Sunday, August 28, 2005

ZMG's Review of The Brothers Grimm

There are odd movies and there are odd movies. This movie got about a 6.5 on my wtf-meter. But not entirely because it was a good sense of oddity either.

No, this movie was a few too many stumbles from a good odd movie. The film was too silly to be a good horror film, too bland (even by british standards) to be a comedy and too weird to be a good action film.

The film starts out as two brothers who apparently still work together even though one of them was directly responsible for their sister's death when they were younger as they scam a town into believing there is a witch flying around and haunting its people. The scam works and yet somehow the French government still finds out and they are arrested within 12 hours. And you thought Amber alerts were effective.

The French then blackmail the Brothers Grimm into finding out what is going on in a small town where children have been going missing for some time. Apparently, the French are running low on guards as they can't seem to send any of their own troops to head up the investigation outside of a sadistic torturer (the only source of humor in the film) and a couple of useless soldiers whose sole purpose is to be eaten by the trees. After they arrive in the town the plot moves along jerkily as the nerdy Grimm brother (Heath Ledger) acts like a witless Agent Mulder and pushes the plot along after its become obvious to the audience. The other Grimm brother (Matt Damon) acts like a tough ladies-man who only uses his skills for fighting to beat up on his wimpy brother and a failed attempt at bravery in the last 5 minutes of the film. The brothers then try to get a grasp on the weird world of wonder unfolding right beyond the edge of the trees as a vain and seemingly immortal Queen attempts to regain her beauty lost for 500 years. In her defense, the Queen has its army of writhing carnivorous trees with a taste for French cuisine, black crows and a transforming wolf/hunter with a few mystical trinkets of his own.. which he doesn't seem to mind leaving behind if it happens to help the plot stumble along. Eventually the queen is defeated and everyone is saved, including one guy that gets stabbed in the chest twice and falls out of a 50 ft tower. Yeah.. getting stabbed in the chest twice was all a spell... sure.

There are only two really good scenes in the film. They both deal with the abduction of little girls from the town, one involving a horse that spits out a spiderweb which it then sucks back in with a girl tangled within the web and the other involves a mud creature that absorbs the child's eyes and mouth before absorbing the rest of the girl into its belly and running off. It was these two scenes that make the movie worth seeing. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie wasn't nearly as inventive.

Highlights of the film:
  • One carnivorous horse
  • One child eating mud creature
  • One shredded kitten
  • One transforming wolf with a boomerang axe
Now, usually I just rant about what a crapfest a movie is before I pass judgement. This time I want to do more than piss on this film because I think it could have been done so much better.

This is how I would have made this film. I would have the Brothers Grimm roaming the countryside as a pair of 18th century Ghostbusters. The studious Grimm brother would be a researcher and armed with several knick-knacks and inventions to ward off evil. The tough Grimm brother would act as a mercenary, shooting first and asking questions later. The movie would start out as a child is sucked into the forest by yet another inventive and bizarre trap set by the wicked Queen. Afterwards, the Brother's Grimm would be seen slaying a giant that has been having his minion sell beans to hapless country folk who wind up getting kidnapped by fast-growing beanstalks with venus-flytrap like bean pods are taken up to the giant's home in the sky and are eventually harvested and eaten by the cannibalistic giant. After slaying the giant, the two would be requested by the French government to look into the strange disappearances of the children of a small town. The French, looking to steal the brother's glory, sends a sadistic soldier of its own. The plot evolves as at least 6 more bizarre kidnappings occur, the Brothers Grimm study the local folklore and try to defend the townsfolk from the enchanted dangers within the forest. Eventually, the Brothers find out what the Queen is up to and that the French are looking to assassinate the Brothers. The Brothers then trick the French sadist into bringing a French garrison to attack the forest and take the brunt of the Queen's wrath as the Brothers sneak past the army, deal with the huntsman and put an end to the Queen's diabolical plan to gain eternal youth. The movie ends as the ravens pick up and fly off with the pieces of the shattered Queen and the possibility of a sequel is born.

Final Grade: D
Final Note: Wait for it to come out on DVD and then flip a coin.

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