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Adventures of Baron Munchausen

John Neville , Eric Idle , Terry Gilliam    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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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

Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Baron Lives on May 16 2004
Anyone who can sit there and say thay never spun a tale or two in their lives has no imagination. The Baron is a man who has cheated life and death by being both hero and con man but still retaining a sense of "je ne sais quois" Robin Williams steals his cameo and plays it in his usual frantic way. Sarah Polly is wonderful as the child of innocence who looks up to the Baron and the rest of the cast is wonderful as well. Not a movie that should be missed especially by those who enjoy the mania that is Monty Python
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imagination over Reason: The Quintessential Gilliam Sept. 21 2009
By Richard S. Warner TOP 50 REVIEWER
"The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" is the quintessential Terry Gilliam film and this release of it ( 20th anniversary edition ) exemplifies that perfectly. The first DVD is the film itself, digitally remastered to crisp, colour-saturated, audio-clear perfection. The second chronicles the entire production from initial ideas to release, with all of the sordid and wonderous details usually associated with the filming and production of one of Gilliam's films.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy par excellence! Oct. 4 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Fantasy (in film) is apparently a dirty word. I do not understand why. Of all the people to whom I showed or recommended this film, only 3 enjoyed it. Normally, we (those with whom I would discuss films) like the same stuff.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lots of fun May 26 2001
i've been a terry gilliam fan since i saw 'brazil' and have rarely been disappointed. this lives up to his usual work in many ways, although it lacks the certain darkness that is present in much of his stuff. a fairy tale for adults is how i usually describe this movie to anyone who asks...unlike 'time bandits' and 'brazil' (the first two movies in the unofficial trilogy) which both show society and rationalism defeating man, the baron deals with the final victory of fantasy and belief over rationalism and science. this is just a fun movie to watch and to dream about. trying to think through it doesn't really work, you simply have to let your imagination go and accept it. not many movies challenge adults to do that anymore, and it is cool to have one that does.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Watch Jan. 8 2004
Format:VHS Tape
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen was nothing less than a sheer joy to watch. When I was young, my father would always say, in reference to a movie made in the 30s or 40s, "They don't make movies like that anymore!" I guess I'm getting old because I've just purchased my copy of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (which I hadn't seen since its debut in 1989), and I found myself muttering, "They don't make films like this anymore", too.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
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 more
Published 1 month ago by Eddy B
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terry Gilliam Masterpiece
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 more
Published on June 9 2010 by Hale & Hardy
4.0 out of 5 stars Baron Munchausen
See the lovely Uma Thurman years before this "kill bill" nonsense!
Published on May 5 2004 by Ben W.
4.0 out of 5 stars Darn Good Movie
check it out. a great fantasy tale.
Published on March 26 2004 by Jeremy Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful comedy-fantasy masterpiece!!
This is a gorgeous fantasy epic with a hefty dose of Monty Python-esque comedy thrown in for good measure. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2004 by M. Garland
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Overlooked
this was one of the best movies of the decade, and certainly Gilliam's greatest movie triumph -- a film that he struggled with the studio over. Not suprising, actually. Read more
Published on Dec 9 2003 by JMM
5.0 out of 5 stars Viewed in the spirit of the TALL TALE.....
For those who can watch the film in the spirit in which it was
made, the experience is WONDERFUL. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Gilliam's best
Gilliam's follow-up to Brazil is a mess. It takes a long time for anything really interesting to happen. Once things get moving, they never really come together. Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2003 by SPM
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful fantasy movie!
This movie is absolutely a wonderful movie. I loved this movie very much. I haven't seen a fantasy movie like this. If you love fantasy movies, I sure you will love this movie,too. Read more
Published on Oct. 7 2003 by Omer ERLAT
5.0 out of 5 stars Yay for X-Python Directors!
The first time I watched this I wasn't too impressed. But it grew on me. It is not a serious movie, so if you are buying it because you liked 12 Monkeys, you are in for a... Read more
Published on June 27 2003 by William D. Colburn
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