John Reviews The Brothers Grimm

Warning, hard core Terry Gilliam fans (and I’m a fan of his myself) are NOT going to like what I have to say in this review of The Brothers Grimm. This is a bad film, and I regretfully inform you that it is also badly directed.

The Good:

It’s was really interesting seeing some of the great fairy tales referenced in the film with suggestions of how they found they’re origins. Also, from time to time the chemistry between Matt Damon and Heath Ledger had it’s charm. But honestly folks, I have nothing else positive left to say about The Brothers Grimm.

The Bad:

The film is just stupid. At times it tries to get us to take it seriously as an adventure/fantasy film… and then it has some little mud creature run away on screen singing you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man (Please note… the creature was indeed made of mud). Constantly swinging from fantasy to slapstick to drama… Terry Gilliam clearly had no idea what on earth he was going for with this film. I say he had no idea where he was going… because I’d rather believe that than the alternative that he just plain had no ability to take it there.

The dialog in the film is a joke, the character direction was horrible, the visual effects look like they were done in 2001 and all of the supporting characters were such extreme 1 dimensional goof balls that I kept wishing I had to go to the bathroom to give myself a good excuse for leaving the theater if even for just a moment.


This is a poor film… and yes… a poor directorial outing for Terry Gilliam. Perhaps 7 years away from being behind a camera was just too much. But hey, every director is allowed a bad film or two. Even the mighty Casey struck out once in a while… and even Steven Spielberg had The Terminal. I give The Brothers Grimm a generous 4/10.

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16 thoughts on “John Reviews The Brothers Grimm

  1. i jsut want to interject here, but how can a review really be objective? surely its about if you liked the film, and why? if you take the reviewer’s opinion out of the equation, then every film wouldget 10/10 because someone, somewhere must like the film!

    as for john’s taste in films, i’d have to say he tries to like everything.

  2. Just a quick question for Mark Taylor. What do you mean by “objective”? What does an “objective” review look like… and how does mine not meet that criteria?

    There are 3 million “professional” film critics out there who analyze film and do it well. My reviews on this site are just my short observations about the movies I see… and I intentionally keep it really short… because people don’t want to hear me drone on and on. I just aim to give my quick impressions of a film.

    But once again… I’m curious about your use of the word “objective”. To say my review was not “objective” seems to suggest that you believe I have some sort of personal feelings against Terry Gilliam or this film.

    So, what does an “objective” review look like?

  3. Also John’s reviews hardly strike me as the most insightful in the world. They strike me of a fairly typical Hollywood filmgoer who’s big on explosions and little else. If you’re going to review a film at a personal level do what some other more sensible magazines have done and present a range of views.

  4. Triflic, if I want to read a lot of personal reviews, or critiques at least, I can stroll over to IMDBs user comments. I would rather hear something more objective here.

  5. Brother’s Grimm was more writer Ehren Kruger’s fault than Gilliam’s. The first half of the film was boring as hell and really didn’t set up anything. This is the half that was supposed to have all the humor. The only problem is that Kruger has never written a comedy! He is best known remakes and sequels. It looks like Gilliam did his best with what he had to work with. It had his look and style but the writing was horrible. The dialogue in the first half made no sense whatsoever. once the second half got “serious” and it was all action, Gilliam took over and did what he does best. You could have walked into the film at the midpoint and still enjoyed yourself if someone gave you a 20 second recap of first half.

    Some of the “jokes” in the film were obviously Kruger’s embarrassing attempts to copy old Gilliam/Monty Python style. Some of these one-liners were so bad they stopped the film completely!!!

    It is obvious to anyone that Ehren Kruger is a middle-of-the-road screenwriter. While his movies are not horrible, neither are they great, and his better films are probably good because of the director and not his writing.

  6. Damn, I thought The Terminal was one of the better films Spielberg has done in recent years. I liked the way he didn’t feel the need to tie up all the loose ends before the credits rolled. The hero doesn’t get the girl, the good people who’ve helped our protagonist don’t all live happily ever after…the Hanks character gets his autograph. That’s really the payoff. A decade ago I don’t think Spielberg could have made this movie.

  7. As I already said in a previous topic, this was only partially Gilliam’s movie. He didn’t write the script and he also had to accept some requests made by the Weinsteins.

    In other words: how much do you think is the director’s fault and how much is due to the script? I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the reviews I’ve read are mentioning the poor dialog, 1 dimensional characters, the weak plot… anyway, mainly script issues.

    Also, concerning what John said about Gilliam having “no idea what on earth he was going for with this film” – I remembered reading what Gilliam said in an interview: “The important thing is that they (the Weinsteins) really like the film now. A year ago we reached the point where there was great disagreement about what the film was.” So maybe this confusion is due to different visions about what the movie should have been. Maybe Gilliam had his own vision and the Weinstein had a different one which Gilliam didn’t really understand. At their request he had to give up part of his vision and tried to adjust to what the Weinsteins wanted. Maybe that’s the cause of the movie constantly swinging from something to something else.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward for Tideland. If he screws that one too, then it’s entirely his fault.

  8. hey, John

    Mark says La Mancha shows they did start shooting on Quixote; i’ll trust him on that because i don’t remember the doc too well myself. but the point i wanted to make was that what filmmakers do 24/7 isn’t just what shows up at the local multiplex. it’s not for nothing that a project usually takes a minimum of 2 years to create and finish. a lot of work goes into it; a lot of personal work too–especially for directors of Gilliam’s ilk. so even if his last film was, say, Quixote, the man was still working night and day on stuff. i’m just trying to dispel the myth that he hadn’t directed for 7 years. he was still working. that being said, i haven’t seen the film. maybe Gilliam was really out of it for this one. but i don’t like seeing talented directors dismissed that easily. and i would easily fault the Weinsteins for a bad film. let’s see what Gilliam’s version was before judging it as his work. hopefully that will come out on dvd (i’m not holding my breath, though).

  9. The best film reviews are personal…there is no such thing as objective…we are not deriving mathematical formulae here.

    That being said, I sort of had this feeling from the first trailer for Brothers Grimm…Gilliam brings much of this on himself, he never should have gotten into bed with the Weinsteins in the first place.

    I’ll be checking out his next film in a couple weeks…TIDELAND is screening at this years Toronto Film Festival.

    Also, I thought the Terminal was a good film with a weak ending. If Spielberg struck out it was with either 1941, Always, or A.I. All of them deeply flawed films.

  10. It did start filming. The excellent documentary film “Lost in La Mancha” gives some idea of what Gilliam does and goes through.

    I’ve yet to see The Brothers Grimm (no release date yet for Brazil) so have yet to see whether I agree with the review. Personally I think it would be better for these reviews to be a little more objective and a little less personal.

  11. Hey there Sam,

    Please correct me if I’m wrong here… but to the best of my knowlege (which is limited), I don’t this that film ever even started filming. But like I said… correct me if I’m wrong.


  12. Gilliam directed the feature film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote back in 2000-2001. whether that film panned out or not doesn’t mean he’s been sitting on his ass this whole time.

  13. It certainly was more Tim Burton than Terry Gilliam – and I too found myself wondering where the film was going and what was the point. I showed up a couple minutes late (damn consessions people and their slowness!) and I was hoping that those first 5 minutes was what I was missing from the whole experience… But deep down I know it wasn’t.

    Well, at least he’s back in the saddle again – and since he’s currently my favorite director – I’ll allow a f-up and await the next gem.

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