they are actually frauds. They get some help from Angelika (Lena Headey) who seems useless to the story and annoyed me because I had just watched her the previous night in "The Cave." When Angelika leads them to the enchanted forest, they're surprised to learn that magic really exists.

If only Angleika could have appeared to lead me out of the theater.

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