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The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (20th Anniversary Edition)
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Product Description

Director Terry Gilliam (Brazil) and an all-star cast including John Neville, Eric Idle, Oliver Reedand Uma Thurman deliver this tale of the enchanting adventures of Baron von Munchausen on his journey to save a town from defeat. Being swallowed by a giant sea-monster, a trip to the moon, a dance with Venus and an escape from the Grim Reaper are only some of the improbable adventures.

Monty Python's Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) directs this wild, wild version of the stories of Baron Munchausen, pushing the limits of 1989 special effects technology to bring us such sights as a horse divided in half and running around in two parts, and a giant Robin Williams with his head flying off his shoulders. Basically, this is a treat for Gilliam fans, as the sustaining idea of the film runs out of steam, and manic energy alone keeps the momentum going. Casual viewers might find it tedious after awhile. There are nice parts for fellow Python Eric Idle, as well as Sting, Alison Steadman, and Uma Thurman as a dazzlingly beautiful Venus on a half-shell. Gilliam had greater artistic and commercial success with Brazil, The Fisher King, and 12 Monkeys. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews:

  • Fantastical fun for all ages
    This movie is a wonderful adventure which never takes itself seriously, and you shouldn't either. With excellent performances, fantastical sets and storyline, and a leading man who never gives up, it is a light-hearted romp with incredible imagination with a surprise around every corner. Thrill, intrigue, romance, death and war all play a part. My only complaint is that it is quite long. I am overjoyed to own it!...more info
  • Simply Fantastic
    I was too young to see this in theaters but I was 5 when it was released on show time. My parents recorded it for me and i broke the vhs tape from watching it so much. My dad had to open the VHS and splice the tape back together.

    Anyway, this is a great fantasy movie, for children and adults a like. I love the characters, the story, and the look of this movie. It was originally intended for kids so of course there are those "oh how corny" moments. But other then those, its fantastic. ...more info
  • Awesome
    Straight out, The Baron is the mack. He makes Big Daddy Cane, and Dolemite look like chumps. This is a fantastic story, with such an elegant feel that it never feels lousy. It is easily one of the best movies ever done, and I'd cry like an irate baby if I didnt have it in my collection....more info
  • Best Gilliam film of all time.
    I watched this film as a kid and was mesmerized. Rewatched as an adult and it was like being a kid again, except I understood everything better. Contains some adult themes, so parents beware, but when I watched it was a kid, my attention kinda glossed over those parts....more info
  • A Fabulously Inventive & Moving Film Given A Washed Out Transfer Onto Blu-Ray...
    (THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE "BLU-RAY" VERSION OF THIS FILM)

    Sometimes you despair. A new format is trust upon us - and an opportunity is presented to the movie industry to finally to do the business by their classics - and what do they do - they give us the same old dull stock and rip us off by getting us to pay more for it.

    Twenty years on, Terry Gilliam's 1989 fantasy epic is still extraordinary - inventive, funny, touching, and on a scale few movies today would even dare to go near. Unfortunately, the 2008 transfer of it to the new format is more Blur-Ray than Blu-Ray. And while it's not awful all the way through - it's not far off it. For large parts of the film there's grain and blocking - the colours in some instances are better for sure - but it's also obvious that little or no restoration has been done to the print - when like "Time Bandits" - here is a fantasy film that is crying out for a clean up - and would surely have been much more commercially viable if it had been cleaned up - and a big deal made of it (even a re-launch in the cinemas?).

    The extras mimic the special edition DVD issue - reviewed elsewhere - nothing great.

    When you see "Cool Hand Luke" or "Zulu" or "2001: A Space Odyssey" on BLU RAY, the clean up work is immediately apparent and evident throughout the entire film - making them an enjoyable 'spot-the-difference' experience for the whole duration. But you know you're in trouble with "Munchausen" the second the washed out "Columbia" logo comes up at the beginning - I've seen crinkled videotape look better than this. What a huge disappointment and what a disservice to a really great fantasy film. I can only think of the gobsmacking beauty of Uma Thurman as she appears in a seashell to cheer myself up...

    Unfortunately this release is why Amazon reviews are necessary. Avoid this overly expensive poor reissue unless you absolutely have to own it......more info
  • Munchausen is a fun Movie and that's no Lie
    Terry Gilliam's Baron von Munchausen is a fantastic adaptation of the Munchausen stories into film and a great homage to the greatest liar in literary history. Gilliam's approach to special effects are quite amazing considering this film was made in 1989. However the special effects to carry the movie as the story is not the most effective. It seems disjointed and has a plot which barely flows. Of course understanding that the film is supposed to be a conglomeration of several stories, we can cut Gilliam some slack. This being said, I really think the film is a worthwhile watch and if you are studying the Munchausen stories this is a certain must see. The cast is pretty close to all star including Robin Williams, Uma Thurman as a Botticelli-esque Venus, John Neville and even Terry Gilliam himself.

    This is a fun movie and a better film than the 1943 German Version although this earlier one is truer to the original stories. For the Terry Gilliam fan this is of course a great movie but also fans of fantasy films. Of course Uma Thurman fans will love this movie too. I recommend the DVD highly: the quality is better and there are a few nice extras.

    -- Ted Murena...more info
  • Fun and Fantasical, but....
    Let me say right off, I am a big Python fan. I get it. And this is thoroughly a Terry film. For that alone, it gets the stars. But as far as entertainment value, it ended at fun and amusing for me. I don't think I'd rush out and tell people they HAVE to see this film. I am glad I got it and watched it and I enjoyed it but it fell short of superb entertainment for me....more info
  • An overlooked classic !
    Quite simply, watching this movie was a joy to behold. Terry Gilliam truely has a unique vision in creating fantasy worlds. There is still something to using traditional effects that CGI has yet to duplicate. The story is also unique in exploring the transition between the Age of Magic and the "Age of Reason."...more info
  • Becalmed torrent
    I really love Gilliam. I love that he does things like this, where he is willing to go as far or as deep into fantasy as needed. This movie is a visual bonanza that, like most successful fantasy movies, makes one wonder why more fantasy movies aren't made often.

    Still, this movie in particular plays like a toned-down Python, toned-down Gilliam surrealism that is just a bit too loud. While a lot of it is funny, not very much of it is laugh-out-loud, and while a lot of it is adventurous, little of it is very exciting. It has some amazing visuals that are surprisingly well done (and refreshing now that we're getting to the point where we can't make a drama movie without some form of CGI), but it lacks a lot of control that makes a film so interesting to watch.

    One major aspect of it is that it's rather unpredictable. For those desperate for an original story, this one could be very enticing. On the other had, it's unpredictability makes it difficult to follow, not in that it doesn't make sense but that at some point it becomes rather unclear as to what the true conflict of the story is, or even whether Gilliam will choose to resolve it at all.

    The strongest part of the story is the whole emphasis of this being placed in "The Age of Reason." Gilliam's tongue-in-cheek rejection of rationality is one of his better aspects, and something that makes most of his films really worth watching out for. This time it didn't go overboard so much as decided against getting becalmed at sea. It's a fun ride, but it doesn't strike me as anything I'd really go out of my way to see again.

    --PolarisDiB...more info
  • Excellent fantasy escapism..with style!
    I don't usually like this sort of fantastic farcial fantasy, but this one took me completely by surprise.
    It was stylish and had excellent music and visuals. Director Terry Gilliam did an outstanding job in capturing and solidifying the outlandish tales of the good Baron for all to see and appreciate.
    Further, the cast ensemble Terry Gilliam employed in making this movie were well chosen and seemed to be the right actors for the job in fleshing out the charactizations....more info
  • Terry Gilliams Best!
    Baron Munchausen is a fun great to look at fantasy film! This is a perfect film to show off a new home theater.Enjoy!...more info
  • Baron Munchausen Review
    A fun movie, but you must be willing to suspend your disbelief. Watch it with an open mind and don't get hung up on the special effects, which very well might have been ahead of their time.

    The video transfer to blu-ray is a bit grainy, but I did see some of this movie in SD, and it seems like a much improved upgrade....more info
  • Surprisingly Sentimental
    If you are asking if you should watch "The Adventure of Baron Munchausen", the answer is yes, it is a superb movie, but quite off kilter, has some dull acts, but like "Big Fish" strikes a nice 4 star heart cord, but all the set pieces don't quite work, but the ones that do, work quite well, so in-between periods of a little dullness, character interludes and surprisingly restrictive action sequences, can be skipped over (it was a horrible affair of bad marketing, coupled with some obvious set problems - read the article - Dreams: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Edited by Phil Stubbs, on the internet) results in a bit of an editing disaster, some bad special effects print work that means all original prints have strings and film scratch attached, the original film matte work is far from 1988 special effects quality, Baron Munchausen has not aged well and some of the gags where frankly dead for 1988 are unconvincing inorganic matter in the 21st century.

    Munchausen is all about `touching intimate scenes of friendship' that try to knit the story within a story, a pantomime hijacked by a member of the audience claiming to be the real Baron Munchausen and then off telling his tale, it covers all sorts of Aesop's fables, plays to kids, but it not quite as entertaining for them as it should be, a bit too fantasy for most adult tastes, it plays better to an older Gilliam fan scene that can look at this in 2005, see the history of 70s and 80s British new wave Comedy like Monty Python and its uinfluences, and the end of the saga about "The imagination of youth (Time Bandits), Middle age (Brazil) and finally old age (Baron Munchausen)" it's heart is in the right place and all involved do make an effort, it just never quite gels as a five star experience, but certainly Surprisingly Sentimental, all should watch Baron Munchausen for the moral and its message - that stories keep us going that bit longer and we should keep telling them. I remember back in 1988 that this movie cost $45 and was considered one of the most expensive film's of all time, Europe's biggest film, turned out that hype created by investors backfired the deal. Gilliam was pretty much a hostage director and even Christopher Lambert (yeah, Highlander) directed some scenes. Quasi-film making along the same lines as Time Bandits. Certainly the Baron is far from bad....more info
  • Overlooked Terry Gilliam Classic
    "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" may be Terry Gilliam's often overlooked, extremely underrated, cinematic masterpiece. Blessed with superb production values including great special effects and a splendid cast comprised of then largely unknown actors, I believe this film is often ignored by film critics and fans because of the frantic, Monty Pythonesque pacing, with Gilliam boldy plunging into all of Baron Munchausen's zany, madcap adventures. The film opens with a play purporting to be of the Baron's adventures, as Vienna is besieged by the Ottoman Turks under the command of their Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificient. An older, reflective Baron Munchausen (John Neville, best known to television audiences as the leader of the American government alien conspiracy in "The X Files".) interrupts the play, and begins recounting his amazing tale of adventures around the globe, and beyond, to the Moon itself. In each of these adventures the Baron is accompanied by his faithful speedy servant Berthold (Eric Idle) and a young girl, Sally Salt ( a 9 year old Sarah Polley). Along the way he will encounter a young Venus (an 18 year old Uma Thurman in one of her first screen roles), sanctuary inside the belly of an enormous fish, and of course, his epic voyage to the Moon....more info
  • A movie of Big Ideas
    "It's all logic and reason now. Science, progress ... laws of hydraulics, laws of social dynamics. There's no place for three-legged Cyclops...no place for cucumber trees and oceans of wine. No place for me."

    So says the titular Baron in "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen", another fantastic voyage from the writer/director who gave us "Brazil" and "Time Bandits".

    While "12 Monkeys" is often cited as Gilliam's masterpiece, I believe that a strong case can be made for the big-budget extravaganza that is "Baron Munchausen". The fact that the movie did not do well financially reflects more on the audience than it does on the quality of the movie.

    Make no mistake, this is a film of Big Ideas. The fantastic exploits of the Baron really hide a deeper debate over the nature of our modern society. In the movie, the French civil servant Horatio Jackson elucidates one side of the argument: the rational, scientific view. His is a cold, scheduled world that runs like clockwork, one in which reason is king.

    In contrast stands Munchausen, the fantasist who spins unreal tales and mixes fancy with fact in a most distressing (to Jackson and his ilk) manner.

    The interplay between these two competing world-views drives the conflict throughout the movie (which features excellent performances by Robin Williams, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, and Uma Thurman, just to name a few), culminating in Munchausen's epic victory when he cries "open the gates!"

    The special effects are great for a late-80s movie, and the wonderful sets and cinematography will delight both young and old.

    This movie is on my personal top-10 list. Anyone with an imagination should find much to savor here, and perhaps a little to think about later....more info
  • Wonders of the imagination
    If movies are for the maker to take the audience on adventures galore to places unknown to see wondrous sights, then this is one of the greatest movies out there. Based on the German folk tale of Baron Munchausen of the early 1700s, this story combines history, romance, comedy, action and adventure into a crazy, amazing movie of mishaps and escapades. The story itself is simple enough; an old man by the name of Baron Munchausen is in a city on the Mediterranean coast. The city is under siege by the Turks and its denizens try to get along as well as possible by doing things such as going to the theatre. The show one night is of the life of Baron Munchausen. The real Baron shows up and proceeds to stop the show, saying that it is a bunch of rubbish. He proceeds to tell the "real version" of his life, and he saved the city from destruction.

    The tale he tells includes a trip to the moon, a passage thru a sea monster, an encounter with Vulcan, and his wife Venus, a flight on a hot air balloon and several close calls with the grim reaper. The movie in and of itself is entertaining as is, but also offers numerous gifts for the observant watcher. First, the roundabout storytelling of one story embedded into another is done quite well and seamlessly combines foreshadowing and recall that few other movies have done. Second, the musical score is quite good; an initial listen reminds one of classical music, but upon further inspection, you realize that the score is original and is not a compilation of previously composed works. Third, the DVD version is the only movie (that this reviewer is aware of) in which Uma Thurman is naked (topless). Fourth, the commentary on the Enlightment and the Age of Reason that is fundamental to the Baron's life foreshadows the Romantic music and Naturalism literature that would chronologically follow the 1700s. Fifth, the Baron's four friends; Gustavus, Albrecht, Berthold, and Aldophus display an incredulous combination of talents; and the Baron's efforts to round them up for one final hurrah reminds me of the Greeks teaming up for Troy and many ancient Chinese stories. Sixth, the comedy is quite impressive. Few movies attempt to combine so many types of comedy into one script; slapstick, irony, dry British humor, sarcasm, etc... This movie does so, and with great success. There are many side jokes and scenes that if you do not pay attention, you will miss the punchline. Last, the scene with Vulcan is a not-so subtle commentary on warfare, foreign policy and labor unions.

    All in all this is a great movie; very funny with a plot that twists and turns to keep one engaged. I highly recommend it....more info
  • Not a children's movie
    We rec'd this film as a birthday gift for our child. A note to other parents: This is not a children's movie. There are multiple mentions of sexual orgasms, brief nudity and other crass humor. As an adult, the movie is worth watching but not great. I appreciated the Don Quixote impossible dream aspect. There are some wonderful lines in the movie about not living an ordinary life....more info