The Brothers Grimmis a 2005 fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam . The film stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in an exaggerated portrait of the Brothers Grimm as traveling con-artists in French occupied Germany during the early 19th century. However, the brothers eventually encounter a genuine fairy tale curse which requires real courage instead of their usual bogus exorcisms . Supporting roles are portrayed by Peter Stormare , Lena Headey , Jonathan Pryce , and Monica Bellucci .
In February 2001, Ehren Kruger sold his spec script forThe Brothers Grimmto Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). With Gilliam's hiring as director, the script was rewritten by Gilliam and Tony Grisoni , but the Writers Guild of America refused to credit them for their work, thus Kruger received sole credit. MGM eventually dropped out as distributor, but decided to co-financeThe Brothers Grimmwith Dimension Films and Summit Entertainment , while Dimension took over distribution duties.
The film was shot entirely in the Czech Republic , where Gilliam often had on-set tensions with brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein . This caused the original theatrical release date to be pushed for nearly 10 months.The Brothers Grimmwas finally released on August 26, 2005 with mixed reviews and a $105.32 million box office performance.
Will and Jake Grimm arrive in French occupied Germany during the late 18th century. They go to Karlstadt to rid the town of a witch's ghost. After killing the "ghost", it is revealed that the Brothers Grimm have actually set up a fake witch to trick the town. Afterwards, as they are celebrating, Italian torturer Cavaldi takes them to the French General Delatombe. Delatombe forces them to solve a mystery: the girls of the small village of Marbaden are going missing and the villagers are convinced that supernatural beings are responsible. The Grimms are charged with finding who is responsible and they soon discover that it is the work of a real supernatural force: a beautiful, yet dangerous, 500-year-old, Thuringian Queen stealing young girls to restore her own beauty.
Will and Jake have a complicated relationship, since Jake is the smaller, younger more sensitive one that Will feels he needs to protect. Will is often very hard on Jake (dating all the way back to their childhood, when Jake spent their money that was to be used for medicine for their dying sister on "magic beans") and orders him around. Will is somewhat of a womanizer and wants to make money, while Jake is more interested in fairy tales and adventures. Jake feels that Will doesn't care about or believe in him, but Will is just frustrated about the way Jake acts so spontaneously, therefore making it hard for Will to protect him.
Long ago, King Childeric I came to the forest to build a city while the queen experimented with black magic to gain eternal life. A plague swept through the land and she hid in her tower, while her husband and everyone below her perished. Her spell granted her immortal life, but not the youth and beauty to go along with it. Her youthful appearance now only exists in her mirror, the source of her life, as an illusion and nothing more. She needs to drink the blood of twelve young girls to regain her beauty, ten have already been reported missing.
The queen is working an enchantment to regain her beauty with the aid of her werewolf huntsman and his magic axe, crow familiars, and various creatures in the forest. The Grimms, with the help of Cavaldi and Angelika, a knowing huntress from the village, intend to destroy The Mirror Queen. After another girl goes missing, Cavaldi takes the Grimms and Angelika back to Delatombe. Because they have failed, Cavaldi is ordered to kill both the Grimms, but after convincing Delatombe that the magic in the forest is actually caused by German rebels, he sends them back. While Cavaldi stays behind with Angelika in the village, the brothers attempt to get into the tower. Jake succeeds and discovers the queen and the power of her mirror. Meanwhile, another girl named Sasha is captured despite Angelika and Cavaldi's efforts to save her.
Jake rides into the forest alone after a spat with Will, who follows him. After mistaking a dummy that is smashed into the tower for Jake, Will realizes that Jake needs him to believe in him, and assists Jake in climbing up the tower. On the roof of the tower, Jake notices twelve crypts in which the twelve victims must lie. When Sasha's body comes up from a well, the werewolf takes her to a tomb. After rescuing Sasha and taking the werewolf's magic axe, the Grimms return to the village. Delatombe captures the brothers and believes them to be frauds. French soldiers begin burning down the forest and Cavaldi represses his sympathy to the brothers, but they are eventually saved by Angelika. The werewolf is revealed to be Angelika's father, who is under the Queen's spell. Angelika is drowned by her father, becoming the 12th victim. The Brothers reach the tower while the Queen breathes an ice wind which puts out the forest fire. Delatombe notices that the Grimms have escaped and goes after them with Cavaldi. When Cavaldi refuses to kill the Grimms, Delatombe shoots him, but is impaled by Will.
Jake shatters the enchanting mirror in the tower, preventing the queen from completing the spell that will restore her youth. The werewolf transforms back into Angelika's father and destroys the rest of the mirror by jumping out of the window with it. Outside, Cavaldi survives, having donned the Grimm's faux-magic armor. He recites an Italian curse and the tower falls apart. Cavaldi informs Jake that he can break the spell and awaken Angelika, which in turn resurrects the other girls and Will. With the menace gone and their daughters returned to them, the villagers of Marbaden celebrate and give their heart-felt thanks to the brothers. Cavaldi stays in the village and joins the villagers for the feast. The Grimms decide to pursue a new profession, presumably recording fairy tales. One of the queen's crows is seen flying off with the last shard of her mirror, still holding the queen's watchful eye, and presumably, her living soul.