Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

"Nothings permanent, not even death"

Director Terry Gilliam invites you into the world of Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), a former monk who made a deal with the devil thousands of years ago. The two share a secret that comes along with the deal involving the doctor's fifteen year old daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) that states that when she is sixteen she will belong to the devil. The good doctor and his crew of two, including Percy (Verne Troyer) and Anton (Andrew Garfield) travel England with their show and invite people into the world of "The Imaginarium", which is inside the mind of the doctor and takes you to places you couldn't even imagine. Along their travels they find a man named Tony (Heath Ledger) hanging from a bridge, not knowing who he is or where he came from, he is taken in as one of their own and assists with the show. With Valentina's sixteenth birthday approaching the devil approaches the doctor with a kind of competition for souls. First one to get five souls wins. If the doctor wins he keeps his daughter, however if he loses she will be the devil's mistress.

Filled with dazzling effects you'll feel like a kid watching this. Although the material is at sometimes dark and this movie can be somewhat confusing, it is a modern marvel. With an all star cast including Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Tom Waits along with numerous others. This film is a tribute to the late Heath Ledger and was pushed back and rehashed due to his untimely death. For Terry Gilliam who is no stranger to bringing to the screen new and exciting worlds and has delivered such monumental films as "Time Bandits", "The Fisher King", "The Meaning of Life", and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", this is his masterpiece and a wonderful film. 4/5-tom


I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with Tom on this one. I so wanted to see this movie and I really wanted it to be good especially considering the circumstances surrounding it and star Heath Ledgers passing. Unfortunately, the hiring of Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell do not save this mess of a movie. It feels very unfinished and rightly so since its lead died halfway through filming but even the footage with Heath Ledger feels like rough takes; as if there were no time to do reshoots before he died. It all comes across like a bad improv show when he is on screen and that sucks because Heath Ledger is a wonderful actor. The plot is confusing and never makes any real sense and casual viewers will be lost before it is even half over. Perhaps this too is because of Heaths death and the fact that the movie had to be partially rewritten and restructured. Terry Gilliam is at home with this wacky material and it definitely is a sight to see but it just feels bland due to the muddied story. Not only that, but I felt the special effects occasionally looked cheap. It's not without its highpoints though and there are a few. Tom Waits is FANTASTIC as the devil in this movie as is Andrew Garfield as Anton. Watch out for Andrew Garfield because he is going to be a big star, especially in 2012 when he takes on the role of Peter Parker in the "Spider-Man" redo. Watch this only if you are a hardcore Terry Gilliam fan, everybody else will be just end up confused and mad they wasted a slot on their netflix que list. 2/5 -andy

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