Baron Prasil (1961)

aka Baron Munchhausen
Article 2239 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-3-2007
Posting Date: 9-29-2007
Directed by Karel Zeman
Featuring Milos Kopecky, Rudolf Jelinek, Jana Brejchova

An astronaut arrives on the moon to discover that Baron Munchhausen is already there ahead of him. The Baron mistakes him for a moon man, and takes him to Earth to introduce him to his world. The astronaut meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman, but the Baron has his eyes on her as well.

If there is any director who I would like to have seen make use of modern CGI technology in crafting his movies, it would have been Karel Zeman. This is not to say that I find any fault at all with the special effects technology that Zeman did use; rather, because he was willing to incorporate any that came his way towards his own ends, I’m very curious as to how he would have used it and to what extent he he would have retained the other forms he already used. I think you’d have to go as far back as Melies himself to find another director who had so much giddy glee in his use of special effects, and this movie is breathtaking to behold; always creative, and decidedly non-realistic. It’s very interesting to have watched him so soon after having watched a Ralph Bakshi film; I’m willing to bet that Bakshi was influenced by Zeman, especially in his use of backgrounds. The story is a charmingly silly piece of chutzpah, in which giant fish, Turkish fleets and cannonball rides all come into play. Nobody made movies like Zeman, and I look forward to seeing more of his oeuvre for this series.



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