THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS Movie Review
Terry Gilliam’s new movie, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus went through quite a lot in order to get to the screens. The tragic loss of Heath Ledger during the production left everyone wondering if we would ever get to see it. But thanks to Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell stepping in and each taking on parts of Heath Ledger’s character in the film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has finally been released to limited theaters this Friday December 25, 2009.
When I sat down to watch The Imaginarium fo Doctor Parnassus, I wasn’t too sure what I should be expecting. I had seen the trailer and some clips, which all look pretty great but I still wasn’t clear as to what the story was. And while I enjoyed the movie, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus follows immortal Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) and his traveling theater troupe, which includes his sidekick Percy (Verne Troyer), a young player Anton (Andrew Garfield) and his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole). Dr. Parnassus has control over a magical mirror which transports you into a world guided by your imagination. However, Dr. Paranssus power and immortality were granted because of bets he has been making with the devil, Mr. Nick (Tom Waits) over centuries. Now, Mr. Nick has come to collect his prize, Valentina, on her upcoming 16th birthday.
In comes Tony (Heath Ledger) who joins the troupe and tries to help Dr. Parnassus win one final wager in order to win Valentina back.
I thought the story was pretty original and interesting, but there were some moments that were a little long. It was also hard sometimes to root for Dr. Parnassus because he seemed a little useless and it felt like he didn’t fight as hard as he could to save his daughter. I also wish the story had been explained a little better, however, I rather enjoyed the ending and how it all came together.
What really made the story come alive was the performances. Heath Ledger is really great and charming as Tony, I think he captured the essence of the character perfectly. And I have to mention what a great job Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell at each taking on the role as well. I was afraid that having different actors playing the same character would be confusing, but they found a way to make it work with the story and it was actually pretty fun.
Christopher Plummer plays an interesting Dr. Parnassus, it’s hard to really understand him completely, but that’s what makes it so real. He is quite the complex character having lived such a long time and having the devil as a betting partner.
Mr. Nick aka the devil is really a fun character brought to life perfectly by Tom Waits. He captures the cunning, yet charming, personality that you could imagine the devil to have.
Verne Troyer plays a good sidekick, Percy to Dr. Parnassus. And I was impressed by Lily Cole as well. As for Andrew Garfield who plays Anton, I didn’t know of him, but he is very talented and something tells me we’ll be seeing a whole more of him.
Overall, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is an experience. Not everyone will like it, but if you enjoy fantasy movies and are a fan of Terry Gilliam you might want to give it a shot.
Title: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Director: Terry Gilliam
Cast: Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, Lily Cole
Synopsis: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus tells the story of Dr. Parnassus who made deal with the devil a while back, and now has to give him his daughter who is about to turn 16. Dr. Parnassus decides to make yet another deal in order to save his daughter. The first person that is able to seduce five souls will get her. Armed with his imaginarium, Dr. Parnassus and his “team” will try to get people to enter the world of dreams through the imaginarium.
Release Date: December 25, 2009 (Limited)
Watch the trailer here