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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 (71 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

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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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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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Gilliam's best Oct. 18 2003
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. One moment, the heroes are on the Moon. Then they're in a whale. Then they're in an industrial Hell --- and then the Baron dances in the air with Venus. Why is it all happening? I'm not sure.
Gilliam's idea is great. He's made a movie full of tall tales with an old man at the center. The Baron is sincere; he's not a liar. But no one believes him. The trouble is, you spend most of the movie watching the scenery and forgetting the plot. No particular bit of dialogue stands out. None of the characters are memorable (except Robin Williams' King of the Moon). It's a shame this movie is such a disappointment. Gilliam had good ideas, but they were poorly executed. It would have helped if the script put a different spin on the Baron Munchausen idea.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gilliam's Wild Imagination Jan. 12 2002
"The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" begin with the title "The Age of Reason" and it's immediately followed by scenes of war. This dicotomy never works and establishes the mood for what's to come, a narrative that never finds its place among the breathtaking visual effects that populate the entire movie. There are some good segments, though, as when the Baron's sadness touches the viewers when he says that the world has no longer place for men who live their dreams. It seems that Terry Gilliam's unability to restrain himself proves that inventiveness and imagination can't always work when the directors want to go further without any narrative basis. I can only recommend it for its triumph in art direction, make-up, costume design and special effects.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not MY favorite of the trilogy Aug. 10 2000
I seem to be definitely in the minority in these reviews, but I found THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN the worst of Terry Gilliam's trilogy (the other two films being TIME BANDITS and BRAZIL which I love). It wasn't a bad movie; just not a great one. It seemed to drag in parts. The first half hour of the film especially takes far too long to get into the story. Still, even Gilliam at his worst is often a lot more fun than most of the fantasy-based films out there.
The visuals are spectacular and you can definitely see where the money went (I read that this was one of the most expensive films made at that time). Terry Gilliam has an incredible imagination and is able to translate his vision to the screen. I was convinced the Baron could fly holding a cannonball!
The actors seemed to have a good time making it. John Neville uses the proper restraint in his roll to make his character believable while in unbelievable situations. Uma Thurman is incredibly beautiful as Venus. Robin Williams and Eric Idle have a lot of fun in their roles.
Aside from the slow pace in parts, I also am disappointed in the lack of features on this DVD. Where's the onscreen commentary or the behind-the-scenes features? Terry Gilliam did such a great job on the TIME BANDITS and especially the Criterion Collection BRAZIL, I'm surprised that a film that he spent so much time and money into lacks these extras. Perhaps even Terry Gilliam doesn't like this film as much as his others?
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Most recent customer reviews
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. 12 2004 by M. Garland
5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Watch
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... Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2004 by Rocco Dormarunno
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 10 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. 31 2003
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
5.0 out of 5 stars The fantasy not to end all, but to resurrect the genre!!
I've seen this movie so many times it's hard to fathom it whenever I meet somebody who's never even heard of it. Read more
Published on June 16 2003 by Jon B.
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