1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Fantasy par excellence!, Oct. 4 2002
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. There are enough layers to keep the viewer from being lazy, and yet, one doesn't have to stare at the screen and lay heavy on the rewind to understand the film. Just watch it.
The Baron, on one of his many death beds, laments that the world has gone to Reason and science, and has no room for "cucumber trees", and indeed, there are too few yarns so imaginatively told on film these days. This is one of them. A great afternoon flick, or something for after the bars,when it's still too early to go to bed.