Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Grimm Musical Nitpicking

I caught The Brothers Grimm last evening for a much needed spacing out for a couple of hours. The reviews are fairly accurate, though it does depend a lot on why one decided to go to the movies in the first place - spacing out works fine with it.

What you won't find in the reviews (and, don't worry, no real spoiler here) is the musical nitpicking element: one of the bad guys hums fragments of Brahms's famous Lullaby, live music is played for the French General in the form of Boccherini and Rossini. Now, the film's poster reads: "The Brothers Grimm, eliminating evil since 1812", but the movie starts off in 1792, and then jumps 15 years, which would be... 1807. Of the three only Boccherini is then historically certain - Brahms came along only in 1833, while Rossini was curiously enough born in 1792, and is unlikely to have written that particular melody by then, which I'm guessing came either from The Barber of Seville or La Gazza Ladra. The camera panning went a little too quickly to note the authenticity of the baroque stringed instruments, but it was a nice surprise to know that at least one of the players was actually playing the part and not just your regular silver screen dose of faking it.

The movie was entertaining enough, it struck me as a dark shadow of Shrek somehow, with all the hints and allusions to fairy tales (a pity Marchenbilder wasn't in the soundtrack, considering how weird the movie already is, a viola sonata would fit right in). There're some great camera angles and panning, but the whole picture seems to have too much light somehow. Not the blinding moments in Troy, but somehow not enough deeper hues where it needed it, perhaps intentional to bring out the costume and set designs, which were not bad.

Less than a decade after the date of the setting of most of the film, PFS was founded, so it was interesting to place that in context somehow, to imagine the Free School founders in that kind of apparel. Interesting indeed.

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