Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Brothers Grimm

Another thing you need to know about me when it comes to movies: I love films based on fairy tales. Since I grew up watching Disney films with the rest of my generation, I have come to enjoy fairy tales even in their most blatant forms of happy endings but I also enjoy the darker side of the tales which is how they were written way back when. The most prominent authors of fairy tales were the German Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, and their works have been adapted to film and even films have been made about the brothers themselves. Most of these movies are light-hearted adaptations but we are going to talk about the 2005 film directed by Monty Python alumnus Terry Gilliam. This movie of course begins once upon a time...

The Brothers Grimm, Jake and Will, are con artists who go from village to town to rid the people there of supernatural forces of evil: witches, demons, monsters and evil spells. Older Will is in it for the money, the glory and the women it attracts while Jake is more interested in chronicling the folklores into stories much to his brother's frustration. Being in French occupied Germany doesn't help the Brothers Grimm when they are captured by Italian torturer, Cavaldi, and taken to French General Delatombe who has another mystery for them to solve...while trying to find a way to debunk the brothers' past "victories".

Young girls are going missing in the village of Marbaden  and Will and Jake are sent to find out why and soon discover that the woods about the village are said to be cursed by an ancient queen, gifted with eternal life but in search of eternal youth and beauty that only the blood of twelve young girls can bring her. Not knowing the woods, the brothers along with Cavaldi are lead to the beautiful huntress Angelika, whose own sisters were taken by the queen, to lead them into the cursed forest.

After stopping the queen's werewolf huntsman from taking the final twelfth girl from the village, Jake and Will soon have to go off and rescue Angelika when it is determined she will be the last girl instead to complete the Queen's spell. All of the stories are coming true and the Brothers Grimm only have a short time to save Angelika and the other girls from the village from the wicked queen but with General Delatombe and his french soldiers out to capture them...can Will and Jake bring a happily ever after to their own dark fairy tale?

The Brothers Grimm is one of my favorite films due to its very dark take on fairy tales but with enough comedy and drama to keep me entertained and of course it is also filled with adventure and fantasy like the stories of the real Brothers Grimm that is the reason I watched the film in the first place. Matt Damon and the late Heath Ledger are very talented in this film which shows of how funny at times Matt Damon can be and the role of Jacob Grimm fits Heath Ledger's charm and he is just adorable and vulnerable at the same time. I relate with Heath's role more than Matt's role as Will because I am interested in the romance and the fantasy of the stories Jake wishes to tell more than the fame and glory that seems to be the character's focus but I love the connection of almost real brothers that Damon as Will brings to the story when he and Ledger share the screen.

Even though the Brothers Grimm are the main characters, Jonathan Pryce as General Delatombe and Peter Stormare as Cavaldi at times steal the movie with their over acting but being a Terry Gilliam film, it is to be expected that overacting does not equal hammy but comedic gold. Lena Headey's Angelika is a very positive female character and I like how she is not made out to be just some shallow love interest to cause friction between the two brothers but a woman who can handle herself without the help of a man. Monica Bellucci as the Evil Queen has a very limited role but the time she spends onscreen she is seductive, beautiful and dangerous enough to bring the role of the vain and evil sorceress  present in any fairy tale to life. Besides the characters, the beauty of the Czech Republic is showcased in the beautiful background as the filming location and the cinematography is just breathtaking.

If you enjoy fantasy films and love fairy tales as much as I do, you will enjoy The Brothers Grimm. I can also say that if you love Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as much as I do, you will enjoy this film. You may watch the film only to see these two talented and handsome actors but you will end up falling under the spell of this film for all its dark and fanciful charm just as much as I have.

Next Blog: Suspiria

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