Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Lena Headey, Peter Stormare, Jonathan Pryce and Monica Bellucci

Terry Gilliam

Running Time:
122 mins

Out to buy on DVD 13/03/06

"The is not a fairy tale!"

Famed for their vanquishing of demons, witches and all other forms of evil, Wilhelm (Damon) and Jacob Grimm (Ledger) have become almost legendary in the villages of French-occupied Germany. Even during Napoleonic times, the people still believe in the superstitions and ghost folklore that they have grown up with and the famous Brother Grimm know this. You see they are frauds, charlatans that take advance of the naivety of the simple village folk but when they actually come across a real enchanted forest that might just be the death of them.

The return of Terry Gilliam to the director's chair should be a time for celebration but can 'The Brothers Grimm' provide a happy ending?

The premise of the famous fairy tale writers actually been hoaxers who use their knowledge of folktales and local superstitions to plan elaborate schemes to con villagers out of their money is an interesting one, especially when famed fantasy director Terry Gilliam is involved. These latter day ghostbusters of sorts and the influences for the stories they would later write should have made for a classic comedy fantasy but there is something missing from 'The Brothers Grimm'.

Gilliam's trademark visual flare and ability to create a unique world is all here but there seems to be something very subdued and almost dated about it. Once a pioneer in visual effects, Gilliam seems to be struggling to keep up with the advances in visual effects since his last film back in 1998 (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). The forest sets are wonderfully designed but awful lighting reveals them for the sets that they are. Unlike 'The Lord of the Rings' or other any modern fantasy film, the sets and setting do not do the same impact or creativity that the new millennium films have had as he fails to raise to the new standard. Also some of the visual effects are well below standard. The scene were Wilhelm and Jacob are flying while under a spell is some of the worst blue screen effects since the 80s. You will be truly appalled.

The real plus point of the movie however is the presence of Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in the leading roles. Confident and the brains behind the team, Wilhelm is one who pushes his brother into their nefarious con and of course, deals with the money. This is a role that Damon can play in his sleep but he makes it his own. The same can be said for Heath Ledger as Jacob, the collector of folk tales and the one who tells his brother about the best con to run in their chosen village. He is a more sensitive sole who actually wants to believe in real magic but this once cost him so badly. The supporting cast are also fine with one exception. While Lena Headley gets a chance to shine as Angelika, the tomboy trapper who the villagers think is cursed and the beautiful and criminally underused Monica Bellucci as the Mirror Queen is as good as ever, Peter Stormare's Cavaldi is one of the most irritating characters to grace cinema in many a year. For such a good actor (just watch Fargo or The Big Lebowski), this character is just so annoying and you will despise every moment he is on the screen.

'The Brothers Grimm' is a real disappointment for those fans that have been waiting for the return of Terry Gilliam for so long. With Peter Stormare's character almost destroying the movie and the look of the film been so dated, this is a fantasy film that will struggle to find itself living happily ever after.


Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good.


Audio Commentary
Watch the movie with commentary from director Terry Gilliam. The ex-python provides a fun and informative track for the movie. He reveals how he became involved with the feature, saying that he didn't actually like the original script until his friend Steven Soderbergh told him he should get involved. He then discusses the changes that came from this and how the film developed from there. With insights into casting, locations, sets and the visual effects of the piece, this is a good single person commentary from the cult director.

Deleted Scenes (15.09 mins)
Entitled 'Escargot', 'Brothers in Cages', 'Cavaldi warns Will', 'In the forest', 'Cinderella Story', 'Will to the rescue', 'The chef gets the chop', 'No hidey, hidey secrets', 'The fat soldier', 'Where is this tower', 'Sasha's funeral procession' and 'Ready for life on the road?', these deleted or extended scenes are accompanied by a commentary track by director Terry Gilliam.

Bringing the Fairytale to life (16.29 mins)
Director Terry Gilliam, production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas and stars Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Lena Headey, Peter Stormare, Jonathan Pryce and Monica Bellucci talk about what drew them to the project and what it was like working on the film. They reveal how they created the characters, with some of them talking about playing against type, as the feature looks at the style of the village, forest and torture sets used in the film.

The Visual Magic of 'The Brothers Grimm' (8.41 mins)
Director Terry Gilliam, digital effects supervisor John Paul Dochery, digital effects compositor Dennis Jones, visual effects compositor Paul Round and artist Janet Quen talk about the computer generated effects used in the movie. The featurette looks at the wolf, the mirror and the Queen.

Watch previews of 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', 'Flightplan' and 'Proof'


The DVD package for 'The Brothers Grimm' is pretty good. The featurette are informative but nothing new, the commentary tack however is well worth a listen just because it is Terry Gilliam. Fans of the film will be pleased with the package but like the film, you can't help but think it could have been so much better.


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