The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

As a small Eastern European town is being besieged by the Turks; the only thing the townsfolk have to lift their spirits is a play about a fictional man who does extraordinary things named Baron Munchausen.  The crowd delights in this whimsical tale until a strange man comes on stage and demands the production stops, as they aren’t getting the details correct.  The man claims to be the real-life Munchausen and tells them that the war going on outside their city gates is because of him.  He thrills the crowd with his apparently true stories of his travels with his group of superhuman servants – the worlds fastest man, strongest man,  also the man with the best hearing, and the fellow with the best eyesight in all the globe.

He sets off to find in his comrades in a hot air balloon make out of knickers, and soon finds a stowaway, a young girl named Sarah, who really wants to go on an adventure.  The baron has no choice but to partner up with the girl, and it isn’t long till the balloon flies up to the moon.  It appears that the Baron has been there before and had an affair with the queen, but her king (Robin Williams) has more on his mind… when he can find it.  His detached head want’s to rule the moon and learn the secrets of the universe, his body just wants to pork all day.  When the two reunite, they realize that the Baron’s presence won’t let that continue, so he is locked up, where he finds the speedy yet old as the hills Berthold (Eric Idle).  They escape from the moon but fall back to earth and into a volcano.

They then run into Vulcan who is right hospitable and invites them to stay in his magma filled kingdom.  He introduces them to his wife, Venus (and young and hot Uma Thurman), who the Baron has also apparently had a tryst with in the past.  They discover the strongman Albrecht working as a maid, and gather him up and are shot out of the volcano into the ocean.  The growing entourage is gobbled up by a whale, and they find the remaining members of their group living inside: eagle-eyed Adolphus and the big-eared and huge-lunged midget Gustavus.  Now that the team is assembled, they wage war on the Sultan and his Turks and try to save the city.

Alex’s Thoughts:   I have been in love with this movie since I was 9-years-old!  It can be extremely crazy at times, but that is what makes it so enjoyable to me.  It was a box office bomb, mostly do to the huge budget at the time, and the very niche market for this film.  You can see the money was well spent, as the sets and attention to detail is fantastic; it’s too bad this wasn’t more popular, as I think a lot of people would like it.  The double casting as the actors in the real world vs the fantasy world is great and I think it is just a really fun movie; and who wouldn’t want to see Robin Williams as the King of the Moon.  The vision of Terry Gilliam is very evident here (it’s a lot like Time Bandits), and thusly Monty Python fans should love it as well. Alex Rates This Movie 9/10

Tim’s Thoughts: This movie is so bizarre that it can be off-putting for those who aren’t prepared for this brain bender of a movie. Now that I have gotten that out of my system, I too love this movie. As a kid, I was entranced by it’s kinetic energy, and it’s dreamlike qualities. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s tender, it’s weird, it’s Terry Gilliam, and really these are all the things you should expect from one of his movies. If you aren’t a fan, then you should stay away, because this will do absolutely nothing for you. Personally, I really like most of Gilliam’s movies, and this doesn’t disappoint.  Not to contradict Alex, but the Robin Williams part is my least favorite, and even then it’s not bad. Tim Rates This Movie 9/10

“I don’t have time for flatulence and orgasms.  I hate that face you make me make.”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue

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