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Jabberwocky The Criterion Collection
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Amid the filth and muck of England in the Dark Ages, a fearsome dragon stalks the land, casting a shadow of terror upon the kingdom of Bruno the Questionable. Who should emerge as the town's only possible savior but Dennis Cooper (Michael Palin), an endearingly witless bumpkin who stumbles onto the scene and is flung into the role of brave knight? Terry Gilliam's first outing as a solo director inspired by Lewis Carroll s poem 'Jabberwocky' and made on the heels of Gilliam s success as a member of the iconic comedy troupe Monty Python showcases his delight in comic nonsense, with a cast chock-full of beloved British character actors. A giddy romp through blood and excrement, this fantasy remains one of the filmmaker's most uproarious visions of society run amok.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- New 4K digital transfer from a restoration by the BFI National Archive and The Film Foundation, approved by director Terry Gilliam
- 5.1 surround mix, supervised by Gilliam and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
- Audio commentary from 2001 featuring Gilliam and actor Michael Palin
- New documentary on the making of the film, featuring Gilliam, producer Sandy Lieberson, Palin, and actor Annette Badland
- New interview with Valerie Charlton, designer of the Jabberwock, featuring her collection of rare behind-the-scenes photographs
- Selection of Gilliam s storyboards and sketches
- PLUS: An essay by critic Scott Tobias
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I do think Criterion may have added a shadow or two..(I know on my old VHS copy you could clearly see more than Mr. Fishfinger's Bum hanging out the window, ...that seems to be Tinted darker/obscured..) Meanwhile the Candle-lit scenes were brilliantly opened up for a moody atmosphere probably not seen since it's original run in 1977's Theaters!
There's a little Python-esque Shtick, and More than enough silliness.
But, since there is a Kwirky Cult Following, this IS the VERSION to own.
Jabberwocky's imagery is like Hyronimous Bosch paintings come to life, and like Bosch, Gilliam seems bent on relentlessly packing as much visual information into every frame as possible. The downside of Gilliam's approach is that the narrative can seem at times disjointed, even scatterbrained, but on the other hand this is a film that never once gets boring.
Shot on a low budget, the production quality is nevertheless terrific, and for all of its absurdities, everything in this movie looks completely real. That is, until the climax, at which point the monster is unveiled -- and resembles a giant chicken. Of course this is a comedy, so the monster's rather ridiculous appearance is more forgivable. In any case, Jabberwocky remains an impressive adventure-comedy, with an absolutely unique style that guarantees that it will never be confused with any other movie.
The DVD offers some nice supplemental material, including a commentary track by Gilliam and star Michael Palin, as well as production notes and Gilliam's original production sketches. In all, high scores for this original and offbeat film, and its DVD presentation.
The principles are all excellent and this is one of their early efforts. Some will say "it shows" but this has always been a fun movie to watch. I saw it in the theater when it came out, bought it in VHS and now have it on DVD. The pace slows from time to time but a series of running gags and some great one-line jokes always picks things up.
This is a very good price for an excellent movie. Relax, turn off your mind and watch out!
But NO ONE does bathroom humor like this movie. Scatology and other base functions have never been so funny. And on top of that the dialogue and characters are very funny as well, my favorite being the ruler of the land, King Bruno the Questionable (son of Olaf the Loud).
It also can be a very beautiful film, with Gilliam admitting in the commentary that he borrowed imagery not only from Tenniel but Bruegel and Bosch as well. And let's not forget Lewis Carrol who inspired this whole thing.
"Jabberwocky" has been called the darker B-side to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," a moniker which I believe suits the film well. By the way, a chortle is described by Carrol as a cross between a chuckle and a snort.