The Brothers Grimm Terry Gilliam

The former Python and director of The Fisher King has a resume filled with mutated fables and rewritten history. So, creating a false back-story for the literary brothers who documented German folklore into the most well known fairytales would seem perfect for him. And in some ways it is: Grimm is a cinematically beautiful film filled with clever visual allusions to the many myths the real Grimms recorded. Alas, it is all for not: the crux of this story centres on two con-artists brothers — the neurotic and socially inept Jacob (played by Heath Ledger) and his charismatic alter ego William (played by Matt Damon) — forced to confront an event of mythological proportions. And while the plot structure wants to support the story of the two learning that they are better than the sum of their parts, the character development is so minimal and unconvincing that this bond never comes off as believable. The most interesting pairing in the film — a Napoleonic officer (Jonathan Pryce) and his torture engineer Carvaldi (Peter Stormare) — goes underutilised. Although the viewer is privy to a rich and deep environment, the characters have nowhere to go. The DVD comes with a standard fluff doc where the stars ramble about how wonderful making the film was and another that provides a speedy look into the visual effects of the film — safe as milk. The commentary track by Gilliam, on the other hand, is where the additional features get interesting. The movie's special effects are lush but look underdeveloped by today's standards; Gilliam acknowledges early on that they had attempted to use traditional miniature and animation techniques but had to resort to CGI. This is just a foreshadowing of the self-criticism and production issues he is willing to reveal — budget limitations, crew members cast for missing players, an actor who quits after one day in make up, and continuity discrepancies. At one point, Gilliam stops and says, "I guess I shouldn't be doing this... [but] this is why I love DVDs." Me too. (Alliance Atlantis)