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Jabberwocky

review by Zach B.

 

Rated: PG

Running Time: 105 minutes

Starring: Michael Palin, Harry H. Corbett, John Lemesurier, Warren Mitchell, Max Wall

Screenplay by: Charles Alverson and Terry Gilliam
From the poem by: Lewis Carroll

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

 

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

Retail Price: $24.95

Features: Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin, Sketch to Screen Comparisons, Posters, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (28 Chapters)

Released: October 23rd, 2001

 

 

Dennis Cooper (Michael Palin), an apprentice during the dark ages somehow must slay the dragon Jabberwock who stalks the land of Bruno the Questionable. Through odd twists of fate, Cooper must go on a series of adventures. Armed with potatos, a certain nutiness and a love for the rather apathetic Griselda, young Dennis may be able to save the kingdom... and prove once again, there are different kinds of heroes out there.

It's no "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," but "Jabberwocky" is a funny and enjoyable movie. Terry Gilliam, a director who's works I enjoy tremendously, is the brains behind "Jabberwocky." I wouldn't say it's his best work, but if you enjoy his type of humor and style, you'll sure to enjoy "Jabberwocky" a lot more than any mainstream movie fan. It's his style of humor, it's Python-like, so Monty Python fans should feel at home here. There are some truly inspired funny lines and dialogue, and some pretty cool sight gags at well. I found the movie to be a bit hard to get into, but as it went on, I got into it a bit more. There's a lot to enjoy here, but I felt it moved at an akward pace.

There's a great cast here too... Michael Palin has great sensibilities and comedic timing, while Max Wall is pretty joyous to watch as King Bruno. Harry H. Corbett, Warren Mitchell and John Lemusrier do good work here. This movie isn't for everyone, but if you like comedy, enjoy British humor and just like a movie where you can sit down anytime in and get into what's going on, then I'd say "Jabberwocky" is worth checking out. It's a bit disappointing, but I found it to grow on me, and I think it'll grow on any viewer who chooses to watch it.

 

 

Too bad. There's a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer on one side, and a full screen 1.33:1 on the other. They're both rather terrible and in need of major cleaning up. Incredibly grainy, scratches, blemishes, nicks and pieces of dirt pop up constantly making for an annoyiung experience. Fleshtones and colors are a bit undersaturated, while black levels are a bit weak. The picture is really faded and really soft too. Too bad there wasn't a cleanup or restortation on these transfers. They're very distracting and you can't help but notice the flaws.

 

Dolby Digital 5.1 English remix? What? I didn't notice it at all really. This feels like a mono mix that's spread out. Fidelity is a bit low, and dynamics aren't that impressive either. Dialogue is pretty clear and easy to hear, while it doesn't suffer from any hissing or distortion thankfully. There are some nice subtle effects with some water noises and action effects, but nothing major. Sometime remixes aren't always a good thing. If you need it, there's an English Dolby Surround track (no French track as stated on the box), plus subtitles in Spanish, English and French and your usual English closed captions.

 

There's some pretty nice supplements to enjoy here, but don't expect a plethora of bonus features to go through. The most notable one is an Audio Commentary with Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. Like the film, this commentary isn't for everyone, but if you like Palin, Gilliam or the film, you'll enjoy this track. They always keep talking, and they sound like good friends talking about the fun they had making a project. They tell some fun production stories, share a lot of laughs and give some insight on to making the film. If you're into the film, check it out.

The Sketch to Screen Comparison is pretty nice. We see Gilliam's original sketches he made for the film, and then we see the clip. It lasts one second under seven minutes. We also have three Posters: one from the United Kingdom, one from Japan and one from Poland. Rounding it all out is the full frame Theatrical Trailer and how wacky it is.

 

 

"Jabberwocky" is quite an entertaining and funny film, but this DVD is a bit lacking. The 5.1 remix isn't anything noteworthy, and the transfers are just plain weak. Still, the supplements are nice, so fans of the movie should check it out.