Was Brothers Grimm released too soon?
It is a well-established fact within many mass-media circles that broadcast media, in specifics of film and television, goes through certain fads or phases regarding what is “fashionable” to produce. For example, the media’s current love affair with vampires - what with Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries being big hits both in the US and worldwide; though you could argue that vampires have always been a big thing with films such as The Lost Boys, of the 1980s, and later in the 1990s with Buffy The Vampire Slayer. And, another fad that has been emerging as of late, namely the zombie/post apocalyptic mindset that some films have had; with remakes of George A Romero’s original “dawn of the [x]” trilogy, Zombieland, the 28 days series and The Walking Dead all being hits.
And now, the latest fad to hit our screens: fairytales. There are several television series’ that are focusing on fairytales, such as Grimm and Once Upon A Time - but with a darker twist, possiby as a signifier of our times. These shows all take the popular fairytales that we know and love and give them a darker side, a more morbid take on what would otherwise be a sickly sweet genre. Of course, the exception to this would be Mirror Mirror, though as that is a family-orientated film I would not expect them to make everything about doom-and-gloom, even if many fairytales are indeed rooted in blood.
Even pre-existing media texts such as True Blood are adapting to the fairytale fad that has hit our screens, by introducing fairies and fairy-godmothers to the equation. Although that was bad and should never have been done, it was bad in the books and is even worse on screen.
Similarly, in the genre of the darker fairy tale comes Snow White and the Huntsmen which also appeals to previous fans of the Twilight genre by having Kristen Stewart as the main role; creating major star power.
However, back in 2005, amidst the beginnings of a vampire-crush and somewhat in the middle of a post-apocalyptic affair, a film was released. A film by an already established, and thoroughly touted, director by the name of Terry Gilliam. A director well known for his quirks, producing a film concerning the re-imagining of a fairytale (or rather the writers) in a dark way. The story telling the tale of travelling conmen, the aforementioned brothers who come across a real fairytale threat, in the form of an evil queen obsessed with her own beauty - it was a dark take on a genre previously Disney-fied and made sugary-sweet.
However, it did badly in the box office; critics didn’t enjoy it, and though it was praised for its visual effects it was slated for pretty much everything else, despite being, in my opinion, a decently entertaining film. Could it be because it was released far too early?
The film in question was released in 2005, when people were more interested in their impending doom; films like I, Robot; 28 Weeks Later and The Day After Tomorrow were being released, all films concerning threats to humanity. Could the film have bombed so badly because they weren’t interested in fairytales at this time?
If it were to be released again, now, I am actually of the opinion that it would do better than it did previously- as a film it certainly seems no worse than Snow White and the Huntsmen, and would be definitely much better than Mirror Mirror (Of which I am scathing). Did Terry Gilliam make the wrong film at the wrong time, and is Brothers Grimm actually a decent film, slated because it was not released at the right time?
It is certainly one of the reasons why the film could have done badly; it did, after all, have star power, in the form of Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, even a well-known director in the form of Gilliam, famous for his Monty Python days. It is curious, then, that it did so badly, especially considering these factors. It is, indeed, an interesting insight into just how badly films can be effected if they are released at the wrong time.