Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

In which Baron Munchausen (and Terry Gilliam, once again) demonstrates the transcendent power of the imagination.

This film strikes me as a children's fantasy for adults. Or maybe it is more for children than for adults. Arguments could be made either way, I think. It is a fantastical tale of adventure, but has some dark imagery, as well. The film weaves in and out of reality, thereby creating sort of a metaphor for the film-viewing experience, as well as the consuming experience of any type of narrative art. In one frame, the action is taking place on a stage, in the next, it has become reality. From then on, Gilliam weaves an elaborate story, which depicts the Baron (John Neville) and Sally (a very young Sarah Polley) and their journey to bring help to their town, which is under siege.

And it wouldn't be a Gilliam film without portentous demon-puppetry.

In my favorite scene, the travelers fly to the moon, and encounter Robin Williams in an uncredited cameo. His spiritual mind is constantly warring with his body, and its more base needs. He literally separates his head from his body, leaving the body stumbling around on the ground below while he soars above.

And yes, Uma Thurman plays the Goddess, Venus.

When the Munchausen has finished his tale, the siege has magically ceased. Was it just a story, after all?

1 comment: