The Brothers Grimm Reviews
Initially just plain deadly dull. Makes Van Helsing look like a towering masterpiece.
It doesn't so much have a plot as characters repeatedly telling you what the plot is. Nothing is terrifying - the actors just say they are terrified.
It's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang without the Car or Neuschwanstein or Gert Froebe or Caractacus Potts or Truly Scrumptious or the children or Robert Helpmann or Benny Hill. It's the Singing Ringing Tree without the singing ringing tree.
Matt Damon and Heath Ledger are the two most miscast actors in the history of cinema. Between them they have the charisma of Chitty's spare wheel. Damon is the worse of the two, but that's mainly because he gets more lines. They pronounce Kassel (rhymes with hassle, just as it is written) as "Karzel"!
In theory the idea is that the two brothers (philologists, not authors) accidentally get into one of their own fairy tales looking for missing children, but that doesn't begin until more than half-way through, and it's only incidental. The context for the whole is the Napoleonic wars, which regularly intrude, and it seems that the French represent modern tyrannical unimaginative realism (or the USA or Hollywood), whereas the Germans represent an older, more imaginative idealism, but given 20th c. history, the unintentional irony is pretty bitter. And in the end the Grimms' world is not destroyed by the French, it self-destructs. Or is that meant to be historical? Gilliam has a degree in politics, so anything is possible, but you'd be foolish (I know I have been) to try to read too much into this movie. 113 minutes wasted from your life.
That said, the film is far from perfect, and despite having A-list leads in Matt Damon and the late Heath Ledger, 'Grimm' stumbles and fumbles all over itself due to a series of missteps. The two-hour trek through many of the fairytales that were brought into this world by German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm feels like a mish-mash of moments from some of the better known stories as opposed to a logical storyline. Sure, there is a plot that revolves around a small town in French-occupied Germany that keeps losing its young girls to a haunted forest. But the execution is really sloppy, even for a veteran director.
Overall, 'Grimm' suffers from an identity crisis. It can't figure out if it wants to be a dumb comedy or a violent action vehicle, so it tries to be both. This is where the film falls apart, because there are a few scenes that are memorably funny, and there are a few scenes that give 'Grimm' a poor man's 'Pirates of the Caribbean' feel. But the majority of the film is a mess, all over the place and filled with unlikable characters and awkward dialogue. Damon and Ledger are too good for their roles, and while there are strong supporting performances from Lena Headey as a woodland warrior and Monica Bellucci as an enchanted Mirror Queen, the acting is a noticeably weak link here.
While it's fine to give Gilliam and co props for trying to give a new spin on such a legendary story, it's fair to say the mark was sorely missed this time, and 'The Brothers Grimm' is just another misfire of a summer blockbuster.
- With the budget this film had, it couldn't work. This project should have been scrapped a long time ago.
- The acting (aside from Matt & Heath) was absolutely horrible. If I liked this movie for anything. It would be for the two brother's performances overall.
- Dubbing a film "The Brother's Grimm" immediately puts it in big shoes to fills. To fit, no pun intended, but to fit that shoe, you must go beyond those expectations or at least meet them. This film is purely poor written fiction that honestly has no tie to the actual Grimm bothers.
- If the Brother's were to see themselves presented as scammers with ignorance, I'm most definitely sure they would be appalled with offense. I'm sure they would burn their collection to spare this film from ever being produced.