Terry Gilliam speaks his mind.

I gotta say, I agree with Terry Gilliam, who, in spite of the mess the Weinsteins made of The Brothers Grimm, remains one of my favorite directors.

Gilliam, who was J. K. Rowling’s original choice to direct Harry Potter, before the studio gave it to Chris Columbus, says:

“I was the perfect guy to do Harry Potter. I remember leaving the meeting, getting in my car, and driving for about two hours along Mulholland Drive just so angry. I mean, Chris Columbus’ versions are terrible. Just dull. Pedestrian.”

Regarding Steven Spielberg:

“I saw ‘War of the Worlds‘ and I thought, Steven Spielberg is a man who makes brilliant scenes but can’t make a movie anymore.”

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.

  • mark

    The Nazi bomber cockpit scene was central to the entire theme of the movie. I haven’t talked with anyone under the age a 45 who didn’t get it. The nazi were in real life the people who were trying to wipe God’s people. Did you notice the cross hairs of the bomber. They were pointed at God’s chosen people. The four characters. Per haps it was either too simple, although this was written for Children, or nobody understands basic history anymore. As for Peter, HE WAS PETER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. The same Peter who said Thou art the Christ, rebuked the Lord for saying He had to die. The same Peter who cut off the ear denied Christ. The same Peter sent to Cornelius, was rebuked by Paul for not eating with the Gentiles. This characterization of Peter was the best I have ever seen. And by the way, we are Peter. Thanks for the the reviews, I know you are much better at than I am, but Barbara is right. 20 years from now you are going to wish you hadn’t written this one.

  • the wild man

    WOW!
    quite the clash of titans indeed!It’s a bit like stumbling into a bun fight in the school cafeteria!

    Comparing the LOTR pix & Adamson’s Narnia flick is a bit like comparing steak and burger or even less appealing; hamburger helper.( jus’ to continue the cafeteria metaphor) I am with Peter & Greydanus & the venerable Jeff O. I found Narnia disapppointing in that I was left with no sense of wonder or awe.Since the books DO convey a sense of awe I think anyone who gives Adamson a B- is being a generous soul!
    In contrast Jackson’s LOTR left me with a sense of mystery..the theater became a wee bit like a cinematic cathedral where LOTR was a medium of the transcendent.
    Lewis was an unabashed Christian mystic whose Aslan ( a “supposal” not an alegory(:) conveys a sense of the holy and other.I guess we should never have expected the director-writer responsible for opening Shrek with fart bubbles in the swamp bath to grasp this.The issue is faithfulness to the source material and obviously having some sense of what Narnia was about.Even the low-budget late eighties BBC Children’s workshop with its lame special FX conveyed a sense of the other..the Beaver’s speech in the Beeb version gives us a sense that Aslan is an awe-some figure.
    In the Adamson treatment I was more than disappointed by the Beaver dialog being stripped down or is that dumbed down? when the kids have tea with them. ” Aslan is on the move..wrong will be right when Aslan comes in sight etc..” Is not there. The books convey a sense of awe,the other.Lewis was hugely impacted by Rudolf Otto’s The Idea of the Holy and this infuses his literary masterpiece.It has been argued that there is a hint of Trinitarian faith in the Chronicles :Aslan is is the Son of the Great Emperor Beyond the Sea whose breath brings life to the “dead”.
    The film has no reference to Aslan being the Son of the Great Emperor Beyond The Sea.There is no one-liner about Alan not being safe but good.In the books one’s response to the utterance of Aslan’s name or his presence is a kind of barometer which indicates what is happening in the heart or flags up the spiritual well-being of the person or the lack thereof.
    The blogger who said we are introduced to Aslan as “oh look there is a lion on the other side of the river” sums it up.
    The Aslan passion scene does not reflect the pathos of the book.It is a genuinely moving narrative.
    I could go on but enough blethering for just now.

  • Christian

    I’ve defended Gilliam to the hilt, but recently I’ve found my past affection of his work waning. His comments on Spielberg are interesting, but clearly more descriptive of Gilliam’s own output than of Spielberg’s.

    And even though my love of “The Adentures of Baron Munchausen” faded a bit with my most recent viewing, it remains far-and-away my favorite Gilliam film. It has moments that are more magical than anything else in Gilliam’s other films, and as a whole, despite many descriptions of the film as “a mess,” I think it hangs together rather well.
    Last week I finally caught up with “Lost in La Mancha,” and although you referred to it somewhere as a “brilliant” adaptation — how can you tell at this point? — I thought it looked less interesting than the hype about it. Like all of Gilliam’s films, really.

  • Shar

    Mr. Gilliam certainly gives his own flavour to his filmaking, and I also agree with his comment on Spielberg. I had no idea Rowling wanted him for Harry Potter. That would have been such a great choice.

    I took my kids to the Brothers Grimm yesterday. It definately had a M. Pythonesque flavour to it, which just doens’t go over alot these days, and only diehard MP fans would appreciate it. The special effects were lame, but it’s not like he had a huge budget, so I’m sure he decided to just make everything silly. Silly is a good word for this movie. Damon looked like he belonged on the Seinfeld episode of “the puffy shirt” and could have danced around with his hands on his head for 2 hours, and it wouldn;t have been much different than what we saw. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Matt Damon, he’s one of my favourite actors, this role just seemed a little beneath him and he seemed bored with it.

    Having said all that, I still enjoyed moments of the film, and the audience laughed out loud many times, but my daughter thought it was “the stupidest movie I’ve ever seen”. My son thought it was “lame”, but kids are the toughest critics sometimes.


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