The year is 1812, Germany is occupied by the French during the Napoleonic Wars, and brothers Wilhelm (Matt Damon) and Jacob (Heath Ledger) Grimm are the Ghostbusters of the region, but for all the hags they have defeated, the demons they have vanquished, and the reputation they have gained, things are not as they seem. Jacob is a scholar,and knows of the tales of the region, and Wilhelm is a swindler, and uses Jacob’s knowledge of folklore to maintain a well-paid living. The go from town to town, using illusions, supposedly magical armour and artifacts to capture their undead and otherworldly prey. What the villagers they con do not know is that the creatures they capture and defeat are part of the illusion, and played by two other teammates in the Grimm business. Bunst (Richard Ridings) is the roadie, and does the work with the mechanics of the process. Hidlick (Mackenzie Crook) often plays the part of the creature they have been sent to capture. It’s not an honest living, but it is a good one.
After another successful venture, the Grimms are summoned, well, more like, dragged to see the French general that is in charge of the region. General Delatombe (Jonathan Pryce) is holding the other team members hostage by Italian torture expert, Calvaldi (Peter Stormare). He is going to have them all arrested, unless the Grimms do a job for him. There has been a rash of young girls disappearing from Marbaden, and he wants to know why and how to stop it. He wants order in the region, and supernatural hijinx are just adding to the chaos that is already around him. To hold the Grimms to their task, Bunst and Hidlick are going to be held in the dungeons, and Calvaldi is going to join them in Marbaden while they investigate.
When they arrive, they find the locals scared out of their wits, and unwilling to cooperate, but they do tell them the best guide to hire is the trapper’s daughter. Angelika’s (Lena Headey) entire family has gone missing from the woods near Marbaden, along with some other local girls. Angelika is still running the business of hunting for furs, and her home is more like a hunting lodge than a normal house. The Grimm’s go out to the forest along with Angelika, Calvaldi, and two of Delatombe’s guards. Soon they find an abandoned tower, and the forest then comes to life, as if it is attempting to keep them away from the tower. Also, one of the horses has been fed spiders by an unknown person or being, and this adds to the evil magic that leads to a spell that was started by an evil foreign queen about five hundred years ago, during the time of the Black Plague.
Most of the stories we read as kids are in here, from their Germanic base. The movie is a fun mix of science and fantasy, history and lore, and we still get the happily ever after ending, even for some characters that are not quite deserving of it, but the truly evil characters get their comeuppance, and sometimes, just like in the original stories, Fate’s revenge on them can be truly grisly. Jacob’s knowledge of lore serves them well, as well as using logic to figure out how to fix a very illogical situation. The story is mostly dark, but there is enough humour and some snappy one-liners here and there to let us know not to take the movie too seriously, so don’t. Even though it is set in an epic time period, the movie is no epic, but it is fun, and let’s us see the Grimm’s as simply human men who use their knowledge of the supernatural to get the best of it. So have fun with it, because that is exactly what you are supposed to do.
I give this film a Musing review of