I’m getting into movie mode. For the 200 year anniversary of the publication of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales it was only fitting to watch “The Brothers Grimm” with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. The description on the cover sounded very nice so I gave it a go. I shouldn’t have. To me this movie must be the disappointment of the century. What utter crap! Its only saving grace are the pictures that, I have to admit, are rather magnificent.
Other than that the Grimm brothers and the whole topic of German fairytales were slaughtered until you didn’t recognize them anymore. I wasn’t aware that the Grimms (often referred to as the “Grimmy” by a sidekick in the person of an Italian torture master – typical Italian accent included) were con-artists who travelled far and wide to “free” the country from enchantments that they had previously created themselves. Obviously the real Grimm characters were too boring and needed some embellishing. In fact, to me the film was a mixture of “Dirty, rotten scoundrels”, “Ghostbusters” and “Sleepy Hollow” that went awfully wrong.
The fairytale allusions all started kind of ok and then disappeared into nothing. Hans and Greta (totally rubbed me the wrong way, they are Hänsel and Gretel!) go into the forest and she gets lured away by a piece of cloth. Wow! Where is the witch, where the gingerbread house? And it went on and on like that. What on Earth does a gingerbread man have to do with German fairytales? Why is Hesse called Westphalia and what is the Thuringian queen doing there? And why has she been living in Rapunzel’s tower? The whole story is a very odd hodgepodge of half baked but never finished ideas about which horrific tales might appeal to an audience who has never read a Grimm fairytale before.
There was one sentence that I found quite amusing (and symptomatic for the movie). The Grimm brothers come to Marbaden where they have never been heard of and introduce themselves as the guys who have fought off “the cannibal chef of the Schwarzwald in the gingerbread house of terror”. There you have it. If you like murderous chefs in gingerbread houses and a bit of comic relief then the movie might be for you. If you like fairytales in their original form and a less horror-like approach, then stay away from it.
What to watch instead? My suggestion is “The company of wolves” by Neil Jordan, which I am going to re-watch tonight to get yesterday’s taste out of my mouth.