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From the Vault: “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen”

Sure, you’ve traveled through the unpredictable, magic-struck halls of Hogwarts and pranced atop the bioluminescent foliage of Pandora’s forest, but did you miss the most otherworldly adventure of them all? Terry Gilliam’s 1988 film “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” promises to pluck you right from your Ikea desk chair, force you into a balloon expedition and shoot you straight to the moon.

From the man who brought you “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” the film opens in a war-disheveled, late 18th century European city during the “age of reason.”

The unnamed city faces imminent danger from the Turks, when an elderly man claiming to be Baron Munchausen (John Neville), a legend, scoops up the young daughter of a theater company’s leader and embarks on a whimsical journey through the air in a hot balloon made of women’s underwear.

Oh, and the lovely and youthful Uma Thurman makes an appearance, as well.

In fear of ruining the rest of the eccentric plot should I elaborate too much more, I will cease, but needless to say the adventures only begin with what I have already unfolded.

Although most of the film seems nonsensical, humorous and fantastical, it ultimately emerges as a feel-good flick that manages to get the left side of your brain cranking with its smörgåsbord of overkill-creativity and practical effects — one of Gilliam’s idiosyncrasies, as opposed to using any computer-generated imagery.

Baron’s character originates from “The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen,” a 1785 collection of tall stories by Rudolf Erich Raspe. Several films were written thereafter about the Baron’s adventures, but none were executed at the magnitude of Gilliam’s swollen vision.

Gilliam’s masterpiece closely follows the 1943 version visually, and Gilliam’s production company made sure to add a disclaimer clarifying that the two films were, in fact, unconnected.

Perhaps most talked about in the film world for going entirely over budget, it was allotted $35 million but rang in at about $46.63 million. According to the DVD’s behind the scenes, the film made a mere $8 million in box office revenues.

Despite the swollen budget controversies, “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” scored three British Academy Film and Television Awards and was nominated for four Oscars in 1990.

Until the day that your rewarding college education graces you with the means to purchase a moon-soaring, panty-composed hot air balloon, go ahead and pop in Gilliam’s magnum opus (likely to have been made during your conception), and subject yourself to some classic zany. Happy viewing.

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