Jabberwocky Screen 69 of 4 reviews

Jabberwocky

1977

Jabberwocky Poster
  • The magical-realist twist of Jabberwocky is simple: follow the arc of classic fairy tales and fantasies through the extraordinary filth and torment of actually living during those periods in history. Gilliam steps through the mirror and a familiar room is transformed into a foreign and disturbing place, where everything happens as prophecy dictates but has the opposite of the presumed effect.

  • The frisson (cinematographic majesty versus beastly tomfoolery) is derived from Holy Grail: Gilliam's unveiling of the titular dragon-parrot is a fine example of what Orson Welles called "taking the mickey out of it," assorted jests (out of Duck Soup, Chimes at Midnight, Shoot the Piano Player) are added en route to the thematic culmination of The Fisher King.

  • The cinematography in Jabberwocky (first released in 1977 and now at Film Forum in a new print) is at times incongruously lovely—dusty beams of sunshine alighting on the slithy toves—but the film itself is thinly conceived, except in the area of bodily misfunction. It plays like the murky B side to the immortal Gilliam-Jones epic Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  • The wry, grotesque wit doesn't sustain the film, though there are a few fine moments in the gloom. More peculiar than funny.

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