Movie Review:
The Adventures of baron munchausen (1989)

MOVIE REVIEW: the adventures of baron munchausen (1989

TITLE: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

RELEASE DATE: March 10, 1989




Set during the time of a city under siege in an 18th-century war, the film tells the fantastical tale of the legendary Baron Munchausen who claims to be the only hope for the town. The Baron sets out on a series of incredible adventures accompanied by his eccentric group of followers, all in order to save the city from destruction. The film blends history and fantasy, revealing an imaginative storytelling style as it explores the baron's fantastical world filled with heroic tales, unusual characters and miraculous feats.


The social commentary is there from the beginning as it instantly hits on imagination and storytelling as a way to resist the oppression and rationality of the world around us. The whimsical adventures of the Baron and his friends contrast with the bleak and grim realities of war and the city. Imagination is not only a source of joy and wonder but a means of survival and rebellion. Starting and ending the film with the theatrical production shows how the media creates false narratives and influences the perceptions of reality.

Another theme that is pervasive throughout the film is that of hubris and the violation of the natural order. The Baron is a character who defies the laws of logic, morality, and physics. His actions have caused suffering for himself and others, including starting the war, the curse of the Moon King, and more. In some ways, the movie implies there is a heavy price for challenging the limits of nature.

Speaking of the Moon King, what a great character (and yes, obviously Robin is the reason I watched this). But the social commentary of his head trying to explore noble pursuits while his body just tries to explore the Moon Queen is glorious. I absolutely loved everything this character has to say about life and humanity.

Vulcan’s planet is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. The community is depicted as a dark and oppressive one, where workers are enslaved and exploited. The excessive use of technology and machinery has poisoned everything with pollution and led to violence. The planet feels like a reference to the Roman Empire, with its worship of gods and respect for the natural order. Contrasting this to the modern European vision with their rejection of gods and their belief in the rationalization of the world gives us the argument that there needs to be a balance between the two extremes.

Additionally, Vulcan’s community is dominated by men who treat women as objects. Vulcan is an abusive, jealous husband who neglects his wife, the goddess of love and beauty. We definitely get echoes of how the suppression and subjugation of femininity and sexuality can result in resentment.


Being a fan of bizarro fiction, I loved the insanity of this film. I also liked how each mini story had a clear beginning and a clear ending without feeling like I was watching an anthology with fully formed clear lines between the stories. I enjoyed the characters, the story telling style, and the weirdness. 


At times it felt a little too chaotic, but overall, I can’t think of anything I truly disliked. With that said, I’m also not in a hurry to ever watch it again, so something must not have totally worked for me.


This will probably not come as a surprise, given that I watched this because I’m watching every Robin Williams film… but the Moon King. Every single second of his time on screen was my favorite. What a fascinating character, and I can’t imagine him being played as effectively by anyone else.


While this movie has (comparatively) very little Robin Williams, I’m so glad I watched it. It was not on my “someday” list at all, so I would’ve completely missed this without doing it for the Robin watching.