Matt Damon and Heath Ledger; how could it go wrong? The Brothers Grimm is a fantasy stemming from the tales of the famous children’s fairy tale authors, the Grimm brothers. It was directed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame. It’s a comedy/fantasy about the two con men/brothers who ostensibly help villagers rid themselves of supernatural disturbances.
It is 1796 and Wilhelm “Will” (Matt Damon) and Jacob “Jake” Grimm (Heath Ledger) find themselves in the village of Marbaden encountering a very real supernatural spell, with children having disappeared, including Little Red Riding Hood and Gretel among others. With the help of an independent, spirited young female guide Angelika (Lena Headey), they traverse the forest that has enchantment throughout.
I started to fall asleep. This is very rare, my falling asleep during a movie, so that is not a good sign. Matt Damon sounded like he was copying Heath Ledger’s Australian accent, and Heath played the wimpy younger brother well. They were in period dress, and it seemed odd to watch Matt Damon with that hair and costuming.
What did stand out were the special effects. The forest that was very much alive was teeming with all types of creepy, crawly bugs, lots of them. I don’t like bugs and didn’t like that much. There are other scenes where people turn to glass and shatter, which was pretty spectacular.
I seem to recall that in my childhood I had a worn copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Whether they were whitewashed like the Disney movies or remained true to the original “grim” stories, I can’t recall. But the fairy tales they wrote were kind of horrific. Think about Little Red Riding Hood for instance. She is stalked by a wolf in her grandmother’s clothing, and barely escapes with her life. Hansel and Gretel are about to be eaten by a cannibalistic witch (if you can equate a witch in their tale with being human), all scary and dismal stories. No doubt intended to keep kids on the straight and narrow to behave, not wander away lest they suffer a fate worse than death.
Maybe I was just tired; I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. As I mentioned earlier, I am a great fan of both Damon’s and Ledger’s work, but I found myself thinking some other actors would have been better in these roles, less famous perhaps as their acting legends precede them and they were always so recognizable as themselves.
The film is rated PG-13 for violence, frightening sequences, and brief suggestive material. The Mirror Queen (Monica Bellucci) is responsible for some of this as it is her goal to drink the blood of 12 young girls to restore her beauty.
If you like fantasy, you might enjoy The Brothers Grimm. It was a clever story after all, supposing that the brothers’ inspiration for their fairy tales was actually real supernatural events. If you’ve seen the film, please leave a comment on what you thought of it. Thanks!