The Czech master of animation Karel Zeman brings to life the amazing adventures of one of the greatest characters of literature, the inimitable Baron Munchhausen. However this is not a mere retelling of his adventures. Zeman's version is also a celebration of imagination, love, dashing heroics and the dreams.
An astronaut arrives on the moon and to his bewilderment he's met by Barbicane, Nicholl and Michel Ardan from Jules Verne's From The Earth to the Moon (it's good to know they arrived safely to the moon), and by Cyrano de Bergerac. They could easily have been accompanied by Astolfo, Lucian and other famous Moon travelers. It's clear this is meant to be taken symbolically: the moon has been the inspiration of countless poets, inventors and writers, it's our most cherished symbol of imagination. What better place to start such a fantastic story? On the moon is also Baron Munchhausen. He mistakes the astronaut for a 'moonling' and decides to take him to Earth to teach him Earthly customs. But they arrive on a mysterious, 19th-century-like world, which seems a mix of Gustave Dore and Piranesi. There they fight Turks, live inside gigantic whales, and defeat invading armies and. All the while the astronaut and a princess fall in love. The ending to this heroic love story is cheerful, bright and inspiring.
Amusing as the characters' antics may be, the great pull of this movie is really the amazing visuals. Zeman uses a fascinating cross of live action and animated sets with unique hues of colors that give the world a menacing and enigmatic feel. The use of shadows and silhouettes are amazing too, as are the puppets.
Unfortunately unknown by the masses, this movie also has the reputation of having inspired Terry Gilliam's own Baron Munchhausen. One can only hope more directors took inspiration from this movie. Modern cinema, with its monotonous colors and unimaginative stories, could only benefit.
Review by Eumenides_0 from the Internet Movie Database.