The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Reviews

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July 8, 2017
Last movie from Heath Ledger R.I.P... The rest of the cast: Johnny,Jude & Colin were just for 10 minutes in that movie ???
March 25, 2017
this is a magnificent play. the only issue its that ledger died before he could finish it. nothing else.
½ February 11, 2017
One of the most odd and perhaps intriguing films I've ever seen. I'm really not sure if that is a good or bad thing.
½ November 8, 2016
Great premise that is poorly executed. It has gotten better as I've rewatched it but I still don't love it.
½ October 11, 2016
This movie is weird. Very very weird. Terry Gilliam is an insane person (duh?). I enjoyed it thoroughly. I also have no idea what anything was at any point. It's a mess, but a very good mess.
August 21, 2016
A fantasy movie for those looking to escape to another place! Heath Ledger's final movie is a must see!
Super Reviewer
August 19, 2016
Weird, but nevertheless imaginative and fascinating
June 22, 2016
Wtf did I just watch? There's obviously great visuals and some kind of story but I did not get it at all. Oh well.
½ June 12, 2016
Interesting theme, but ultimately a bit too bizarre for my taste.
June 5, 2016
Some people will think it was just okay, but this playful little masterwork really represents the best cinema has to offer in pretty much every respect.
½ June 3, 2016
Terry Gilliam from the outset has been a force of nature visually. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is disjointed, whimsical, dark, and spectacular. Disjointed, not in the negative, but as a purposeful part of the human imagination in a waking dream state that is just that. When the travelers walk through the mirror, they are alive in a dream state, encircled by their greatest dreams and nightmares. Dr. Parnassus embodying both, for as a munk with great understanding and purpose, then a scorned lover, he knows both worlds. The extensive cast is wonderful evoking that sense of wonderment and imagination, of all that one strives for in one's dreams attempting to make them real. But as is often the case in striving for one's dreams, deals are made and deals are lost, or one remains within oneself and takes what's offered without making deal, if you will, with the devil. A wonderful film with great visuals and acting by the entire cast. It may become a bit disorienting at times, but that is life and the dream state isn't it?
May 17, 2016
Optical stunning, but lousy story!
½ May 15, 2016
the shit affects drove me nuts... it looked awful
½ April 26, 2016
All the imagination and spectacle you would expect from a Gilliam film, and then some. A throwback to some of his earlier work. Great performances by all, perhaps overshadowed by the fact that it is the final performance of Heath Ledger and the altruistic performances by Depp, Law, and Farrell.
½ April 16, 2016
Visually exciting but narratively confusing, I've tried to get through this a couple of times now. Sometimes, director Terry Gilliam's obviously very fertile imagination just gets away from him.
March 26, 2016
A wild imagination indeed...although the story was at times way too bizarre, it is visually very interesting. Also, with the unfortunate passing of Heath Ledger, they managed to blend the void well by using this strange world and how people saw the "Tony" character by using Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, who essentially is a man of many faces and isn't who he seems.
March 20, 2016
Unapologetically indulgent, with a superb cast! It's very fortuitous how they were able to salvage Heath Ledger's last film appearance with imaginarium stand-ins by equally enigmatic contemporaries.
March 15, 2016
Im not a Gilliam fan and this hasnt swayed me. Its pretentious, muddled and down right dull.
½ February 28, 2016
THE IMAGINARIUM CAPTURES IMAGINATION


Enthralling loyal fans and baffling novices, Director Terry Gilliam's distinctive flair for good vs. evil existential fantasies is once again brought to the viewer. A visual feast of colour daring to beg the questions of the universe, Gilliam's unique and increasingly unhinged cinematic flights of fancy range from on-screen genius to the practically unwatchable.

Marred with issues, this wondrous, dark and opulent film was to be the troubled director's triumphant comeback. However, his imaginative brilliance is tempered by moments of incoherence and strange disillusionment.

Essentially hindering the project, Gilliam is faced with more than his fair share of directorial issues, but nothing compared to his greatest trial, the loss of leading man Heath Ledger. Lovingly accredited to "Heath Ledger and Friends", The Imaginarium suffered-not from his absence, blossoming under the tender care of his all--star friend stand-ins Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell.

Subsequently rewritten to seamlessly accommodate the characters physical transformations, the miraculously elaborate and surreal dream-logic works better than it has any right too. Adding whimsy to the story's mixed concepts of fantasy and reality, the shared character remains completely coherent although underdeveloped.

In the present day, 1000 year old monk-turned-showman Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) leads a travelling theatre troupe about the streets of London in a horse-drawn demountable stage contraption.

The rickety medieval pantomime style show consists of sleight -of-hand expert Anton (Andrew Garfield), dwarf Percy (Verne Troyer), Parnassus' almost of age daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) and of course Parnassus himself.

Parnassus, when in a meditative state, controls the central focus of the show, a magical mirror through which audience members enter a surreal world projected by their own innermost desires and personal mental landscapes.

In a centuries-spanning duel, it seems the good Doctor made a pact with the devil. In exchange for his immortality, he agreed his daughter (who had not even been thought of when the pact originated) should become the property of the devil on her 16th birthday. The day now approaching the devil; in the spiffy pencil-moustached form of Mr Nick (Tom Waits) has come to claim his prise.

A betting man in nature, the desperate doctor strikes a new wager; the first to win five new souls of those whom enter the enchanting portal's realm will keep Valentina. Already believed beaten, the Doctor resides to the fact that his daughter will soon be gone.

Enter Tony (Heath Ledger). Found hanging-by-his-neck from a bridge in the dead of night after a botched assassination attempt, the mysterious and amnesiac outsider has a gift.

Hopping aboard the ramshackle imaginarium, Tony offers ideas for improvement and instantly begins enticing and charming punters as a snake-tongued spruiker, leading them into the mirror and swaying their dreams.

However, as the supernatural mirror picks up the fantasies of all of its visitors and it quickly becomes apparent this shape-shifting trickster is not the innocent Mr. Nice Guy he seems and the Doctors battle might be lost before it's truly begun.

Gilliam remains a fascinating filmmaker, a storyteller with the ability to amaze. A spectacle, worth the price of admission alone, he melds together the streamlined modern London urban-scapes with the old-time production design of the Parnassus carriage and the CGI wonderlands beyond the mirror.

Johnny Depp, who portrays Tony in his first visit into the imaginarium, is simply wonderful. Tapping into his well versed repertoire of character acting, this is hands down the best scene of the film. Successfully seducing excited lady-shoppers in a Louis Vuitton paradise of oversized shoes and handbags, who could resist?

Depp's hypnotising and sexually alluring sequence pauses momentarily delving into a speech obviously added later as a tribute to Ledger. Dwelling on forever-young celebrities such as James Dean and Princess Diana, Depp convinces his lady friend that the public hold eternal reverence to the memories of those who pass early, like "gods".

Law's and Farrell's respective entrance into the imaginarium lacks the same eccentric flair and poignancy, giving the impression that it was time for things to wrap, even if anticlimactic.

The Verdict: Ledgers final performance will inevitably be scrutinised, discussed, picked over and dismissed as not his finest work. Sadly this is true. Not to be taken as his legacy, The Imaginarium does feel as though it was made from his first takes and is simply not at the same level as his Oscar winning performance as The Joker in Dark Knight.

Nonetheless, this moving tribute is a compelling feat completed by men, of who held their colleague in great esteem and very clearly cared.


Published : The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication : 06.11.2009
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