Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Almost forgot

... how interesting the movie "Brothers Grimm" really was. This Sunday I watched it again, partly because Heath Ledger died, and it all came back to me.

As a German, I've grown up with the fairy tales collected by the real Brothers Grimm. It's what you get read, told or shown on TV a lot during childhood. And, unlike those people who only know today's 'suitable' versions of the fairy tales, I know they once were a lot darker, bordering on - in some cases even crossing into - real horror. They are dark, they are full of blood and death. They tell a lot, as it were, about the people who came up with them. And although the 'good' people always win in the end, the way they treat the 'bad' people isn't necessarily PC. People in a fairy tale aren't just shot or stabbed to death or even beheaded (which is over quite quickly, provided the executioner knows what he's doing). They die slowly, painfully. Today, most of that has been removed from the stories, at least when they're told to kids. Originally, fairy tales weren't for kids, they were meant for adults. (Just a couple of days ago, I actually learned that the basic idea of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" also came from a story the Brothers Grimm found, but did not publish. A story about an evil wizard taking dead people from the cemeteries around the Frankenstein - which is a ruined castle and a mountain close to the Rhine - and building a monster out of them. They wrote about it to Mrs. Shelley's stepmother who translated their stories into English.)

And the movie brings it all out. There's the dark aspects, people dying gruesomely. Children being hunt down, children in danger. There is blood and death and dark magic. There are people who appear to be evil, but are not. There are people who are cowards and grow into heroes. And that's why I like the movie: it's what the fairy tales originally were - a fairy tale for adults (or, at least, older kids).

Within the movie you will find Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and a host of other stories from various fairy tales. You'll find un-dead and werewolves and evil gnarled trees trying to catch the travellers. You'll find man-made evil and the fairy tale variety. The doings of the General Delatombe (which from French would translate into "From the Grave") are man-made evil. The doings of the Queen Mirror (a darker version of Snow White's evil stepmother) are not so much woman-made, but rather made by magic and other fairy tale-ish things, nevertheless they're evil.

The movie didn't fare too well with German critics, who didn't like it much. But I've stopped listening to critics when it comes to movies a long time ago. Usually they like what I don't find interesting and don't like what I prefer to watch. So I went to the movie theatre to see this one. I wasn't disappointed, there were almost two hours of good story in it, good effects (the kind you don't necessarily spot immediately) and good actors.

So now I own the DVD. But I haven't watched the movie for quite a while. How I know? I watch DVDs on my computer mostly (with very, very, very few exemptions) and the "Brothers Grimm" DVD started from the very beginning, instead of the menu with which the movies usually start on my computer. On Sunday I wondered about the reason again.

But then, this weekend I got an overdose of Grim(m) Fairy Tales anyway, also watching the CGI movie "Hoodwinked".

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