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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
John Neville
Eric Idle
Sarah Polley
Oliver Reed
Jonathan Pryce.
Directors
Terry Gilliam.
Screenwriters
Charles McKeown
Terry Gilliam
Rudolph Erich Raspe.
Running Time
126 minutes

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The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Python behind the killer cars, the ravenous pram and the descending foot gives us another history lesson.


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Plot
The vastly improbably tale of the 17th century baron and his attempts to rescue a town from being overrun by Turks. A task that will take him to the depths of the ocean, to the moon, all the way to a confrontation with the Grim Reaper. To be taken with a sizable pinch of salt.


Review

For a film that is a tribute to the telling of tall tales, there are more than a few gigantic myths that surround the making of this, Terry Gilliam’s grand folly. Arguments with the studio, budget overruns, and tempestuous edits have all contributed to the notoriety that has stalked the movie like a shadow. It is typically ironic then that those exaggerations confined to the story itself make for a vivid and extraordinary, if not wholly satisfying, epic.
 
As scientists could tell you “Munchausen Syndrome” relates to the telling of outrageous lies and the real Baron was an aristocrat drenched in myth, a reputed fantasist of the highest order. He and Gilliam would have appreciated one others’ similar talents, the director decorates this trippy picaresque with startling far-fetched set-pieces ranging from Robin Williams warbling King of the Moon removing his own head to Uma Thurman’s Venus dancing in the air. Gilliam is in his element, building set upon astonishing (and bankrupting) set this size of cathedrals across his plump Rome soundstages, trying to outdo no one but himself.
 
Characterisation is hardly a great concern (Neville is a blank in the lead role) although there are some splendidly hammy cameos from Williams, Idle and a fulminating Reed as Vulcan, God of Fire. And so too, the burdens of story fall secondary to the director’s incessant visual verve; the film is best read as a greatest hits package loosely rooted in a battle between the forces of imagination and magic and the looming age of reason. The unmistakable strains of Pythonesque satire are hard to ignore, a delight to fans but they only contribute to the nagging sense of the unbelievable. 

 


Verdict
Weird to the Gilliamth degree, Munchausen just might making being an 'uneven' movie a compliment.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Empire Star Rating

RE: The Adventure of Baron Munchausen

Love this film. Utterly Wacky and good fun fantasy. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shool at 14:50, 03 September 2007 | Report This Post


RE: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

L: Indio This is a marvellous film, unfairly slated just because it went severely over budget and didn't get the pre-release publicity it deserved, but I don't think its the kind of film that would ever have made a fortune at the box office because like all of Terry Gilliams films it isn't aimed at a mainstream audience (although he may beg to differ). I don't think its quite as good as Time Bandits or Brazil but I still think this is one of Gilliams better films, which makes the dis... More

Posted by bozo at 22:42, 17 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

This is a marvellous film, unfairly slated just because it went severely over budget and didn't get the pre-release publicity it deserved, but I don't think its the kind of film that would ever have made a fortune at the box office because like all of Terry Gilliams films it isn't aimed at a mainstream audience (although he may beg to differ).    I don't think its quite as good as Time Bandits or Brazil but I still think this is one of Gilliams better films, which makes the disap... More

Posted by Indio at 22:04, 17 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The Adventure of Baron Munchausen

This film is fantastic! It's one of those childhood films that it's doubtful you ever forget. There are gods, smoke coming out of ears, floating heads, shrill voices, romance, an annoying child (ok, perhaps she was necessary after all) guns and swordfights... The list is endless.   John Neville was absolutely brilliant as the Baron himself, but I have to admit Oliver Reed as Vulcan always comes to the forefront in my mind, with a very youthful-looking Uma Thurman as his promiscuo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jessica_ca_ca_ca at 09:07, 13 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The Adventure of Baron Munchausen

L: doctorolorinbats1975 What the hell was Robin Williams credited as? sp; ]"Miscellaneous". ] ... More

Posted by Shaunette_ofthe_Dead at 16:00, 12 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The Adventure of Baron Munchausen

This was my introduction to Terry Gilliam and I adore it. Very funny and imaginative even if the effects are a little ropey. The cast is spot on and many scenes full of perfect comic timing.   What the hell was Robin Williams credited as? ... More

Posted by doctorolorinbats1975 at 15:48, 12 June 2006 | Report This Post


This film has become the albatross around Gilliam's neck, but lord knows why because everyone I know that's seen it adores it. Surreal and superbly allegorical, this film is fantastic in all senses of the word, depicting the power of fantasy and imagination, the need for escapism (mentally and literally) and the 18th-century clash between rationalism and mythology. A beautiful film, with some lovely acting and a set of heart-warming characters. It's like revisiting a childhood fairytale, with so... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Shaunette_ofthe_Dead at 15:26, 12 June 2006 | Report This Post


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