film 6 of 8

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Draft Review by Dean Duncan Jul 16, 2015

I want to like it more than I do, as the theme is important–something dies when we haven’t time for visionaries, however inconvenient–and the sensibility, not to mention the circumstances, in other words, Gilliam, are all completely appropriate for the theme, unfortunately, despite all this, much of what lingers is a sensation of stridency and awkwardness (too noisy battles, directorial work with the little girl, Thurman’s “hello”, the whole execution of the Price character, even if he is supposed to be a film executive), semi-incoherence, and a smile dried onto your face, withered through insufficient nourishment; that said, it’s one’s duty to defend and even violently–a hundred times better a flawed Gilliam than any bunch from Johns Hughes or Landis–and there are a ton of wonderful things: the 18th century stage effects, the sultan’s opera, Idle’s legs and both the special effects and the wit that support them, a whole series of lovely fanciful/fantastical design environments, the angel of death (which scared Caitlin for several days), the cannonballs, the whole moon sequence (nearly), Oliver Reed, the exquisite Birth of Venus, costumes, sets, especially John Neville, who’s movie career seems sadly to have ended as a result