And now for something completely familiar, a thoughtful and deftly tuned look at the films of Terry Gilliam by Sir Percy Derailleur-Lambert, noted British film critic and curator of the Chinese Bicycle Museum in Ipswich.
battling blockbuster beasts with big, sharp teeth
in the allegorical film art
of Terry V. Gilliam
by Sir C. Derailleur-Mangrove
Like many film artists of his era, particularly those with a fondness for riding Chinese bicycles, Terrence Vance ‘Terry’ Gilliam was so moved by the helicopter crash that killed Vic Morrow and child extras Renee Chen and Myca Le around 2:20 am in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982 on the George Folsey jr. produced John Landis set of the Frank Marshall executive produced, Kathleen Kennedy associate produced, Landis and Steven Spielberg produced, and twilit and allegorical Landis, Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller film, TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983), that he put off cycling for a year and made the TZ disaster a major theme of his post-1982 film art. However, unlike other film artists of his era, Gilliam had already begun warning film artists and audiences about the dangers of embracing beastly and loot lusting blockbuster films and crusading on his Chinese ten-speed with a tin foil lance against the ravenous and insatiable blockbuster beast with big, sharp, gnashing teeth years before the TZ disaster.
Significantly, Gilliam was also ominously linked to the TZ disaster long before he began creating his own madcap and idiosyncratic film art when, after providing titillating and uncredited paper ‘cut-out’ animation for the exuberantly anarchic, eccentric and allegorical Joseph ‘Eddie’ McGrath film, THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN (1969), he teamed up with Playboy Productions and rejoined the rest of the Monty Python troupe and created more madcap cut-out animation mayhem for a cinematic revisit of their most memorable sketches from the MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS telefilm series (1933-1890) on the allegorical Ian MacNaughton film, affectionately referred to as LAS BICICLETAS ROJAS in Madrid, and known everywhere else except Montreal as AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (1971).
‘Well, I think cycling’s overrated.’
Indeed, ominously and presciently twilit forebodings were seen right from the beginning of the film in the opening H.M. Government Public Service Films No. 42 HOW NOT TO BE SEEN sketch. For the twilit trio of exploding shrubberies which led eventually to the death of the unfortunate Mr. E. W. Lambert, who, alas, was hiding behind the middle, and last, of the exploding shrubberies, and the callousness of the narrator who watched Mr. Lambert die eerily anticipated the equally callous indifference to human life that led to the thunderous special effects explosion and resultant fireball that caused the fatal TZ disaster. Significantly, Gilliam reaffirmed the film’s eerie and prescient forebodings with the cut-out animation sequences he made for AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. For the squashing foot from Agnolo Bronzino’s allegorical painting, VENUS, CYCLIST, TIME and FOLLY (circa 1546), that fell out of the sky to end the opening credits of the film with the agony of defeat also eerily anticipated the falling helicopter of the TZ disaster-as well as confirmed that allegory was already on the mind of Gilliam long before he started directing his own allegorical film art. Another cut-out animation sequence featuring killer cars falling on and killing pedestrians-but not cyclists-reiterated that eerie link to the TZ helicopter, for it reminded us that Chen was crushed by the helicopter on that fateful morning.
Even more ominously, another Gilliam animation sequence featuring a shaving man who cut off his own head with his razor eerily anticipated that the rotor blades of the falling helicopter would decapitate poor Morrow and cut Le in two. This ominous anticipation of the TZ disaster was increased by the presence of Graham Chapman as film director Sir Edward ‘Eddie Baby’ Ross in the It’s The Arts sketch, for Steve Ross would be head of Warner Brothers when the studio released TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. One of the final Gilliam animations featuring a giant mutated Siamese cat menacing polite, and impolite, society, was also important, as this was the first appearance of the ravenous and insatiable blockbuster beast in a Gilliam film, preparing us for the many desperate battles with blockbuster beasts with big sharp teeth and horrible, nasty breath in the films to come. The fact that Gilliam also openly mocked Twentieth Century Fox and MGM in another animation segment also made clear that Gilliam had set his satirical sights on American film art and studios.
Significantly, Gilliam was not the only one who was setting his satirical sights on irresistible targets, as Sidney Lumet implicitly roasted Gilliam in the implicit form of the twitchy Mr. Hector McQueen-layed by Anthony Perkins-the rest of the Monty Python troupe and AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in his allegorical film, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974), inspired by the allegorical Agatha Christie novel, Murder On The Orient Express (1934). As the entire and implicitly Monty Python troupe cast of characters were allowed to get away with their murder of the implicitly John Huston linked victim, Mr. Ratchet aka Mr. Cassetti-played by Richard Widmark-in the end, Lumet implied his hope that the Monty Python gang would also succeed with their gleefully demented and satirical cinematic hits, as well. How fitting that fellow exuberant cyclist and Monty Python troupe member, Terry Graham Parry Jones, was implicitly linked to, and played such a central as, murder mystery solving Belgian sleuth M. Hercule Poirot-probably implicitly linked to Marcel Proust by Agatha Christie, and played by Albert Finney-for Jones would play a central role as co-director with Gilliam and 76,188 exuberant bicycle riding llamas on the first wholly original and still most remarkable Python film, the allegorical, fantastic realist and gleefully satirical animaction film known as THE LORD OF THE BICYCLES in certain parts of Moscow on Thursdays, and in most other places as MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1974), a film anticipated by the sound of the John Cleese voiced God admonishing and inspiring Michael Palin’s Arthur Pewtie, and by the presence of the double-vision suffering Sir Sir George George Head Head and Arthur Wilson One and Arthur Wilson Two-played by Cleese and Eric Idle, respectively-and the Arthur Brown twins in the Kilimanjaro sketch in AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.
‘Bring out your bicycles!’
Intriguingly, the film began with a title credit indicating that it was set in England 932, immediately linking the film to the fateful numbers 23 in another ominous memory of the future July 23, 1982 TZ disaster. Soon Gilliam’s loyal and sturdy squire, Patsy, appeared with Chapman’s King Arthur, vanquisher of the Saxons and King of the Britons, on a search for knights valiant and true to join them as Knights of the Round Table at Camelot. As Patsy clopped halves of a coconut together to imitate the sound of hoofbeats while the two men pretended to ride horses-there being no bicycles at the time-it was also immediately clear that Gilliam’s zany animaction film art would be a squired taste, indeed. Eerily prescient and twilit forebodings soon returned when a desperate sword fight to the death broke out between King Arthur and Cleese’s intimidating and obdurate Black Knight. For the sight of King Arthur unconcernedly hacking off the Black Knight’s arms and legs and leaving him a petulant and heckling torso ominously anticipated lack of concern for safety on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE that led to the rotoring blades of the falling helicopter decapitating Morrow and hacking Le in two in the TZ disaster.
The implicitly gay and three headed Knight-played by Jones, Chapman and Palin, respectively-who frightened off Idle’s brave Sir Robin later in the film reaffirmed the film’s ominous foreboding of the TZ disaster, for the three hectoring heads anticipated the three equally intimidating victims of the TZ disaster who would haunt film artists and their film art after July 23, 1982. The sight of a surprisingly killer rabbit decapitating an unwary Knight later in the film as King Arthur and his Knights quested for the Holy Grail was also eerily prescient, for the bloody scene again anticipated the decapitation of Morrow. This twilit prescience was reinforced by the cuts to a contemporary police investigation of a real world murder committed by Chapman’s Sir Lancelot, cuts to a murderous reality that again ominously presaged the all too real investigation of the TZ disaster.
This eerie sense that MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL was filled with ominous memories of the future TZ disaster was increased by the implication that the sudden, and divinely inspired interest of the bearded King Arthur and the tragicomic Knights of the Round Table he had gathered around him to quixotically quest for the Holy Grail in England in the Middle Ages was a satirical roast of the increasing interest of the equally bearded Francis Coppola, the reigning King of New Hollywood at the time, and the rest of the film artists of New Hollywood in beastly fortune, glory and the Holy Oscar as they abandoned the higher minded, film art for film art’s sake principles of their rebel youth in their middle ages. An increasing interest on the part of the middle aged members of New Hollywood in the fortune, glory and Holy Oscars to be had with creating blockbuster beasts that Gilliam, Jones and the 76,188 llamas implicitly warned would lead to New Hollywood being devoured by the blockbuster beast, a warning implicitly seen in the attack of the legendary Black Beast of Aaaaaaarrrgggghh on King Arthur and his Knights late in the film. A dire warning that New Hollywood was wise to heed, as the ravenous and insatiable blockbuster beast with big sharp teeth was so terrifying it gave Gilliam, its creator and animator, a heart attack.
The mortally terrifying and legendary Black Beast of Aaaaaarrrggggghhh and its implicit link to New Hollywood also prepared us for an implicit roast of Spielberg and his embrace of the blockbuster beast when Gilliam teamed up with Jones and Palin to fuse live action film art with his exuberantly idiosyncratic cut-out animation perfected during his many centuries with MONTY PYTHON to create an equally exuberantly idiosyncratic ‘animaction’ style of film art which he unleashed on the unsuspecting the Temple Theatre in his first solo and imaginative, fantastic realist, madcap and satirical allegorical animaction film, dubbed THE SEVENTH CYCLE for patriotic reasons in Stockholm, and known most everywhere else as JABBERWOCKY (1977).
‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son,
the jaws that bite,
the claws that catch-bicycles!’
Fittingly, the film began with an unsuspecting green moth resting on a fern being squashed from above by the right foot of a poacher played by Jones as he wandered through a medieval forest on his rounds checking his illicit traps, as the opening lines of the allegorical poem, ‘Jabberwocky’, from the equally Lewis Carroll novel, Through The Looking-Glass, And What Alice Found There (1871), was read by an unseen man. This squashing foot recalled the squashing foot of Bronzino that Gilliam had created in his cut-out animation sequences for the MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS telefilm series and for AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, immediately affirming that we were in an allegorical Gilliam animaction film. The squashing of the unsuspecting moth by a larger creature striking from above also prepared us for the poacher being stalked from above, and then paying for his illicit activity by being snapped up in the jaws and gobbled up by the film’s blockbuster beast, the towering and eponymous Jabberwocky-puppetered by Peter Salmon. Significantly, this attack on the unsuspecting poacher by the dread Jabberwock recalled the attack on the unsuspecting blonde teenage girl swimmer-played by Susan Backlinie–by a great white shark at the beginning of the allegorical Spielberg film, JAWS (1975). Thus, Gilliam implied with this similar prologue that he was sarcastically roasting Spielberg and JAWS in JABBERWOCKY.
This implication was reaffirmed after the prologue by the arrival of Palin’s Dennis the Cooper, the son of a fastidious, uncompromising, Alfred Hitchcock resembling and implicitly linked cooper-played by Paul Curran. For the occupation of cooper engaged in by Dennis and his father evoked Hooper-played by Richard Dreyfuss-the bespectacled, bearded and implicitly George Lucas linked shark expert in JAWS, linking the young cooper to Hooper, and, hence, to Spielberg. The sight and sound of Dennis falling under the influence of Warren Mitchell’s profit minded fishmonger, Mr. Fishfinger, and fleeing the principled craftsman ways of his bearded and obdurate father and his village for fame and fortune in a nearby and implicitly Hollywood linked fortified citadel-a flight made not, alas, on two smoothly spinning wheels, in those darkest of Dark Ages before the enlightening and liberating arrival of the bicycle-reaffirmed the implicit link of Dennis and Spielberg.
For the sight of Dennis being led astray by Fishfinger reminded us that in the late Sixties Spielberg was persuaded by Sid Sheinberg, the head of the television division at Universal Studios, to leave behind the UCLA film program before he graduated as a fully trained and higher minded film artist and embrace fortune and glory as a television director with Universal Studios. This set Spielberg apart from the directors of New Hollywood, who were usually graduates of post-secondary film schools and preferred to make film art for film art’s sake, rather than for fortune and glory. Indeed, the fact that Dennis was clean shaven affirmed his implicit link to Spielberg, as it reminded us that, unlike Spielberg in 1977, the denizens of New Hollywood favoured beards and moustaches like the father of Dennis to make it clear that they were serious and thoughtful film artists. The link of Dennis to the also implicitly Spielberg linked Sir Galahad in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL reaffirmed the implicit link of Dennis to Spielberg.
Significantly, however, Dennis was not killed when he was made a squire to the perhaps implicitly Lumet linked Red Herring Knight-played by David Prowse-and forced to join the quixotic quest to kill the blockbuster and beastly Jabberwock and free the fortified Hollywood evoking citadel of its nightmarish presence against the worst wishes of the money lusting merchants who confirmed the implicit link of the Jabberwock to blockbuster lusts. Instead, by a quirk of tragicomic fate, it was Dennis who killed the beast, and died in the attempt to kill the Jabberwock was the Red Herring Knight and his arch nemesis, the new Black Knight-perhaps linked to Lucas given that the horns on his helmet reminded us that Lucas was a Taurus, and, at any rate, fittingly also played by Prowse, who also played Darth Vader that year in the allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Spielberg and JAWS roasting Lucas film, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977). This surprise success of Dennis that led to him being given the hand of, and riding off on a honeymoon with, the pretty Hollywood blonde Princess-played by Deborah Fallender-daughter of the Hollywood citadel’s ruler, King Bruno the Questionable-perhaps linked to Lew Wasserman, head of Universal Studios at the time, and played by Max Wall-rather than his sweetie, Griselda Fishfinger-played by Annette Baldland-implied that Gilliam hoped that Spielberg would come to his senses, give up on beastly blockbuster films like JAWS and truly save film art with higher minded films, in the end. An optimistic new hope, indeed, but one overshadowed by the Morrow anticipating decapitation of the first herald of King Bruno-played by John Bird-and the twilit trio of victims of the blockbuster beast in two more eerie and ominous memories of the future in JABBERWOCKY.
Curiously, the sight of the implicitly Walt Disney linked Wat Dabney-played by Jerold Wells-begging in the streets of the implicitly Hollywood linked fortress citadel was rather ironic, given that the animation and animaction loving film division of the Mouse House was indeed on the ropes in 1977 but would take advantage of the TZ disaster to promote itself as the family friendly studio that did not kill child extras or film veterans on its sets and become the number one film studio on planet Earth. As for Gilliam, he then proceeded to co-write, co-star in and design the allegorical Jones film, MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN (1979), better known in Calcutta as HANUMAN AND THE MAGIC BICYCLE.
‘What’th tho funny about Bigguth Thyclith?’
Curiously, given the film’s allusions to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, the implication was that the rise and fall of the film’s Jerusalem based and Roman Empire battling ‘messiah’, Brian-played by Chapman-symbolized the likely rise and fall of Lucas and hith hugely thuccethful evil Thpielberg Empire battling firth chapter in the STAR WARTH Clathic Trilogy. Indeed, the cloth encounter of the demented kind Brian briefly had with ethtraterrethtialth affirmed the implithit Lucath addrething intent of the filum.
In addition, Joneth implied that Bigguth Dickuth-who ominouthly antithipated the permanent link of Philip K. Dick to 1982 via the Thir Ridley Thcott film, BLADE RUNNER (1982), and altho played by Chapman-thymbolithed Bigguth Thyclith. Luckily for the world, Joneth and company altho forewarned uth that no matter how dark and nathty the dread allegorical Thone Warth would be, it wath thtill important to thee the humour in the thituation, and to alwayth give a cheery whithle and thee the light thide of life-and death. Significantly, on June 12, 1981, the same day that Lucas and Spielberg began dealing with the kudos and arrows of outrageous fortune with the release of the ominously and presciently twilit allegorical film, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), Desmond Davis and company implicitly toasted Gilliam in the presciently twilit and allegorical animaction film always referred to as BEDTIME FOR BUBO in South Delta, and known everywhere else including Bangkok as CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981).
‘A hundred good deeds cannot atone
for one murder of one cyclist.’
Toasted, indeed, as the Gilliam resembling and implicitly linked demi-god hero, Perseus-played by Harry Hamlin, whose name fittingly looked and sounded like Terry Gilliam-ominously and ironically used the decapitated head of the fiercely independent and Ray Harryhausen hand animated Titan, Medusa, to kill the dread, slathering and equally Harryhausen animated blockbuster beast of a four-armed Titan, the Kraken, unleashed on a dismayed world by the implicitly Spielberg linked god, Poseidon-played by Jack Gwillim-and to save Judi Bowker’s beautiful, blonde and implicitly film art for film art’s sake linked Andromeda before she was killed by the beast or kidnapped by the lustful and implicitly David Lynch linked Calibos-played by Neil McCarthy. Significantly, as this resounding victory brought peace and harmony back to the city of Joppa, true and exorcising film art back to the blockbuster beast plagued Temple Theatre and pleased defeat to the feuding gods and goddesses of high, eternal, eternally bickering and implicitly New Hollywood linked Olympus, which was presided over by the action figure loving and implicitly Lucas linked Zeus-who evoked the Gilliam animated God in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, and was played by Laurence Olivier-in the legendary end of the JABBERWOCKY, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL and MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN evoking film, Davis and company implied their hope that Gilliam would return to the Temple Theatre with an equally indie and film art for film art’s sake film that would also slay the slathering blockbuster beast. And a curiously Ozian and harmonious triumphant end, as well, what with the Wicked Kraken killed and pretty Andromeda centred between the handsome and Earthy Perseus-with his Scarey head of Medusa!-the Tin Bubo-dunked twice in Water!-the Cowardly Extra first seen running in terror from the Kraken during the destruction of Argos in scene 27 back for more screaming, this time in blessed relief-aaaaaagh!-and the Great and Powerful and Airy Zeus happily celebrating the victory of his favourite beamish boy, and all.
Significantly, this was an ironic and ominous victory, indeed, given that the decapitated head of Morrow would soon kill off the briefly Lucas led New Hollywood era. Thus, it was all too ominously fitting that Meredith, the four time original TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series vet, returned as Ammon, another trainer to another determined and initially unknown young hero. It was also too eerily fitting that Perseus sought advice on how to kill the blockbuster and beastly Kraken from a twilit trio of witches-played by Freda Jackson, Anna Manahan and Flora Robson, respectively. Last but not least, the sight and sound of Calibos transformed by Zeus from a demi-god into a bitter and hated outcast beastman-who evoked John Hurt’s implicitly David Cronenberg linked John ‘the Elephant Man’ Merrick in the allegorical Lynch film, THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980), to affirm his implicit link to Lynch-as punishment for killing all but Pegasus, the last of the herd of flying horses of Zeus, ominously and presciently anticipated the sight and sound of the equally bitter, hated and outcast Landis after the TZ disaster. Thus, it was equally eerily fitting that the name of Calibos had the same three syllable cadence as John Landis.
Curiously, Gilliam then implicitly went from Kraken slayer to dragonslayer and Lucas slayer when he was also implicitly linked in June of that year to the earnest, young and dragon slaying sorceror’s apprentice, Galen Brandwardyn-played by Peter MacNicol-who steadfastly refused to ‘…make a shameful peace with dragons’ or dragonmen and who hunted down and killed the implicitly Lucas linked and tyrannical Tyrian-played by John Hallam-and then the wily and cranky old blockbuster beast of a fire breathing dragon, Vermithrax, in the allegorical Matthew Robbins animaction film, DRAGONSLAYER (1981). Indeed, the sight of Galen’s girl, Valerian-played by Caitlin Clarke-dressed as a man in contrast to the men dressed as women in the MONTY PYTHON films and telefilms and the film’s allusions to JABBERWOCKY, LIFE OF BRIAN and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. How fitting that Sir Ralph Richardson played Galen’s old, wise and implicitly Kubrick linked sorcerer mentor, Ulrich the Enchanter, for Sir Richardson and McCarthy from CLASH OF THE TITANS soon reappeared in the Temple Theatre when Gilliam extended his implicit roast of Spielberg in JABBERWOCKY to an implicit roast of a number of the dimunitive, madcap and fortune and glory lusting film artists of Hollywood like the giddily cycling Jones, the 76,188 exuberant llamas and himself had already implicitly done in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL when he teamed up again with Cleese, Palin and Charles McKeown-who had played variouth roleth in MONTY PYTHON’TH LIFE OF BRIAN-and returned to the Temple Theatre with his next allegorical, irreverent, imaginative, fantastic realist, Ozian themed and satirical animaction film, usually referred to in Glasgow as BICYCLES ARE FOREVER, and also known in other countries as TIME BANDITS (1981).
‘Lads, here’s to stinking rich-
and riding solid gold bicycles!
Curiously, the film revolved around an exuberant, imaginative and art and history loving suburban English boy, Kevin-played by Craig Warnock. Curiously, Kev resembled Gerald Potterton, who was in Montreal at the time overseeing the creation of the twilit and allegorical film, HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE (1981), implying that the lad was linked to Potterton. Indeed, the resemblance of his father-played by David Daker-to Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada at the time, affirmed the possible link of Kevin to Potterton. Significantly, soon after meeting Kevvy, an intrepid knight on horseback-played by Brian Bowes and Valiant, respectively-straight out of JABBERWACKY or MONTY PYTHON AND HOLY GRAIL suddenly charged out of his closet and into glory as he settled in to sleep perchance to dream one night-or, did Kev in fact dream the whole film, as Gilliam mischievously implied, in the end?
At any rate, the following night, a group of exuberantly shameless, bearded, greedy and morally stunted little men led by David Rappaport’s implicitly Coppola linked Randall-and including the implicitly Robert Altman linked Vermin and the implicitly Stanley Kubrick linked Strutter, played by Tiny Ross and Malcom Dixon, respectively-leapt out of Kevin’s closet, sweeping the boy up in a madcap new quest to rob some of the wealthiest and/or famous men in history, including the implicitly Tin Man linked Napoleon-played by Ian Holm-the implicitly Scarecrow linked Robin Hood-played by Cleese-and the implicitly Great Oz linked King Agammenon-played by Sean Connery, who played the implicitly Cleese linked Colonel Arbuthnott in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS-whose regal episode saw the king take on, and take out, a slathering blockbuster beast of a minotaur-played by Winston Dennis-in a mortal combat that curiously evoked not just the battles between Perseus and various blockbuster beasts in CLASH OF THE TITANS but also evoked the tragicomically triumphant end of JABBERWOCKY.
Significantly, the madcap quest of the film bandits was aided by a map of the universe stolen from the implicitly Alfred Hitchcock and Glinda the Good linked God-played by Sir Richardson-that revealed all of the holes in time and space left in the wake of the hasty seven day creation of the universe, a madcap and blockbuster loot lusting quest that reminded us that at the time some of the bearded, middle aged and short male film artists of Hollywood such as Lucas had begun to also shamelessly lust after piles of blockbuster and movie tie-in merchandise loot. Indeed, Gilliam affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Lucas with the choice of Kenny Baker and Jack Purvis to play Fidget and the implicitly Lucas linked Wally, two of the dimunitive film bandits. For Baker played R2D2 in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and in the allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Spielberg roasting Irv Kershner film, STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980), while long time Baker associate and vaudeville partner Purvis played the head Jawa in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and the head Ugnaught in Cloud City in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The fact that Wally’s name evoked Walton, the middle name of Lucas, and that Wally showed up in an X-wing evoking space fighter rather than a laser cannon equipped astro-bicycle to help his fellow film bandits in the climatic battle reaffirmed the implicit link of Wally to Lucas.
Significantly, while the foolish lusts of the film bandits for beastly blockbuster loot led them astray and to being imprisoned by David Warner’s personification of beastly, blockbuster loot lusting and always exuberantly Wicked Evil-openly linked to television in general but perhaps also linked to Walt Disney and their THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY television show in particular due to his resemblance to the Lucille La Verne voiced Wicked Queen in the allegorical David Hand film, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)-in a hanging and television box shape evoking cage in his Fortress of Ultimate Darkness, they not only managed to escape the cage but to defeat the Wicked Evil with the help of Glinda the God, in the imaginative final battle that ended the fillum. Thus, Gilliam implied his hope that not just Spielberg, as at the end of JABBERWOCKY, but Altman, Coppola, Kubrick, Lucas and the rest of Hollywood would come to their collective senses, give up on blockbuster beasts and beastly blockbuster fortune and glory and turn back to higher minded film art, in the end.
In addition, shortly before reaching the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness and confronting the Wicked Evil, the seven film bandits fell through a hole in space/time and into the drink in the Time of Legend. Here they were fished out in a net and almost aten by the implicitly Cowardly Lion linked Mr. Winston Ogre-played by Peter Vaughan-and his gleefully wicked wife, Mrs. Ogre-played by Katherine Helmond. Curiously, and ominously, the red hair of Mrs. Ogre evoked the auburn hair of Kennedy. This eerily and presciently linked Mr. and Mrs. Ogre to Marshall and Kennedy, who had begun dating by the time of the release of TIME BANDITS shortly before Christmas in December of 1981, making the film one of the Last Good Films of the Last Good Year. This was an eerily prescient link, indeed, given that Kennedy and Marshall were soon to play a big role in the TZ disaster.
Curiously, Kennedy and Spielberg implicitly and gently roasted Gilliam and his fear of the slathering blockbuster beast by having the implicitly Gilliam linked boy, Elliot Thomas-played by Henry Thomas-develop a warm and fuzzy relationship with a slathering blockbuster beast in the eerily twilit, allegorical and computer generated imagery (CGI) enhanced animaction film, E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (1982), an implicit interest in Gilliam affirmed by the film’s allusions to JABBERWOCKY, MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS and, curiously, even some similarities to TIME BANDITS-maybe they had a spy on the Gilliam set? Then alas for Chen, Le, Morrow, Gilliam and everyone else, Folsey, Kennedy, Landis, Lucas, Marshall and Spielberg did not heed the eerily prescient warnings addressed to New Hollywood that were implicitly embedded in JABBERWOCKY, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL and TIME BANDITS, leading to the deadly nightmare of the TZ disaster.
A month after which, in August of ’82, the implicitly Lucas linked Dar-played by Marc Singer-triumphed over the implicitly Gilliam linked mad Maax, High Priest of Argggghhh!-played by Rip Torn-in the presciently twilit and allegorical Don Coscarelli film, THE BEASTMASTER (1982), which implicitly replied, and alluded to, the implicitly Gilliam toasting films, CLASH OF THE TITANS and DRAGONSLAYER. For his part, Spielberg implicitly replied to Gilliam in the implicit form of young Robert ‘Robbie’ Freeling-played by Oliver Robins-when he returned to the Temple Theatre near the end of October of 1982 as co-writer and co-producer with Marshall-and with Kennedy as associate producer-with the twilit, allegorical and Ozian themed Tobe Hooper animaction film, POLTERGEIST (1982), an implicit allegorical intent affirmed by the film’s allusions to TIME BANDITS.
Curiously, Peter Yates implicitly replied to THE BEASTMASTER and came to the implicit support of Gilliam the following year on July 29, 1983, having the Good, virtuous, Perseus evoking and implicitly Gilliam linked Prince Colwyn-played by the unfortunately surnamed Ken Marshall-hunt down and triumph over a slavering and extraterrestrial blockbuster Beast-voiced by Trevor Martin-and his remorselessly violent and Jun horde evoking legions of Slayers with the aid of the pretty Princess Lyssa-played by Lysette Anthony-thus freeing the planet Krull of the Beast’s cruel tyranny at the end of the twilit and allegorical film, KRULL (1983), an implicit Gilliam toasting allegorical intent affirmed by the film’s allusions to CLASH OF THE TITANS, DRAGONSLAYER and THE BEASTMASTER.
A fitting link to the latter film, as the implicit allegorical intent of KRULL was reconfigured by youthful audiences like that of THE BEASTMASTER. For the sight and sound of Prince Colwyn and Princess Lyssa freeing Krull from the insidious grip of the blockbuster Beast and his Slayers and bringing daylit peace and harmony to the planet new evoked the equally determined quest of Gen X audiences to free the world of film art from the insidious and twilit grip of Landis and his film crew on TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE as well as from Folsey jr., Kennedy, Marshall, Palpaberg, Stinkious and the TZ disaster in order to bring daylit peace and harmony back to troubled young audiences, film art, film artists and the Temple Theatre.
As for Gilliam and Jones, the TZ disaster no doubt explained why their twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanthed film, MONTY PYTHON’S THE MEANING OF LIFE (1983), was so despondent and dismal and obsessed with weighty questions of life, death, fish and topless young women. Indeed, it was enlivened only vaguely by the Gilliam crafted Crimson Permanent Assurance sketch, which saw old insurance brokers-or was that bankers?-who were implicitly linked to older film artists and were dedicated to higher goals than making money sweep aside the callow and money obsessed youngsters who were implicitly linked to blockbuster loot obsessed film artists who were replacing them in Gilliam’s most implicit affirmation to date of his commitment to film art for film art’s sake. Then Gilliam implicitly addressed the TZ disaster more memorably when he teamed up again with Dennis-who was now forever linked to 1982 via his role as a security guard in the allegorical Pink Floyd and Alan Parker film, PINK FLOYD: THE WALL (1982)-Helmond, Holm, McKeown, Palin, Purvis, Vaughan, Jim Broadbent-who played the exuberantly sleazy YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE game show host in TIME BANDITS-and Julian Doyle-editor of TIME BANDITS-and returned to the Temple Theatre with the twilit, nightmarish, allegorical, fantastic realist, imaginative, irreverent and satirical animaction film still affectionately referred to in Perley as I WOULD LIKE TO RAVAGE YOUR DERAILLEUR, and in some other countries as BRAZIL (1985).
‘Um, don’t you want to search me-
I could be hiding bicycle clips in a pocket!’
Indeed, the nighttime explosion that tore through a bank of televisions all showing a banal Central Services commercial for ducts in a shop display case and also took out a customer at the beginning of the film immediately implied that the daylit and Skyrocking exuberance of the pre-TZ disaster days was gone and a dark and violent new post-1982 world was here-and also linked the film to TIME BANDITS and its tv commercials for the Moderna Wonder Major all automatic convenience kitchenette and the block of concentrated Evil that exploded at the end of that film and killed the cluelessly consumerist parents of Kevin. This explosive beginning also implied that Gilliam was again striking back at the beastly blockbuster film as much as at the equally explosive TZ disaster in BRAZIL. Curiously, after this explosive prelude, the film followed the snafu plagued misadventures of lonely and film art loving petty Ministry of Information bureaucrat, Sam Lowry-played by Jonathan Pryce-in a tragicomically nightmarish future England that evoked and perhaps roasted the Orwellian nightmare seen the year before in the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Lucas roasting Michael Radford film, NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR (1984).
Significantly, however, these tragicomically Orwellian vignettes were filled with allusions to the allegorical film art of Lumet, particularly MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THE DEADLY AFFAIR (1967), NETWORK (1976), THE WIZ (1978) and DANIEL (1983), implying that Gilliam was really targeting Lumet in BRAZIL. Indeed, the fact that Lowry looked, talked and acted like McQueen; that his mother, Mrs. Ida Lowry-played by Helmond-looked and dressed like Princess Dragomiroff-played by Wendy Hiller-that the unctuous waiter, Spiro-played by Bryan Pringle-looked, talked and acted like super sleuth Poirot; and that Shirley Terrain-played by Kathryn Pogson-resembled and was implicitly linked to Lauren Bacall’s Mrs. Harriet Hubbard all in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS reaffirmed the implicit Lumet addressing intent of BRAZIL. In addition, the fact that Sam Lowry had a similarly cadenced name and the same initials as Sid Lumet reaffirmed the implicit Lumet addressing intent of BRAZIL and also implied that Lowry symbolized Lumet. Thus, as the befuddled and lonely Lowry spent most of the film trying but failing to cope with the tragicomic and oppressive world he lived in and was tortured to death by his ‘friend’ and Information Retrieval expert, Jack Lint-played by Palin-in the end-a deadly ending that reminded us that the implicitly Kennedy and Spielberg linked Rochelle and Paul Issacson (played by Lindsay Crouse and Mandy Patinkin, respectively) died for their twilit sins in the electric chair at the end of DANIEL-Gilliam dismissively and sarcastically implied that Lumet was out of touch with the TZ disaster transformed and haunted times.
Curiously, however, lost Lowry’s tragicomic and Lumet and Orwell evoking waking hours were also ironically interspersed with vivid and much more successful dreams and fantasies of the lonesome Lowry that saw him as a Perseus evoking hero in shining armour triumphantly fighting off a blockbuster samurai beast-played by Dennis-and saving a beautiful young blonde maid-also met in reality as Jill Layton, where she evoked and resembled Rochelle Issacson in DANIEL, both played by Kim Greist-triumphant dreams and fantasies that evoked CLASH OF THE TITANS, DRAGONSLAYER, KRULL and THE BEASTMASTER, making it unclear who was being truly and implicitly addressed in the film. Unless the ironically contrasting fantasies were meant to mock Lumet’s self-appointed status as a saviour of film art for film art’s sake, which Gilliam implicitly roasted as a delusion, and then the fantasies meant perfect sense and reinforced the implicit Lumet roasting intent of BRAZIL.
As for Lucas and Ron Howard, they combined to implicitly roast the determined but madcap attempts of Cameron, Gilliam, Robbins and Alex Cox to use their film art to save film art from the slathering blockbuster beast with big teeth-and equally slathering and beastly film critics!-to the equally determined and madcap attempt of the implicitly Cameron and Cowardly Lion linked warrior, Airk of Bairk-played by Gavin O’Herlihy-the mischievous, female impersonating and implicitly Gilliam and Scarecrow linked swordsman, Madmartigan-played by Val Kilmer-the implicitly Robbins and Great Oz linked Nelwyn sorcerer’s apprentice, Willow Ufgood-played by Warwick Davis-and the implicitly Cox and Tin Woman linked sorceress, Raziel-played by Patricia Hayes-to rescue the implicitly Dorothy linked baby princess, Elora Danan-played by Kate and Ruth Greenfield, respectively-from the Wicked Queen Bavmorda-played by Jean Marsh-her Evil minions, led by General Kael-played by Pat Roach, who played Hephaestus in CLASH OF THE TITANS-and the slathering two-headed stop-motion blockbuster beast, the Siskebert in the twilit, allegorical and Ozian themed animaction film, WILLOW (1988), an implicit Cameron, Gilliam and Robbins roasting intent affirmed by the film’s allusions to AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, DRAGONSLAYER, JABBERWOCKY, KRULL, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, THE BEASTMASTER and TIME BANDITS. For his part, Gilliam left behind twilit gloom and doom and embraced daylit life and indomitably carefree exuberance when he returned with Dennis, Idle, McKeown, Pryce, Purvis and BRAZIL composer Michael Kamen when he truly merged his cut-out animation with live action for his most gleefully demented animaction film to date, the twilit, allegorical, fantastic realist, TIME BANDITS evoking, CGI enhanced and exuberantly satirical film, often called THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE CYCLIST in Waikato, and usually known most everywhere else as THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (1989).
‘Sultan, if you are still interested
in my bicycle, it’s yours.
I’m tired of it.’
***…Regrettably, it appears that a truly ravenous and slathering blockbuster beast indeed has aten this portion of the Gilliam ‘essay’. As such, the poor ol’ Gardevil will need to rewatch and rethink this particular film and rewrite this particular part of the ‘essay’ at his inconvenience. – Editor***
…significantly, the failure of THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN tarnished the reputation of Gilliam, making financial backers and studios reluctant to go near the enfant Terry. Leading to a Dark Age, indeed, in the life and film art of Gilliam-and a prominent black spot on the end of his nose, which for many maddening months defied numerous costly homeopathic lotions-during which he no doubt wondered if he would ever direct a film again, or, worse yet perhaps, be forced forever after to accept telefilm assignments from the CBC, a dire fate, indeed, and one that would make it all too macabrely appropriate that he could be referred to as T. V. Gilliam. A Dark Dark Dark Dark Age that was a perfect time for a word from our sponsor.
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We know return to ‘It’s the Arts!’, and the ‘scholarly’ essay on the film art of Sir T. V. ‘Terry Baby’ Gilliam, where, at this Dark, Dark, Dark, Dark Age, depressed, despondent, confused, constipated, angry and dyspepic about the box office ‘failure’ of THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN, we found him pedalling his ’64 Beijing Zephyr pensively down lonely back streets and taking consolation in women’s clothing-particularly an eye catching and strapless summer dress by McQueen and a pair of casual but supportive flats by the good Doctor, Marten. Alas for brave Sir Terry, the striking McQueen/Marten combo was to no avail, as he was soon forced to team up again with Robin Williams-who in THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN played the looney dune and at one with the cosmos King O’ the Moon who was implicitly linked to David Lynch as he evoked Kyle MacLachlan’s equally moon haunted and at one with the dreaminin universe Maud’dib Dib in the twilit and allegorical Lynch film, DUNE (1984)-and create a dreaded Studio Mandated Film (SMF)-oh, petty and pernicious Fate!-that was his most dejected and listless film to date, the twilit, allegorical, fantastic realist, DANIEL evoking and darkly satirical animaction film sympathetically referred to in Vancouver as EASY CYCLIST, and often known to the rest of the world as THE FISHER KING (1991).
‘I like a cycling tour of China in June-
how about you?’
Curiously, the sight of the white winged Pegasus of the Tri-Stars Picture intro running toward the camera fittingly evoked the sight of Baron Munchausen astride the equally white horse Bucephalus before both disappeared into the eternity of myth at the end of THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN. It was an ironic allusion to the daylit and irrepressibly upbeat last Gilliam film, for THE FISHER KING was relentlessly dark and depressed. The dark and downward spiral began soon after the film opened, with popular and implicitly Lucas linked New York shock jock, ‘Wolfman’ Jack Lucas-played by Jeff Bridges-found working in a radio station photographed in such a way as to make it appear like a jail cell, complete with the blinds of the sound room creating cell bar-like shadows across the walls.
Thus, it was not surprising that soon after this imprisoned beginning, DJ Lucas abandoned his radio show and wound up on the skids after being traumatized by the revelation that the last caller of his final radio show, one Edwin Melnik-played by Christian Clemenson-was inspired by his anti-yuppy rant to shoot up a popular yuppy restaurant called Babbit’s. The sight reminded us that the life of Lucas had also gone into a tailspin after the TZ disaster, implying that the film long struggle of Lucas to get his life back together after the Babbit’s disaster equated with the struggle of Lucas to get his life back together after being tarred by the youthful public with the same twilit brush after working as executive producer of the Kennedy and Marshall produced and allegorical Spielberg film, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984), after the TZ disaster.
Curiously, the healing of Lucas was aided by the arrival of the equally troubled and implicitly Spielberg linked ex-scholar of myths and legends, Doctor Henry Sagan aka bold and true Grail Knight, brave Sir Parry-played by Williams-who had fallen by the wayside after his wife-played by Lisa Blades-was killed in the Babbit’s shooting rampage. Significantly, the name of Dr. Henry Sagan affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Lucas, Spielberg and INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, for it evoked that of Doctor Henry ‘Indiana’ Jones jr., archaeologist/adventurer hero of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, and of the Lucas executive produced, Kennedy and Marshall produced and allegorical Spielberg films, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), and INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989). The latter film in particular was implicitly being replied to in THE FISHER KING, for the madcap quest for a surrogate Holy Grail that Lucas and Sagan soon embarked on to heal their troubled souls evoked the quest for the implicitly Oscar linked Holy Grail that Jones made in INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.
Thus, the fact that Lucas succeeded in his madcap quest to find the surrogate Holy Grail and healed Sagan and himself-freeing Sagan from the fiery and violent grip of Chris Howell’s Red Knight, the film’s blockbuster beast, in the process-returning harmony and love to both of their lives-in the respective forms of Jack’s sweetie, Anne, played by Mercedes Ruehl, and Henry’s sweetie, Lydia, played by Amanda Plummer, who also played Susan Issacson in DANIEL-in the end, implied the hope of Gilliam that Lucas and Spielberg would get back on track and succeed again in the Nineties. A wistfully frantic desire to usher in a new, harmonious and exuberantly cycling film era that was not overwhelmed by a plague of CGI enhanced film art that returned with Simon Jones-who played a bloodless bureaucrat in BRAZIL-and THE FISHER KING director of photography Roger Pratt in Gilliam’s next dreaded SMF-cursed Fate!-the twilit, allegorical, fantastic realist, bleakly satirical and animaction film known in Streetsville as THE WIZARD OF BICYCLES, and everywhere else including Chicago as 12 MONKEYS (1995).
‘I had a dream like…about this,
one where I was riding an astro-bicycle
across the solar system.’
Significantly, the film long, madcap and failed quest of desperate and distraught time traveler, James Cole-played by Bruce Willis-to repeatedly travel from a bleak future where the remnants of humanity lived underground back in time to the Nineties so as to prevent the outbreak of a worldwide plague that killed most of the people of Earth in 1997-a neo-Medieval plague that reminded us that Gilliam was still in the midst of his own Dark SMF Age-evoked the film long, madcap and failed quest of the equally desperate and distraught time traveler, Kyle Reese-played by Michael Biehn-to travel from another bleak future where the embattled remnants of humanity also lived underground to escape deadly and ahuman machines back to 1984 so as to prevent the assassination of Sarah Connor-played by Linda Hamilton-the woman fated to give birth to a son who would lead the remnants of humanity to a victory over the future blockbuster machine devastated world in the twilit, allegorical and Zonebusting James Cameron film, THE TERMINATOR (1984). Thus, the implication was that Gilliam was roasting Cameron and his furious cinematic battle against the heartless and CGI enhanced blockbuster beast and predicting that Cameron would also fail to stop an epidemic of beastly and CGI enhanced blockbuster films from plaguing the Temple Theatre in 12 MONKEYS.
Indeed, Cole’s citizen number 87645 affirmed his implicit link to Cameron, reminding us that ‘84 and ’86 were big years for Cameron with the release of THE TERMINATOR and the twilit and allegorical Zonebuster, ALIENS (1986). The presence of Madeleine Stowe as the implicitly Kathryn Bigelow linked psychiatrist, Doctor Kathryn Railly-who attended to Cole when his ‘ravings’ about the plague devastated future led him to be institutionalized in madhouse scenes that evoked the sympathetic look at mental and spiritual illness in THE FISHER KING-affirmed the implicit Cameron roasting intent of the film. For Dr. Railly reminded us that Bigelow had at that time been recently married to Cameron, a marriage that apparently broke up when Cameron struck up a relationship with Hamilton on the set of the allegorical and implicitly Lynch roasting film, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991).
However, while the arrival of CGI and its potential to facilitate the creation of a plague of bigger blockbuster beasts than ever before might have initially seemed nightmarish to Gilliam, CGI helped him perfect his animaction style. Indeed, CGI finally appeared when Gilliam returned with Helmond, Michael Jeter-who had played Eddie, the despondent and homeless cabaret singer in THE FISHER KING-and Christopher Meloni-who had played Lieutenant Halperin in 12 MONKEYS-and another dreaded SMF-noooooo!-in fact, his wildest ever film to date, the twilit, allegorical, fantastic realist and gloomily satirical animaction film, cheerily known in London as GONE WITH THE CYCLIST, and usually referred to everywhere else as FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (1998)-inspired by the allegorical book, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1971) by Hunter S. Thompson-which joined THE FISHER KING and 12 MONKEYS to complete for Gilliam an American Nightmare Trilogy.
‘He who makes a beast of himself on a bicycle
gets rid of the pain of being a man.’
However, while CGI featured more prominently in FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS than in 12 MONKEYS, it was predictably treated with fear and loathing throughout the film. Not surprisingly, as CGI was used to enhance creepy psychedelic scenes that saw the faces of tourists and employees of the casino-hotels of the real life Emerald City of Las Vegas with its Neon Of Many Colours warping into nightmarish masks or the same denizens transformed into lizard people when the film’s lead, Thompson aka Raoul Duke-played by Johnny Depp-was drunk and/or stoned out of his gourd and plagued by nightmarish visions that made those of brave Sir Parry in THE FISHER KING and Jeffrey Goines-played by Brad Pitt-in 12 MONKEYS look mild in comparison. When the film wasn’t seething with CGI enhanced dementia and Ministry of Booze and Drug Addled Silly Walks, it was a sad eyed and wistful meditation by Duke on the end of the Soulfull Sixties and of the higher minded New Hollywood era of film art and the beginning of the soulless, lower minded and CGI enhanced blockbuster loot lusting film era after the TZ disaster in 1982, with Las Vegas and its money lusting casinotels implicitly linked to Hollywood and its money lusting studios, particularly the Bazooko Circus Casino, home to the film art linked Flying Fellini trapeze team.
Indeed, the film’s allusions to such allegorical Coppola films as YOU’RE A BIG BOY NOW (1966), APOCALYPSE NOW (1979) and ONE FROM THE HEART (1982) implicitly affirmed that the film was wistfully meditating on the Skyrocking New Hollywood years before the TZ disaster and the failure of Coppola to sweep away blockbuster loot lusting Old Hollywood with his film art, while the fact that the second Las Vegas casinotel room that was trashed by Duke and his equally booze and drug addled and implicitly Coppola linked companion, Doctor Gonzo-played by Benecio Del Toro-was numbered 2073 implicitly affirmed that the film was also meditating wistfully on all that had gone wrong for New Hollywood since July 23, 1982. In fact, given the resemblance of Dr. Gonzo to Coppola, and the film’s allusions to pre-TZ disaster Coppola films, the implication was that Raoul Duke was linked to Robert Duvall, who played Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore in APOCALYPSE NOW. And how fitting that one of the last shots in the film that saw Duke typing away in his second trashed casinotel room was photographed in a way to give the impression that the room was a jail cell. This evoked the similar radio station as jail cell beginning of THE FISHER KING and the various cells Cole was imprisoned in in 12 MONKEYS, linking FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS to those two films to truly bring the American Nightmare Trilogy full nightmarish circle.
Curiously, Jonathan Frakes returned to the Temple Theatre that year to implicitly roast Gilliam and the implicitly anti-CGI outlook of 12 MONKEYS in the symbolic form of F. Murray Abraham’s Ru’afo in his allegorical, BRAZIL evoking and CGI supporting allegorical film, STAR TREK INSURRECTION (1998). Richard Kelly also implicitly linked Terence ‘Terry’ Gilliam to troubled and time travelling teen, Donald ‘Donnie’ Darko-played by Jake Gyllenhaal-and possibly allowed Gilliam to finally succeed on his Grail Quest in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced film, DONNIE DARKO (2001). Then it was time to pedal eagerly off to Gilliam’s next allegorical project, THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE, which broke its chain for various reasons on a steep incline in Espana detailed in the allegorical Keith Fulton and Luis Pepe film, LOST IN LA MANCHA (2002).
A frustrating circumstance, indeed, and one perfect for a deft dab of a damp sponge on the sweaty forehead of Mr. Edward ‘Gigi’ Edwards-Edwards, internationally renowned bicycle repair man, by his earnest and keen young apprentice, A. Gumby, at a critical moment of the repair of a restored ’64 Beijing Zephyr in front of a mid-week morning crowd of appreciative tourists at the Chinese Bicycle Museum in Ipswich, before we return to a despondent and dyspeptic Gilliam, wailing in despair and pulling out his hair over the collapse of his last madcap blockbuster beast slaying animaction film, before gently but firmly releasing the tumultuous past with a resigned sigh and channeling his frenetic frustration into another twilit, allegorical, idiosyncratic, creative, fantastic realist, gleefully satirical, cycledelic and CGI enhanced animaction film, spelt BICYCLETTES D’AMOUR en Paris and in the rest of the world as THE TIMELY AND FISHY ADVENTURES OF SAMMY THE JABBERING MONKEY AND HIS FEARSOME SINO-BRAZILIAN BICYCLE (2003.58).
‘Here’s to humans in stinking cages-
Of course, the allusive title of the film, which openly but subtly referred to all of the madcap and quixotic animaction film art of Gilliam, immediately implied that, as in FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, he was again moodily meditating on his derailed film career and how he had been forced to accept dreaded SMFs-agggghhhhh!-after the failure of THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN. Thus, the sight of Sammy the jabbering monkey-played by Oodle the poodle-jubilantly pedaling his Sino-Brazilian astro-bicycle across the solar system and being waylaid by the Red Herring Hood-played by Julee M. Garland-the mysterious and enigmatic leader of a hot blooded crew of dimunitive and time travelling space pirates in the cold and lawless asteroid belt between Mars and Ipswich, symbolized---
We profusely apologize for the foregoing nonsense, caused by a lingering head injury suffered by Sir Handlebar-Muffton while biking up the Great Pyramid of Giza without an approved helmet. Dr. Gunda Fahrradgottin of the University of Wittenberg will now complete the essay.
Danke, Herr Apricot-Lambert. Intriguingly, this unusually frustrating period in Herr Gilliam’s life is perhaps best summed up not by words but by ‘Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Bicycle Bell’, my Concerto for Bicycle Bells in D Major. First, we start with eerie and twilit silence, the eerie and shocked silence that initially reigned on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE after the fatal helicopter crash. Then, the sad and mournful keen of a bicycle bell softly and plaintively rents the…
Yes, yes, thank you very much, Frau Gottinfarhrrad. Our profound apologies for the foregoing silliness. We will now play ‘Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Bicycle Bell’ in the more appropriate C Minor.
Stop it! This has become much too silly! Time for some discipline in the ranks. Stand at attention, you slackers! Eyes front! And get that smirk off your face, reader! Do you think this is a game? Right! That’s better. It’s clearly time to get you scousers back on the right path, and who better to do that than Mr. Wright. Get on with it, Gardevil!
At once, Colonel! !Ready aye ready! Of course, what we really needed to know was that, after failing to film the thought provoking allegorical film, THE MAN WHO KILLED THROATWARBLER MANGROVE, Don Gilliam de la Bicicleta Roja teamed up again with Pryce and attempted to escape from dreaded SMF limbo forever-by the Gods!-in his next twilit, allegorical, fantastic realist, gleefully satirical, Ozian themed and CGI enhanced animaction film, often referred to in New York as BICYCLE REPAIR MAN: THE MOVIE, and in most other parts in the solar system as THE BROTHERS GRIMM (2005).
‘Good people of Marbadan,
your daughters will be returned,
and you shall regain your courage-
and your bicycles!’
Significantly, the frantic and frenetic film revolved around the quixotic and madcap quest of the implicitly Lucas and Tin Man linked Willhelm and implicitly Great Oz and Spielberg linked Jakob Grimm-played, respectively, by Matt Damon and Heath Ledger [a natural for the role, given his appearance as the perhaps Gilliam Terrence linked William Thatcher in the allegorical and JABBERWOCKY evoking Brian Helgeland film, A KNIGHT’S TALE (2001)]-to free the small but fortified and Hollywood evoking citadel of Marbaden, Germany and its surrounding and creepy woods and the fittingly fearless and implicitly Glinda and Kathryn Bigelow linked trapper, Angelika Krauss-played by Lena Headey-from the insidious and vampiric grip of the latest blockbuster beast to appear in a Gilliam film, the CGI enhanced and implicitly Wicked Witch of the West linked Queen of Mirrors and illusions-who also resembled and was implicitly linked to Deborah Nadoolman, the wife of Landis, and played by Monica Belluci-and her favourite and implicitly Landis and Nikko the Monkey King linked servant, the Woodsman-whose ability to transform into a werewolf made him a beastly and nasty fellow, indeed, and one with big, sharp, slavering teeth, affirming his link to Landis via the allegorical and implicitly Kubrick addressing Landis film, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981), and played by Tomas Hanak, who, apparently, had no relation to Thomas ‘Tom’ Hanks.
The fact that the Grimm brothers succeeded in their madcap and symbolic quest to free the city of Los Angelika and Hollywood from wicked CGI film art by killing the wicked Queen and the woodsman, in the end, and returned in triumph to the CGI free, everyday reality of the village of Marbaden-evoking the sight of Dennis the Cooper returning in triumph to the fortified and Hollywood evoking citadel after he killed the Jabberwocky at the end of JABBERWOCKY-implied a hope on the part of Gilliam that Lucas and Spielberg would work together to free audiences, film art, film artists and the Temple Theatre from Landis and the TZ disaster and kick off a brave new daylit era of entirely CGI free or sparingly CGI enhanced film art. A triumphant hope that disappeared when Gilliam returned with Bridges with his next twilit, allegorical, fantastic realist and gleefully satirical animaction film, not known in Tokyo as SEVEN CYCLISTS, and not referred to anywhere else as anything but TIDELAND (2005), based on the surprisingly titled and allegorical Mitch Cullin novel, Tideland (2000).
‘It’s the monster shark!
!It’s coming for our bicycles!’
Significantly, the film began with music and the voice of Jodelle Ferlan’s Jeliza Rose reading from the allegorical Carroll novel, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (1865), heard over a black screen, evoking the idiosyncratic Spielberg way of starting a film that Gilliam had already imitated at the beginning of THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN. Thus, before the black screen disappeared and the film even began, the implication was that Gilliam was roasting Spielberg again as in JABBERWOCKY, THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN and THE FISHER KING. Curiouserly, however, after that Spielbergian beginning, and after mysteriously playing with Rose in a gorgeously daylit and lush sea of Saskatchewan barley or wheat and in an abandoned school bus, we then travelled back in time and implicitly found ourselves in Lucas territory, rocking out a club and then tripping out at home with the implicitly Lucas linked and heroin addicted Boomer rock star, Noah-played by Bridges-his drug use evoking that of Duke Raoul and Dr. Gonzo in FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. Soon, his equally addicted and haggish Gen X wife, Queen Gunhilda-played by Jennifer Tilly-was dying like all Wicked Witches of the East in the Ozian film art of Lucas of a reaction to methadone, causing Noah to flee the dead Witch and take their foetal drug syndrome daughter, Rose to the isolated and rural family home in that daylit and lush sea of Saskatchewan grain that he fled as a rebel Boomer youth, where he then faded wistfully, and despondently, away in one last heroin rush.
This tragicomic prologue reminded us that Lucas had tried to reignite his career, film art and life with his STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy (1999-2005) and had not succeeded, causing his dreams to die as surely as Queen Gunhilda and sending him also fleeing bitterly back to his isolated and rural Skywalker Ranch like Noah, where he too faded wistfully and despondently away, haunted by the generations of youth he had addicted to spectacular and computer aided visual effects, finally giving up the Force ghost and selling the moisture farm to Disney in 2012. Thus, the similarities between the lives of Noah and Lucas affirmed the implication that Noah symbolized Lucas. This implicit intent was reaffirmed by the return of Bridges as Noah, evoking his link to the implicitly Lucas linked ‘Wolfman’ Jack Lucas in THE FISHER KING. A reappearance by Bridges that also affirmed just how far Lucas had fallen, given that Lucas and Spielberg were implicitly wished success and happiness again with their film art at the end of THE FISHER KING.
Curiouserly and curiouserly, after the overdose of Noah, we finally found ourselves in the Spielberg roasting territory implied by the black screen that began TIDELAND. For Rose left the beat up old house and explored that cheerily daylit and lush sea of Saskatchewan grain, bringing us back to the mysterious few moments of the film, and eventually meeting and befriending as best she could the implicitly Spielberg and Wicked Witch of the West linked Dell-played by Janet McTeer-and the Cole and Nikko evoking, implicitly Cameron linked and epileptic childman, Dickens-played by Brendan Fletcher. Tragicomically, Dickens quickly affirmed his implicit link to Cameron by confiding to Rose that he was on a desperate and obsessive quest in his imaginary submarine-bicycles no doubt being a bit awkward to ride through a daylit and lush sea of Saskatchewan grain-to hunt down and kill a blockbuster beast of a shark-or was that simply one of the many passing trains?-that infested the lush sea of Saskatchewan grain, an obsessive submarining quest that evoked Cameron’s love of submarines, undersea exploration and equally obsessive and quixotic assaults on the blockbuster beast in his twilit, righteously furious and always allegorical Zonebusting films-particularly in his allegorical film, ALIENS (1986). Of course, this imaginary and blockbuster shark with big rows of tearing teeth openly evoked the great white shark of JAWS, openly affirming that the release of JAWS had caused Gilliam to begin his animaction film art career with JABBERWOCKY, bringing his life and allegorical film art full circle.
Even more curiouserly, TIDELAND was the only madcap and blockbuster beast battling Gilliam film to date that did not end in a catastrophic but healing and harmonizing triumph over the beast, a disastrous but healing triumph that J.R.R. Tolkien called an ‘eucatastrophe’. Instead, the film ended with Rose wandering through the fiery and smoking night amongst the dead and wounded passengers of a train derailment, a blockbuster derailment perhaps caused by the deranged Dickens in his obsessive quest to use stolen dynamite to terminate the blockbuster beast that bedeviled him. It was an unusually pensive and despondent climatic victory over the beast that implied not only that Gilliam believed that Cameron would never succeed in his madcap Zonebusting quest, but that perhaps it was best not to bother, that perhaps the beast was necessary, after all. If the result of the beast was highly realistic CGI, which was used to good supportive effect in the film to enhance the spectacular and full colour fantasies of Rose.
Indeed, TIDELAND featured the most CGI in any Gilliam film, implying that he had changed his mind about its use and was now convinced that it could be successfully used to enhance higher minded and humourous film art as easily as it could be used to disgrace lower minded and beastly blockbuster film art. Not that it impressed Sean Penn, for he implicitly roasted Gilliam and TIDELAND in his allegorical film, INTO THE WILD (2007). However, despite this roasting, a more relaxed and confident embrace of CGI continued when Gilliam returned with Depp, Ledger, Christopher Plummer-who had played Leland Goines in 12 MONKEYS-Verne Troyer-who had played a mysterious little person in FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS-and Tom Waits-who had played a Vietnam vet named E. Apricot reduced to begging in Union Station in THE FISHER KING-in his next twilit, allegorical, fantastic realist, gleefully satirical and CGI enhanced animaction film, KING SOLOMON’S BICYCLES, better known outside of Sydney as THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARN-ASSUS (2009).
‘You can’t stop stories being told-
on or off bicycles.’
Curiously, it was not clear whether Gilliam addressed Lucas or himself in the film. For the sight of Plummer’s sixty-something Doctor Parn-assus chasing down a youthful lover and then losing her when she gave birth to Valentina-played by Lily Cole-reminded us that Lucas had tried to recapture the success and vitality of his youth with the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy and failed to connect with audiences. Thus, the wager Dr. Parn-assus made with the film’s blockbuster beast, the gleefully insidious Devil-who evoked Evil in TIME BANDITS, and was played by Waits-to exchange his immortality for a peaceful and anonymous old age if he saved five souls from damnation before the Devil dragged them off to Hell implicitly symbolized the hope of Gilliam that Lucas would free himself now from the STAR WARS curse and enjoy a peaceful retirement.
Contrariwise, Gilliam also implied that he might really be grousing that he had failed himself and his own principles by agreeing to create the five dreaded SMFs after the popular and financial failure of THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN. If so, the wager to break free from diabolical immortality by liberating five souls before the Devil corrupted them symbolized Gilliam’s hope that he could free himself from the angry and embittered guilt he felt for making the five dreaded SMFs between THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN and THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARN-ASSUS. This implication was underlined by the fact that THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARN-ASSUS was finally based on an original script that Gilliam co-wrote with McKeown, his collaborator on THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN and BRAZIL. The presence of Plummer’s Munchausen-like Doctor Parnassus, whose mobile theatre and film long lament for the loss of imagination on Earth evoked the embattled Temple Theatre of, and Munchausen’s own lament for the loss of the imagination in, THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN, reaffirmed the implication that Gilliam was lamenting his Lost Years in THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARN-ASSUS. The return of Depp, Ledger and Waits also reaffirmed this implication, as they appeared in three of the five dreaded SMFs.
Thus, it was important that Parnassus beat the Devil and Ledger’s implicitly Spielberg linked Anthony ‘Tony’ Shepherd with the fantastic world of the individual imagination hidden behind his film theatre screen evoking magic theatre mirror-a gleefully madcap, imaginative and colourful CGI enhanced world that often turned the film into a CGI version of the cut-out animation sequences Gilliam created for MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS-won the wager and saved sweet Valentina, the embodiment of pure and higher minded film art and returned to everyday, unenhanced reality bumming alone and without a bicycle on Robson Street outside the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. For the ending implicitly summed up Gilliam’s hope that he had not entirely sold his soul, self respect and credibility to the Devil or to the studios in return for being allowed to make their dreaded SMFs rather than his own more idiosyncratic and thoughtful animaction film art.
Curiously, Francis Coppola implicitly linked Gilliam to struggling American horror writer, Hall Baltimore-played by Kilmer-in his twilit and allegorical film, TWIXT (2011)-inspired by the allegorical Edgar A. Poe stories, ‘The Cask Of Amontillado’ (1846) and ‘The Devil In The Belfry’ (1839)-an implicit intent affirmed by the film’s allusions to THE BROTHERS GRIMM. Intriguingly, Coppola also implied that Baltimore’s quest to track down a serial killer in the sleepy town of Swann Valley with the implicitly Disney linked ghost of the literary art for literary art’s sake Poe-played by Ben Chaplin-equated with striking back at Disney’s recent purchase of Marvel Comics/Studios and its decision to unleash an avalanche of allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical films on the Temple Theatre. For the murderer turned out to be the exuberantly demented, shamelessly self-promoting, loot lusting and implicitly Stan ‘the Man’ Lee linked Sheriff Bobby LaGrange-played by Bruce Dern-who was implicitly goaded to kill by the ghost of the implicitly Spielberg linked Pastor Allan Floyd-played by Alden Ehrenreich. As for Gilliam, with his madcap give the cat a Jabberwack spirits raised by the creation and success of THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARN-ASSUS, an indomitable commitment to his own idiosyncratic and imaginative film art returned with Damon in his next twilit, allegorical, fantastic realist, gleefully satirical and CGI enhanced animaction film, known every second Tuesday in Beijing as PLANET OF THE CYCLISTS, and everywhere else except Ottawa as THE ZERO THEOREM (2013).
‘My name is Leth,
and I ride a Kona!’
Significantly, the madcap, solitary, tragicomic and mostly pointless quest of the eccentric and obsessive ManCom employee, Leth-as bald as Cole in 12 MONKEYS, and played by Christoph Waltz-to find the answer to the all important Zero Theorem was implicitly linked throughout THE ZERO THEOREM to the equally madcap, tragicomic, solitary and obsessive quest of Wright-the last but not least blockbuster beast in a Gilliam animaction film-to decipher all of the allegorical fiction and film art of the dread Zone Wars so as to finally understand and reveal the truth about the TZ disaster. Indeed, the fact that the Zero Theorem was referred to as the TZ reversing ‘ZT’ throughout the film implicitly affirmed the Gardevil intent of the film, reminding us that the fatal helicopter crash on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE was always referred to as the TZ disaster throughout the writings of Wright. The fact that the left evoking surname of Leth mockingly and contrarily evoked the surname of Wright, and that the sight of the bald Leth spending long hours in front of his computer in his lonely building frantically trying to solve the ZT evoked the sight of the equally bald Wrigth spending long hours at his computer in his lonely apartment frantically trying to solve the TZ implicitly reaffirmed the allegorical intent of the inimitable and irrepressible Gilliam. The return of Damon as the implicitly David Cronenberg evoking Management, and the appearance of Melanie Thierry as the Polley evoking Bainsley reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Toronto film art, film artists and film art ‘scholars’.
Curiously, THE ZERO THEOREM and the rest of the allegorical animaction film art of Gilliam appeared to strike a chord with Angelina Jolie, as she implicitly toasted ‘Superscamp’ Gilliam in the form of the indomitable Louis ‘Louie’ Zamperini-played by Jack O’Connell-and roasted Penn and INTO THE WILD in her allegorical film, UNBROKEN (2014). Disney and Marvel Comics/Studios implicitly agreed, implicitly linking Gilliam to the initially traitorous and Evil but eventually Good James ‘Bucky/Winter Soldier’ Barnes-created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for the predecessor of Marvel Comics, and played by Sebastian Stan-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Anthony and Joe Russo super satirical films, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014), CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016) and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018).
Super satirical films that probably did not inspire Gilliam to collaborate again with Pryce on the implicitly Alex ‘El Pelicullero’ Cox addressing, twilit, allegorical fantastic realist, gleefully satirical and CGI enhanced animaction film, THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE (2019). Indeed, the sight and sound of haunted allegorical film artist, Toby-played by Adam Driver-meeting up and reconciling with Joana Ribeiro’s Angelica, a young woman who was ‘broken’ a decade earlier by the making of the allegorical Toby film, THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE (2008), and had turned to prostitution, reminded us that Jaclyn Jonet abandoned film art for the ‘life’ of a cynical, embittered and real life porn ‘star’ with the equally alliterative name of Mariah Milano after the failure of the twilit, CGI enhanced and allegorical El Pelicullero film, REPO CHICK (2009), in which Jonet had played irrepressible female lead Pixxi, implicitly affirming that Gilliam was addressing El Pelicullero and Jonet in the tenth anniversary year of the making of REPO CHICK. A film that might be the fittingly final word on the unswerving commitment to imaginative indie film art for imaginative indie film art’s sake, making it fitting to ask the person in the street what they thought of brave Sir Gilliam’s lifelong cinematic quest to slay the slathering and insatiable blockbuster beast with big sharp teeth.
‘I think Terry Jones has done a wonderful job protecting us from the blockbuster beast! Simply smashing!’ said a kindly old woman and helpful volunteer at the Chinese Bicycle Museum in Ipswich.
‘The blockbuster beast with big slathering teeth must be outlawed at once!’ thundered a burly and bearded cyclist in a purple tutu. ‘At once!’
‘Terry Gilliam? Did he ride for Virgin in last year’s Tour?’ wondered aloud a young female police officer with a handlebar moustache.
‘I love BICYCLE REPAIR MAN: THE MOVIE!’ enthused A. Gumby.
‘Well, I didn’t take the slathering blockbuster beast seriously until one bit my Aunt Percy on the left buttock’, said a man in a McQueen dress, Doc Marten flats and dark sunglasses.
‘Rubbish! There is no such thing as a blockbuster-wwaaarrrrrggggggkkkkkk!’
Thus, and in the end, here at the conclusion of the essay, with no more left to write, finality staring us poignantly in the face, termination about to arrive, the end near and with that wistful feeling that comes at the conclusion of most anything, when we wonder about all of the might have beens and could have beens and should have beens before pedalling off quietly into the gathering darkness on a ’64 Beijing Zephyr, Gilliam implicitly affirmed that the determined and quixotic quest to kill the towering, ravenous and bug-eyed blockbuster beast with big sharp slathering teeth-particularly the really dastardly ones armed with a grape or a sprig of parsley-would forever be-waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggghhhkkle!
We do profusely apologize for the frustrating and disappointing inability of Mr. Wright to finish his ‘insightful’ essay into the allegorical, undaunted and implicitly blockbuster beast thrashing animaction film art of Sir T. V. ‘Terry Baby’ Gilliam. Unfortunately, however, a towering and ravenous Peruvian spotted llama with big sharp slathering teeth sprang out of nowhere and attacked Mr. Wright when he unwisely stepped out for a bit of air to clear the cobwebs rather than cycle down th--wwwaaaaaarrrrggggghhhhhkkukukuk!
Good evening. My name is Sir Edith Peacock, and I am the Secretary-Treasurer and LGBTQ liaison of the Chinese Bicycle Museum in Ipswich. On behalf of all of the members of the General Council of the museum, I would like to express my sincere and deepest apologies for the foregoing and completely uncalled for silliness. We all know that there are no such things as towering llamas with big sharp slathering teeth who hide behind shrubberies waiting patiently to attack unsuspecting pedestrians-particularly not llamas of the Peruvian spotted variety, a sound and sensible animal not likely to be led astray by confusions of blockbuster grandeur. In fact---wwwwwagggggghhhhhkkkkleeee!
Right! That’s enough from you scousing wankers! There will be no more silliness on my watch! Suffice to say that the perennially brilliant, original, creative, madcap, irreverent, and satirical allegorical animaction film art was indeed a squired taste, and, unlike you spineless and long haired lot, who were desperately in need of a haircut and a little discipline, was always so ready and eager for a good manly scrap with the slathering and big toothed blockbuster beast that the oeuvre of brave Sir Terry was best described as completely and exuberantly Jabberwacky.
- Haw! Fooled ya!
Gilliam, Terry. Gilliamesque: my me, me, me, me memoir.
Edinburgh: Canongate, 2015.
Gilliam, Terry and Michael Palin. Time Bandits: the movie
script. New York: Dolphin Books, 1981.
Sterritt, David and Lucille Rhodes. Terry Gilliam: interviews.
Jackson, MI: University Press of Mississippi, 2004.