Monday, September 26, 2005
You talking to me?
I didn't think much of anything prior to watching The Brothers Grimm. Blame it on the one trailer they've been showing over and over in cinemas around these parts. Anyway, I didn't read much reviews or any critique prior to watching it too so I came in to the cinema expecting to be entertained. Thankfully I got all that and more.
Being a big fan of the Grimm Brothers' works ever since I was a kid (they had a way of creating stories that are a lot more gripping than Mr. Andersen's) I wanted to see how everything fell into place as a friend explained how every fairy tale they've written had its roots in their adventures. Simply put the story revolves around the two brothers who make their far-from-decent living by fooling innocent townspeople of the late 18th Century Germany into thinking they're sort of "Ghostbusters" (of course it's all set up in advance). But the occupying French army wound up of their scam and threatened them with death unless they successfully investigate the case of the missing children in a small hamlet whose daughters where disappearing in the nearby enchanted forest. They reluctantly agreed with Wilhelm Grimm (Matt Damon) leading the way. Loud and full of braggadocio he assures the townspeople that they will save their land from evil enchantments. Backing him is the quiet and timid Jacob Grimm (Heath Ledger) who diligently records everything in his notebook, while the townspeople nominate Angelika (Lena Headey) to go with them to take a look. Things aren't what it appears to be and an old tale involving a beautiful but vain queen* (Monica Bellucci) turns out to be real and she's ready to wreak havoc once again. Will is blown out of his mind by all the supernatural things they've witnessed and being the left-brained one he nearly collapsed from the weight of his world pressing hard down on him. Jacob, who grew up studying these things soared like never before, he stepped up to the plate and showed that like his brother he's very much capable of saving the day.
Not everyone agrees with me that this is a good film. A lot of people think they've wasted a huge chunk of their money and time over this movie. I beg to differ. Just like a lot of people didn't like the movie, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow while me and a lot of my friends had a blast watching it, I think not everyone appreciated the subtleties of this movie. Although the movie had to have a requisite villain in the person of an evil queen/witch (never mind the French guys which, I agree, were really irritating) I saw the focus on the relationship between Will and Jacob as the highlight of the whole movie.
Will obviously took it upon himself to look after his brother after they were orphaned. This was later implied as both a blessing and a curse. Will loves his younger brother and would do anything to protect him from any harm. But Jacob wants to follow what he wants and would try to rebel from his brother's hold. To prevent this from ever happening Will reminds him time and again about the "magic beans" that contributed their sister's untimely death. He would shame Jacob till he turns into a cowering guilt-ridden mess. Will prides himself to be the strong one but when they were faced with an unusual case in a small village it was Jacob who figured what was really going on. He knows the stories, he keeps a record of everything, he observes and listens to everyone and everything around them, and most of all he's a really compassionate fellow. The way I see it, Will represents the man who relies a lot on his own strength and his knowledge of the material world. He's rigid and content with who he is and thinks he doesn't need anything else to succeed in this world. Jacob represents the man who humbly walks in awe and fear of the invisible world. He's flexible and always on the lookout for things he needs to learn to make it in life and what he has cannot always not be measured according to the standards of this world. Both actors Matt Damon and Heath Ledger did a very great job with the characters they played (although they were originally assigned the opposite roles before they petitioned to be switched). I for one am glad they did this bringing the brothers to the fore not just writers of great stories but unforgettable heroes of a story all their own.
* The character of the Mirror Queen was obviously based on Countess Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1640) who needed the blood of young (peasant) women to make her stay young.
** Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to what I personally think is a great movie.