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Jabberwocky Reviews

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Phil H

Super Reviewer

March 8, 2011
A film purely based around the unusual poem by Lewis Carroll which in turn is set within the 'Alice in Wonderland' story. So a sweet classic source is corrupted and transformed into a dank musty set olde England, a time in the middle of the Dark Ages.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe.'

A stunning British cast of all stars and a style so obviously Gilliam mixed with classic 'Monty Python', all very familiar and reassuring when you watch. You know just what you're gonna get and you know its gonna be damn dark, grim, dirty, gross, unique and very creative. Gilliam is so good at creating Medieval/Dark Ages visuals with his sets, costumes, use of light, use of locations and wild imagination, plus without huge amounts of money. Yes it does look very much like 'Time Bandits' and 'The Holy Grail' which does seem a little similar/repetitive, but there are some many nice touches with that bleak eerie atmospheric look that you just can't help but enjoy it.

The characters do feel slightly cliched and again a bit too 'Python-est' but they are all fleshed out so well by the classic cast, helped along with brilliantly cheap yet effective costumes, props and sets. The story is your basic 'Prince Charming' or 'knight slaying monster' type fable, with some wickedly devilish twists. I love how the 'Princess' ('Griselda Fishfinger') in this is a fat ugly female who doesn't like Palin's character at all...until he becomes the famous monster slayer and then she wants his ass. The fact that 'Dennis Cooper's' (Palin's character) father hates him for being a wuss and the way 'Mr Fishfinger' treats him like crap, until he becomes famous. The character names are brilliant aren't they...'Mr Fishfinger' 'Griselda Fishfinger'.

There are other clever distorted fairytale elements here too, the way wealthy town merchants don't wish to help the King fight the Jabberwocky because it brings them much revenue. The local Bishop is happy to let the terror continue as it brings in lots of donations for the church and a local skilled tradesman can't find work so he cuts off his foot to become a beggar. This proves so successful he cuts off his other foot also lol!.

The film does feel a tad dull and strung out through the middle, perks up towards the finale obviously as we wait with baited breath to see the monster. Its all about the monster really isn't it, the quirky bits in between are fun if typically overused Gilliam type stuff but really you just wanna see how this creature will appear.

Some glorious gooey moments throughout are the highlight for me with some really nice makeup/effects using good old fashioned methods. The mauling and eating to death of a lonely pleasant in the woods at the start is fantastic stuff! very simply done but so effective and really gory. Love how Gilliam doesn't shy away from showing the gory remains. The Jabberwocky in the end is also nicely done, kinda like a large [i]Muppet[/i], the old man in a suit routine. Nicely designed but I'm sure will look hokey to some now.

The film is pretty dated now but its amazing how well it stands up today. Everything really does still look good and quite authentic in that typical 'Python-esq' way. I adore the dark gallows humour in this film, I'm sure all 'Python' fans will do so too, its a style that isn't really seen anymore...at least not in comedies. Its all so very 'Monty Python', I realise I say this a lot but it is!. Gilliam never liked how his work is always compared to 'Python', sorry Terry. But kudos for creating a perfect gnarly misshapen fairytale of grimness n gloom.
AJ V

Super Reviewer

September 6, 2010
A goofy spoof of fantasy movies, from Gilliam of Monty Python, but this movie is horrible next to Holy Grail. It's got some funny jokes, but overall, it's just okay.
FilmFanatik
FilmFanatik

Super Reviewer

April 28, 2007
It does hold that Gilliam style and is funny at times, but like all of his work, it's uneven. I enjoy having it on in the background to occupy my time, but not into it enough to call it a masterpiece.
Pierluigi P

Super Reviewer

July 12, 2007
Uneven, but atmospheric and funny portrait of the dark ages.
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

August 4, 2007
I was expecting the grandness of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"! But this is a bore.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

December 30, 2006
Has some of the moments of magic you'd expect from Gilliam, but it's patchy and nowhere near as good as The Holy Grail.
neumdaddy
neumdaddy

Super Reviewer

February 1, 2010
Surprisingly hilarious and not at all dated humor, this Python-esque medieval farce with token Gilliam dark humor (emphasized with some nice splattery blood) is very effective at showing the Dark Ages squalor of the peasant life, achieving something very immersive that I didn't expect from what seemed like a silly movie. There isn't much connection with any of the characters, but that doesn't make what happens any less fun.
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

August 30, 2008
Thankfully, Terry Gilliam went on to far better things...
Shrewlord
Shrewlord

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2011
Sub-Python fare from Terry Gilliam featuring a couple of his fellow Pythons. Certainly of interest for completist Python fans but it's a pale shadow of Holy Grail, for example, which is its closest comparison.
DrLappos
DrLappos

Super Reviewer

May 22, 2007
I am so into this weird sort of film and Palin is great.
rodjeckrich
March 12, 2013
I thought this was pretty good Gilliam early on in his directing career. Python enough to appease that humor taste buds and it has that goofy Gilliam charm along with a cool looking monster.
kenscheck
May 21, 2012
"Jabberwocky" is the first live action film directed by Terry Gilliam, without Python. Granted, some Pythons are in the film (including Michael Palin in the lead), but they aren't the writers, the stars, and in charge of the overall production. The movie is similar to Python's work at the time, specifically "Holy Grail", as it was made in between that film and "Life of Brian" and is set in the same medieval times (and it looks like at a lot of the same locations. This film is okay, but not nearly as good as what Python had already put out. I know that many of the Pythons weren't terribly happy with Gilliam as a director on "Holy Grail", as he was more focused on the visuals and not the jokes...and all the subsequent Python films were solely directed by Terry Jones. This is sort of like what "Holy Grail" might've been like had Gilliam had complete control over the Pythons...and the results pretty much showcase that the Pythons were right. Gilliam's best work was ahead of him, and when he moved slightly away from the Python style (in terms of humor) he became a much better filmmaker.
donaldwhite1
May 9, 2007
This was Terry Gilliam's first post Monty Python movie. It's sort of like Monty Python's Holy Grail but without all the jokes. The humor in this movie is more visual than verbal. I never saw this movie in the theater. Some of my D&D friends had seen it so when it came out on DVD I bought it. It has the typical Terry Gilliam grit and grime. He is best known for his visual humor but it took a few movies for him to get the dialog to match. This movie didn't have it. Although it's not gut busting funny it is funny.
January 1, 2012
Cute, but very much like an extended version of the Tale of Sir Lancelot from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
January 24, 2010
Dark, grotesque, and ultimately dull. There are a couple of laughs, and the few mintues you see the Jabberwocky is cool, but this movie is a disappointment of epic proportions.

"I saw a doctor once. He didn't see me. I was hiding."
June 22, 2009
Terry Gilliam is a director I'm not overly fond of, and it could be due to the fact that most of his work is not only silly, but crude and simple. Although his stories tend to deal with things that could have deeper meanings, any meaning that could be eloquently displayed is instead rather poorly done. Jabberwocky is no excuse. Revolving around one man's attempt to marry a woman he loves (although really shouldn't) and the quest he ventures on to save his town, the story of Jabberwocky seems elongated for it's short duration. We only get to the true heart of the problem at the very end, and even then it's only for a short while that we see him face his enemy. This is both a good and bad approach to the concept. Good, because it leaves one guessing as to whether this beast truly is what people say it is, and bad because the plot seems to end as quickly as it started. Although I was surprised at the quality of the Jabberwocky itself, I cannot say as much for the cinematography nor the acting. Worth a watch? Only if you thoroughly enjoy Gilliams films, especially Life of Brian and other Monty Python films.
Shane D

Super Reviewer

December 2, 2008
Classic Python attitude, with pure Gilliam style. Ahh, the good ol' days when you could get away with nudity and graphic violence in a p.g. rated movie.
June 5, 2008
Honestly, not that great. I know that there weren't actually many of the Python boys in it, but come on Terry Gilliam.
starlimitz2
November 26, 2007
An entertaining movie, and it was funny too. But of course it will never live up to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as it was clearly modeled after. I love Michael Palin, though I wish I could have seen John Cleese in this movie, as I saw he had turned down a role. I just kind of wish Palin's character wasn't so damn stupid. Some of the jokes were pretty tasteless, but for the most part it was a good movie. If only The Holy Grail had the same kind of ending and budget of this movie it would have made it perfect.
dinahmoehum
July 15, 2007
Watched this again the other day. still pretty fun! You know, it's not a great movie, but still great to put on every now and again. This is also a film that loses a lot on the small screen. A guy taking a dump out a window on a 20' high screen is something to behold!
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