Directed by Terry Gilliam, starring Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Jonathan Pryce, Lena Headey, Peter Stormare and Monica Bellucci.
Terry Gilliam, whose career includes 'Twelve Monkeys', 'The Fisher King' and 'Brazil', was inspired to make this film by the story of the real Grimm brothers. He has created a fairytale around their lives and so, in effect, this is the ultimate fairytale about two brothers who created over 700 fairytales in their time.
A long, long time ago (during the Napoleonic invasion of Germany), lived two brothers, Wilhelm (Damon) and Jacob (Ledger). Will was the serious sibling who feigned his belief in spiritual beings only for the sake of earning money, while Jacob was a big-time dreamer and believer. Their only common ground was their job, travelling around the countryside collecting and spreading fairytales and vanquishing any monsters in their wake, for a worthwhile fee.
But French authorities foiled their scheme and threw the brothers into the cursed village of Marbaden and its enchanted forest, where young children disappear. Reality soon becomes a mystery for the two con artists.
Out of their depth, Wilhelm and Jacob require direction from savvy local girl Angelika (Headey) to navigate the forest and to gain some insight into its history. Angelika sees little ability in their methods, but curiosity sees a wedge form between the two brothers as they fall for the same girl.
But Angelika isn't the only beauty in Marbaden, the once-beautiful, wicked witch (Bellucci) is a 500-year-old ruling queen trying to recapture her youth and could hold the key to the secret behind the disappearing children.
In their series of adventures, Gilliam cleverly incorporates some of the real brothers' creations: Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, the Wicked Witch, Sleeping Beauty and an obligatory fairytale wolf in the ultimate fairytale setting of an enchanted forest.
The whole feel of the film has a Monty Pythonesque humour about it, a knowing ridiculousness is evident from the outset and Matt Damon himself admitted that he didn't quite master the accent. And yes, there are flaws, forgivable flaws, as the accents bounce around from shire to shire but credibility and fairytales aren't by right associated. While this sometimes jovial tone makes the film loveable, it's no match for Monty Python, but a good place to start nonetheless. Ledger, playing the goofy brother, is by far the more believable of the two, if that can even be a factor in a fairytale.
The once upon a time and happy ever after elements are what makes a fairytale, and the middle chapters here are also witty, humorous, busy and captivating - but maybe too dark for younger children. 'The Brothers Grimm' is great entertainment and with over 740 special effects shots – including walking trees and a horse swallowing a child - is also great cinema.
A film that will leave many people feeling very happy (ever after).