Jabberwocky Review

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An apprentice (Palin) is mistaken for a dragon slayer and is consequently, despite his protests, sent packing and told not to return till the dragon has been killed. The newly appointed slayer wanders the kingdom, meeting various characters along the way, before coming face to face with the Jabberwock.


The mucky domain of King Bruno The Questionable (Wall) is being ravaged by the Jabberwock and a hero must be found to slay the monster. This adaptation of Lewis Carroll's mock-epic poem was perplexing on its original release as it defied expectations by being more seriously grim than anarchically funny.

Michael Palin's dragon-slayer wanders through a medieval world of filth and degradation and winds up nervously facing a monster who looks like Godziila in fancy dress. Stuffed with British character actors (John Le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Harry H. Corbet!) and python types (Neil Innes, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman), this cuts against the cosy grain of British comedy, developing the gore-and-shit-splattered tone of Monty Python And The Holy Grail into a rough draft for the horrid wonders of subsequent Gilliam epics.

Jabberwocky looks like the Python movie that never was, sharing the same muddy, medieval setting as the Holy Grail, several cast members and even its unique surreal sense of humour. Except here, Gilliam overdoses on violence, gore and mud, and you wonder if the director wanted to make a totally different film but played it safe by keeping a lot of the Python influences.