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The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
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Director Terry Gilliam (Brazil) and an all-star cast including John Neville, Eric Idle, Oliver Reed and Uma Thurman deliver this tale of the enchanting adventures of Baron von Munchausen on his journey to save a town from defeat. Being swallowed by a giant sea-monster, a trip to the moon, a dance with Venus and an escape from the Grim Reaper are only some of the improbable adventures.
Monty Python's Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) directs this wild, wild version of the stories of Baron Munchausen, pushing the limits of 1989 special effects technology to bring us such sights as a horse divided in half and running around in two parts, and a giant Robin Williams with his head flying off his shoulders. Basically, this is a treat for Gilliam fans, as the sustaining idea of the film runs out of steam, and manic energy alone keeps the momentum going. Casual viewers might find it tedious after awhile. There are nice parts for fellow Python Eric Idle, as well as Sting, Alison Steadman, and Uma Thurman as a dazzlingly beautiful Venus on a half-shell. Gilliam had greater artistic and commercial success with Brazil, The Fisher King, and 12 Monkeys. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The story itself, adapted from the original book, is a fantasy but one that poses the question as to what is truly more valuable in life; imagination or reason. Nothing could be more appropos for, or truly representative of, Terry Gilliam than this very question. And of course, in the end, it is the imagination and it's far reacing synchronicties and limitlessness that wins the day.
A coherent story that soon opens itself up to work on many many layers develops and for a while seems like a series of shorter ones segue-ing into each other, blurs the boundaries between fantasy and "so called reality". The most moving aspect of which is the Baron's faith that all will be well in the end, despite the constant presence of Death itself, Armies of The Turk, hateful and blinkered magistrates and the dark side of reason ... DOUBT.
There are truly magical appearances throughout. Robin Williams puts in one of my favourite performances of all his work as Ray D. Tutto, a play on Rei de Tutto, or "The King of Everything". He is actually The King of the Moon but his head keeps spinning off in an attempt to split itself away from the body, which disgusts him with all it's physcial crudity and base desires.Read more ›
Ah well. This is one fantastic film. Baron Von Munchausen, historically real and mythologised, was/is the world's greatest liar. So, the story opens with a theatrical cast in a dilapidated theater, in the midst of war and shelling, putting on a play about the life of the baron. The real Baron walks into the theater, and tries to set the story straight. Then he, in his explanation of the reality as he sees it, illustrates for us, in real life, what was portrayed on stage, but on a much grander scale, to most magnificent effect; not to mention the added adventures that are woven-in.
I first saw this piece on video in the mid nineties. Now, post September 11th horrors and excess, the story has added resonance. The antagonists of the story are bureaucrats who believe they represent the fullest expression of Reason in life and government. They have everything compartmentalized practically and rationally, including the days on which they can shoot at the enemy, and the enemy at them. And they can't accept that the war eventually has been won. "Don't open the gates!"
And then there is the fantasy: A balloon made of ladie's silken underwear, a flight to the moon. The king and queen of the moon (the king is Robin Williams) with their detachable heads to pursue intellectual pursuits while their bodies... A sea monster... the spectre of death...
The story is well told, the cinematography beautiful, the dialogue witty and compelling.Read more ›
As you've no doubt read in other reviews, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is pure fantasy, and like all good fantasy, it pits reason against imagination, truth versus story-telling, and resignation against hope. After all, Dorothy didn't really go to Oz: it was a dream. And yet, it would have an effect on her view of the world and reality that would probably last her entire life. She won't ever be bored with Kansas again, and would never seek the greener grass on the other side of the fence. On a darker side, Kaiser Soze of The Usual Suspects, can spin a yarn that convinces a seasoned Customs agent and anybody watching the film.
Baron Munchausen, as wonderfully portrayed by John Neville, is the ultimate story teller. Not only does he draw in the attention and hopes of his beleaguered city, but every story he tells actually makes HIM younger. The underlying message of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is that fantasy, adventure, romance, and a world where cucumber trees still thrive will save us, children and adults alike, from a world determined to destroy us. This is a common theme among Terry Gilliam's films. In Time Bandits, Brazil, even The Fisher King, characters escape the horrors of their lives in fantasy worlds.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
it's a great film, very entertaining , good story,you'll want to watch over again many times...highly recommended...Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
I don't feel like I have to go into the story of this movie as it is in many other reviews. I will say that it is one of my favourite films. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Eddy B
More than just another effort from former "Python" member Terry Gilliam, this film is a masterpiece of set design, costuming, practical effects (as opposed to "special" or CGI... Read morePublished on June 9 2010 by Hale & Hardy
See the lovely Uma Thurman years before this "kill bill" nonsense!Published on May 5 2004 by Ben W.
This is a gorgeous fantasy epic with a hefty dose of Monty Python-esque comedy thrown in for good measure. Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2004 by M. Garland
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