- Actors: John Neville, Eric Idle, Sarah Polley, Oliver Reed, Charles McKeown
- Directors: Terry Gilliam
- Producers: Thomas Schühly
- Format: Subtitled, NTSC
- Language: English
- Subtitles: French, Portuguese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Spanish, English
- Dubbed: French
- Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
- Region: Region A/1
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- Release Date: April 8 2008
- Run Time: 126 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 81 customer reviews
- ASIN: B0012YYZDQ
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,461 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (30th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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. When Ray's head is attached he is a madly, wildly passionate whirlwind of lust and gluttony, when free of the body he is a quasi-pseudo mystic nutbar who believes the universe runs completely on his own thoughts. The truth and profundity behind William's insanely funny turn here is pure genius and contains much to think about and seriously consider. It's a tribute to both Williams and Gilliam in that this theme represents the best that both these mavericks embody.
Oliver Reed as the powerful and titanically crude Vulcan, married to the ethereal and refined Uma Thurman as Venus once more relays the dialectic of opposites. Vulcan creates Weapons of Mass Destruction for his human patrons and Venus rises out of a giant seashell, a la Botticelli, attended by flying putti, carrying the necessary classical ribbon with which to cover and adorn her. All is well between them until the Baron arrives. With his whimsy, imagination and charm he sweeps Venus, literally off her feet and up into the sky. While Vulcan tries to impress her with his enormous physical strength by crushing lumps of coal into diamonds, the Baron totally wins her with a release into a much more spacious and wonderous consciousness facilitated by an overriding joy of the miracle of being. Vulcan does NOT like this. Again, reason, a very jealous faculty, steps in and threatens destruction when it's limits are painfully revealed.
The stories go on and each of them are metaphors for the inner struggle of the imagination vs. reason. The Baron outwits the King of the Turks, who seeks to bind and destroy him with an impossible "contract", again a metaphor for reason. The entire scenario of the war that generates the whole narrative is the result of reason's ( The Turk ) outrage at being outwitted. Nothing as a theme could be more fitting to the mind and creativity of Terry Gilliam, himself an "incarnation" of Baron Munchausen in SO many ways.
A friend once said of Gilliam's films, "They're the best of what you go to the movies for - wonder, imagination, romance, humour and they take you somewhere OUT of your everyday world and show you something marvellous". I don't think it's ever been said better.
If you've never seen a Gilliam film, THIS is the one to go for. If you know his work, this release is a MUST. Indeed, it's "what you go to the movies for".
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.