Brothers Grimm: The Fairytale Workprint, The
Still what remains is by most other Director's standards, a great film. A decade later it's stood the test of time and it reflects well on Gilliam that he cast actors like Matt Damon and the late Heath Ledger against-type in the lead roles, at a time when they perhaps weren't taken as seriously as today. Plus giving future 'Game Of Thrones' star Lena Headey the female lead, seems like genius in retrospect. I felt it was time to take another look at this wonderfully loopy and fanciful film through the prism of fanediting...
Using all the available 'Deleted Material' and hints provided in Terry's Director's Commentary, I've tried to bring this film a little closer to the longer and
crazier cut that Terry originally might have wished to have seen the light of day. Hopefully this cut is also better, less mainstream and more like Terry's other work.
The available 'Deleted Material' was excellent but only available in a very poor and largely unfinished state. So as much as was possible, I've tried to finish VisFX, complete the Soundmix and Colour-Grade the footage to match the body of the movie. However, the scenes are still in a less than perfect state, which is why I call this...
"The Fairytale Workprint"
The Brothers Grimm Soundtrack
Hundreds of freesound.org public-domain sound elements
- NTSC DVD-5
- Made small trims and rearrangements needed to reincorporate deleted scenes as needed
- Colour graded scenes to match the rest of the movie and sharpened the image
- Finished the incomplete soundmix on all scenes
- Made a few changes to better reflect Gilliam's original intent
- Added light film-grain throughout to both unify the look of the original and deleted footage and to counteract the overuse of DNR present in the Blu-Ray transfer
- Desaturated all 3 flashback sequences. I felt this helped story wise, as it makes them less easy to mistake fro dreams or fairytales
00.00.12 - Added TM2YC title
00.00.24 - Removed 'Dimension Films' title
00.00.34 - Remixed score
00.00.36 - Removed "Magic Beans" prologue and moved it to later as Gilliam originally intended
00.00.38 - Added "Once Upon A Time..." onscreen text
00.00.40 - Added "Red Riding Hood" sequence from later in the film as Gilliam originally intended
00.00.43 - Added "1811" onscreen text
00.02.30 - Rebuilt soundmix and remixed score
00.02.35 - Added fade into title sequence and regraded colour of the sequence to be a lot warmer
00.02.41 - Added further soundFX to title sequence
00.02.52 - Regraded 1st establishing shot to better match the colours of the 2nd shot
00.12.24 - Added slow fade into "Magic Beans" prologue in the place Gilliam originally intended as the first flashback. Colours also desaturated and regraded to be warmer shot-by-shot
00.19.49 - Removed two truncated shots of Cavaldi and the Grimms and replaced with full "Escargot" deleted scene. Scene regraded shot-by-shot and an additional 22 new sound layers added
00.24.03 - Added "Brothers In Cage" deleted scene. Scene regraded and an additional 8 new sound layers added
00.24.18 - Finished bluescreen shot of Cavaldi whipping horses
00.29.27 - Added "Cavaldi Warns Will" deleted scene. Scene regraded shot-by-shot, all dialogue remixed, an additional 17 new sound layers added and Score remixed
00.30.20 - Regraded first 6 shots outside Angelika's house to better match deleted footage and to better match other similar sequences in the film
00.33.59 - Added "In The Forest" deleted scene. Scene regraded shot-by-shot, dialogue remixed, an additional 15 new sound layers added and Score remixed
00.34.15 - Brought forward Will's "9 times out of 10 there's a human perpetrator" line to where it would have been in the deleted conversation
00.37.56 - Desaturated Angelika's flashback to her father
00.46.18 - Added "Cinderella Story" deleted scene. Scene regraded shot-by-shot, an additional 35 new sound layers added and Score remixed
00.54.28 - Added "Will To The Rescue" deleted scene. Scene regraded, an additional 86 new sound layers added and Score remixed
00.56.22 - Regraded scene of Cavaldi and the Wolf to better match the deleted footage
01.03.46 - Added "The Chef Gets The Chop" deleted scene. Scene regraded shot-by-shot, an additional 22 new sound layers added and Score remixed
01.06.14 - Rescored the Grimms entrance into the village
01.07.53 - Added "No Hidey Hidey Secrets" deleted scene. Scene regraded shot-by-shot, dialogue remixed, an additional 5 new sound layers added
01.34.10 - Added "The Fat Soldier" deleted scene. Scene regraded shot-by-shot, dialogue remixed, an additional 41 new sound layers added and Score remixed
01.34.13 - Fixed flash-frame error in original source footage
01.35.11 - Pushed back shot of Angelika coming to rescue the Grimms to give her time to escape the Fat Soldier
01.37.09 - Desaturated Angelika's father's flashback about the Queen
01.39.37 - Added "Where Is This Tower" deleted scene. Scene regraded shot-by-shot, dialogue remixed, an additional 26 new sound layers added and Score remixed. Plus removed original truncated 20-second version of the scene
01.59.13 - Added "Sasha's Funeral Procession" deleted scene. Scene regraded shot-by-shot, dialogue remixed, an additional 29 new sound layers added and Score remixed.
02.01.08 - Added "Ready For Life On The Road" deleted scene. Scene regraded shot-by-shot, dialogue remixed, an additional 14 new sound layers added. Plus removed original truncated 36-second version of the scene
02.02.58 - Regraded credits to give them a "warmer" look
02.10.44 - Added fanedit credits title card including thanks
I was 15-years-old when "The Brothers Grimm" was originally released, and a hardcore Gilliam fan. At the time, I wasn't disappointed. While the plot was a bit of mess and the central characters mostly cliches, Gilliam's dark imagery and visual comedy were what really made it pop. Remember that this movie preceded Pan's Labyrinth and other, emotionally stronger entries in the fantasy renaissance that didn't really kick off until the late '00s.
When I had some friends over and popped in my DVD again to watch this for the first time in years, it sadly did not hold up as well as I had hoped. With so many more fairytale-inspired films on my shelf today, the general confusion and bad characterizations felt a bit less forgivable. I still throughly enjoyed much of the visual style and comedy — particularly in the many wonderful scenes in which children are captured by dark, magical creatures. My read was that this was a case of a great director stymied by an overbearing studio and a weak script.
So last night I stumbled upon TM2YC's edit, and was intrigued by an effort to create a cut of this film more faithful to Gilliam's original vision. Not only are the deleted scenes that TM2YC has reincorporated expertly polished, but many of them actually strengthen the narrative and characterizations to the point where I would be happy to recommend this movie to Gilliam fans without a tremendous amount of equivocation. Some specific thoughts on the additions and changes:
1. Yes, the Red Riding Hood scene belongs at the beginning. it's just a much more powerful opener. Without the introduction of the Grimm brothers as adults, the audience has no reason to care about the "fake magic bean" story. It just feels like a magic-less bummer, which is just exactly the wrong way to start a movie the promises to be a fairytale. With Red Riding Hood, we get a visually interesting take on an old standard — no justification needed, and from that point on the audience knows exactly what sort of movie they are watching.
By putting the "magic beans" sequence later as a flashback, it does a much better job of characterizing the differences between Will and Jacob. We know from the scene in the barn that Jacob is not entirely happy with the trickery he and his brother just executed on the townsfolk, and the beans flashback explains why. This establishes a dramatic conflict between the two leads that we can then follow until it reaches a climax by movie's end.
2. The additional moments with Cavaldi are nearly all essential. In the original cut, Cavaldi was perhaps the most baffling character. The entire film built him up to be a sinister torturer with no regard for human life, only for him to turn and choose not to shoot the Grimm brothers during the climax. Why would someone who had no problem torturing innocents suddenly becomes squeamish when asked to shoot enemies of the state? From that point on, the audience was simply asked to regard this scoundrel as one of the film's gang of protagonists. What? While Peter Stormare's performance was wonderfully hammy, the character just didn't make any sense.
Now, it's much more clear — in "The Chef Gets Chopped" scene, we discover that Captain Delatombe suspects Cavaldi of being a con artist (just like the Grimm's!) who is in fact, too squeamish to maim and murder. His elaborate machines are meant to be over the top — they're just bits of theatrics! Just this short scene makes Cavaldi's turn after Delatombe's death much more sensible. With Delatombe alive, he had to appear to be the Grimm's enemy in order to prevent his own execution. Once Delatombe is gone, Cavaldi no longer needs to maintain the ruse.
3. In the original cut, the audience is given virtually no reason to root for Will until the very end, at which point his affection for Jacob and Angelica seems to come from nowhere. This is why the "Will to the Rescue" is also essential. This ends the second act, and it is the first time we see Will risking his own safety in order to save another's life. From then on, despite his gruffness, we know he really is a man with a good heart.
4. The original cut sorely misses the moment when Angelica thanks Jacob for aiding their escape from Delatombe. Without it, the audience has no evidence that she has any affection for the brothers, or Jacob in particular. Will's rescue attempt and her acknowledgement of Jacob's aid means that the following scene of romance and jealousy in Angelica's house feels much more grounded.
5. The establishment of Delatombe's distrust of Cavaldi means that Delatombe's intervention into the village prior to the climax feels, again, far less arbitrary.
The "Fairytale Workprint" doesn't make Grimm a perfect movie, but it does elevate it to something that feels much more worthy of Gilliam's filmography. If you found no redeeming value to the original cut, you probably won't be converted here. If, however, you thought Grimm was a visually enthralling fairytale with a confused narrative and baffling character moments, TM2YC goes a long way toward redeeming it.
I would love to hear Gilliam's thoughts on this cut, if someone were ever able to convince him to watch it.
I've only seen "The Brothers Grimm" once before, a year or so after it was released. I barely remember it and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep off-and-on throughout. This is definitely a fanedit for those who are fans of the film, as it's still a snoozefest for me.
BUT, in terms of fanediting skill, this was excellent. Aside from the quality of the deleted scenes, you'd never be able to tell anything was different than the theatrical film. TM2YC's editing is invisible and the amount of work put into this is commendable.
For me though, this remains one of Gilliam's biggest misfires.
This was a valiant attempt to salvage what is considered by many (including myself) to be a major disappointment from Terry Gilliam's filmography. I like a lot of things about the movie, first and foremost the cast, but it never feels like it gels into something that truly works. Unfortunately, even after all of the work that TM2YC put into fixing the film, I still feel the same way. It's just not as much fun as it should be. I was rather generous with my "enjoyment" rating, however, as this edit does not at all deserve to end up with a low overall rating.
The amount of work put into this was staggering! Considering the generally poor quality of the available deleted scenes (most of them unfinished), they look and sound great cradled into the existing film. The editor built sound beds, fixed color timing, finished VFX, and cut these new scenes seamlessly into what was already there, and it's nearly perfect. Short of actual magical intervention, these scenes will never be fully on par with what the studio finished, but fear not, they're far from experience-ruining. They were also placed in logical spots, so as not to disrupt the flow of the narrative. This was both a blessing and a curse....on the one hand, they're mostly a lot of fun and dial the quirkiness up a notch (always a benefit when discussing Gilliam), but they also made this (IMO) already-dragging film into an even longer one.
I would say that, if you liked the original film, there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy this version even more. But if, like me, you don't remember The Brothers Grimm fondly, this edit isn't going to change that. Either way, it's an impressive edit made even more mind-boggling when you actually see what went into bringing it to us. And how awesome is that cover?!