2 out of 10
Fairytale Turned Into A Nightmare
Ever had to laugh at the boss' jokes, because no-one has the guts to tell him they've heard them all twenty times before? After Monty Python first hit the TV screens on October 5th 1969, it quickly became a worldwide phenomenon and its team of bright young comedians went onto to many other things, such as making executive training films in John Cleese's case. Sadly, 22 YEARS after their last movie, "The Meaning of Life", one of their number, Terry Gilliam, seems blythely unaware that it was all over long ago. Without the writing skills of the others to back him, most of whom are now either in comfortable retirement or just plain pushing up the daisies, Gilliam endeavours to soldier on alone to produce a tame version of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" with the same sort of style, but none of the jokes.
If you can peer through the dreadful pointless sepia, and the all-purvasive gloom that scream "BORING CRAP" at the audience, you'll find a plot that makes little sense and has even fewer laughs. Two confidence tricksters roam early 19th Century Germany, offering to remove evil enchantments for a price, only to be arrested by the occupying French who want them to trace who is kidnapping the local children and destabilising their grip on the area. Finding an actual real life enchantment, rather than one which is merely a folktale that they have exaggerated to extort money, they instantly find the source of the problem from a a local trapper girl who reels off the legend and knows where to go like a schoolgirl cheat who's sneaked the answer book into the exam room. After this, there is a whole lot of racing around a forest set that is so wobbly, fake and obviously a studio done up with rubber, it looks like a Pythonesque send up of a 1950's B movie. It certainly begs the question, how did Gilliam manage to squander $80million on this and still end up with such amateurish effects?
When people say, "Don't give up your day job", it's usually because they fear for that person's ability to earn a living in his intended career, but in Ehren Kruger's case, we are all the loosers. After quitting being an executive assistant at Fox, this talent-free clown has been responsible for a whole chain of dismal screen rubbish including "Skeleton Key" and "The Ring Two" after winning a dubious award for the trashy "Arlington Road"...and now he's wasting even more time and money of both ours and that of the studio with this utter garbage. Why can't this man get the message...YOU ARE A USELESS WRITER!
With none of the Python team stupid enough.
to pour their careers down this celluloid toilet about the two men whose
sadistic literature was to become a key inspiration for Hitler and the
Nazi Party, Gilliam has had to look elsewhere for potential victims
for his cast list. Instead, in the title roles are Heath Leger, carefully
disguised so he'll still be able to work again and Matt Damon, whose
fixed grin gives the impression that he's been told by his agent, "Don't
worry about the quality, just look cute and collect the fat cheque at
the end." Despite the efforts of Jonathan Pryce and Peter Stormore,
two of the best character actors of our time, they sadly cannot even
scratch the natural gifts of John Cleese, Michael Palin and the others
at genuine silliness. Likewise, again Monica Bellucci, fresh from the
lamentable "Agents Secrets", is beginning to look as if she
is on some some weird alturistic quest to give Oscar worthy performances
in bit parts to lousy movies. Appearing as a Evil Forest Queen, she
has supposedly been living for over 500 years without a bath, yet still
probably doesn't smell as bad as a movie that has quite rightfully been
shunned by the ticket-buying public who just aren't as stupid as the
Ministry of Silly Walks..
Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett
Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett