Grimm adventure awaits in new movie
- August 30, 2005
- Rachel Rogers, Arts & Entertainment Editor
- Section: Features
Do you remember all of those fairy tales that you used to hear when you were a child? Do you have fond memories of your mother reading you “Little Red Riding Hood” or “Rapunzel”? Did you ever wonder where those stories came from?
In The Brothers Grimm, those questions are finally answered. The story takes place in French occupied Germany in 1796. We are introduced to two brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, played by Heath Ledger and Matt Damon. The two travel around the countryside making themselves famous and rich by tracing local folklore and vanquishing evil witches and trolls. However, the two are merely con-artists, playing on suppressions and faking the entire thing.
Their lucrative business soon comes to an end when the French capture them and demand their services. In a local forest, nine little girls are missing. Two of the girls happen to be Little Red Riding Hood and Gretel, who with her brother Hansel, went into the forest to find the missing girls. The French believe that it is someone like the Grimm brothers, playing on the local belief that the forest is enchanted. His offer: if the brothers will go into the forest with some of his French soldiers and find out who is kidnapping the girls and stop them, then the brothers will be granted amnesty.
Jacob and Will agree and soon find themselves in a small town filled with paranoia and fear. Thinking that the culprit is simply another con-artist like themselves, they bravely claim that they will venture into the forest and bring the girls back safely. They need only one thing: a guide. The locals point to a strange character known as the Trapper, a beautiful young woman named Angelika who has lost both of her sisters to the mysterious forest.
And so they head out into the enchanted forest.
Almost immediately, they can tell that something is not right. Trees appear to move on their own. Unearthly howls shatter the air.
Strange crows gather above to watch them. Their horses will not go any farther. and, in the middle of the forest, is a strange tower.
Angelika tells the story of how, long ago, a Christian king built a large castle in the forest. He and his wife, who was very beautiful---and very vain---lived there as they ruled over the kingdom.
Until the plague came.
The king was the first to die. The queen quickly built a tower high above the village so that she would not catch the plague. There she sat, day after day, looking at herself in the mirror and brushing her long, long hair. But the queen forgot that the plague could be carried by the wind and it wasn’t long before she fell victim.
While Will, the practical one, refuses to believe that there’s anything supernatural going on, Jake, the scholar, remembers an old fairy tale that had all of the same elements. Finally, he is able to get into the tower and realizes that the queen is still there. He realizes that before she died, she had stolen all of the spells from the village. One of those spells was for eternal life.
But not eternal youth.
They soon realize that, on the night of the blood moon, the queen must drink the blood of twelve young girls in order to once again become young and powerful. And only the Brothers Grimm, with the help of a few friends, can stop her.
So next time you pick up a copy of “Little Red Riding Hood,” or decide to read “Cinderella” to your young niece, you may find yourself asking: are fairy tales real?
Heath Ledger and Matt Damon play Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the new movie The Brothers Grimm, directed by Terry Gilliam.