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United Kingdom 1989
Directed by
Terry Gilliam
126 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen

The real Baron Munchausen lived from 1720 to 1797 and in European society of the time earned quite a reputation for his fanciful stories about his adventures. In 1785 a jewel thief from Hanover named Rudolf Erich Raspe published a book in England which claimed to be based on the Baron's life and times and eventually it fell into the hands of Terry Gilliam.

Gilliam’s love of the fantastic is given free reign here in an entertaining, if lightweight piece of fluff which typically of the former Monty Python director revels in all manner of visual gimcrackery (the film allegedly cost $46m to make, a huge amount at the time). As is so often the case with Gilliam's flights of fancy, however, a good deal more effort has gone into the special effects than into producing a substantial story and if his inventiveness does not hold you little else will.

The cast is a mixture of relative unknowns, Gilliam regulars like Jonathon Pryce and Eric Idle, and cameo appearances by famous faces such as Robin Williams and Oliver Reed (and bodies in Uma Thurman’s case) and includes a major role for a nine-year old Sarah Polley, who has since gone on to be an actress and director of note.

FYI: The film is, according to Gilliam, the third part of a trilogy which included Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985), which dealt with the three stages of man.

 

 

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