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I really enjoyed this film. As I understand it, it was made for less than $4 million. And while it did feel a bit like an independant film, it managed to stretch that budget quite a long way. The film has a vaguely Tim Burton/Terry Gilliam feel and the set design is distinctive and well done and works it's magic in making the real world feel intimate and the dreamworld feel delightfully surreal.
Movies have, for good or ill, been made from a collection of a band's songs. ABBA's "Mama Mia," based on the stage musical of the same name and The Who's "Tommy," which reversed things and instead inspired a Broadway musical are two famous examples. The key is to have a good story underpinning the film. I was really moved by this films story of an estranged father and daughter.
Thomas/Tom Whitman, former songwriter and musician, suffering from illness and dementia lies in a coma-like dreamstate while his estranged daughter Gem, feeling abandoned and unable to forgive, has to decide whether or not to follow his doctor's recommendations on end of life decisions. In a surreal dreamscape, in the form of his childhood self, Tom tries to remember the important thing he has forgotten, while in the real world Gem learns more about her father from Ann, a female fellow bandmate from his past whom she resents. The film bounces between Tom's dream world and Gem's all too real world.
In his dark dreamworld the elderly Tom finds himself young once again and in an orphanage with a girl named Ann. He meets a creepy Tim Burtonesque snowman named Mr. White who it seems to already knows him and who invites him to go on an adventure. He meets numerous others in this strange dreamscape who are stand-ins for those in the real world. Who should he trust and more importantly, what is it that he needs to remember?
The cast is pretty solid, and members of Nightwish show up in mostly small, yet sometimes semi-significant parts. Tuomas Holopainen, Nightwish's co-founder, songwriter and co-writer of the film plays a 30-something version of Tom who just happens to have been the keyboardist/ songwriter/ composer for a rock band (hmmm...go figure) and then-current Nightwish lead singer Anette Olzon plays an adult Ann, lead singer for the band (...sensing a pattern here). Neither are really speaking parts, but they play versions of central characters with Tuomas getting the most "acting" time.
The rest of the band make their appearances as well. Uilleann bagpiper / session musician Troy Donockley has a nice little scene with "Gem" as a dreamworld magician /surgical assistant. Bassist Marco Hietala plays a circus "Master of Ceremonies." There are a couple of scenes where the dreamworld version of the band act along to the songs "Storytime" and "Slow Love, Slow." The former scene is a nightmare circus and the latter a classy 20's style Jazz club.
The special effects for a film with such a low budget are actually quite good. I found most of the CGI quite competent and fit the surrealness of the film. There is a dreamlike quality to it all that really makes me lose myself in the fantasy. Several scenes of note: There is a great Snowman / young Tom flying scene near the beginning which is a nice homage to the famous scene in the animated holliday classic "The Snowman." A scene with dreamworld versions of living "tin soldiers" on a battlefield is also really cool. A roller coaster scene near the end is excitingly surreal, dreamlike and wonderful. This film provides a much more satisfying experience than any small budget fantasy has a right to. Again, kudos to whoever stretched the tiny budget to the breaking point.
The best part of the film, unsurprisingly...The music. Nightwish's "Imaginaerum" album is magnificently adapted by Petri Alanko into gorgeous score that beautifully underlines, punctuates and swells every emotional scene. There are also two scenes that directly employ the full songs, "Storytime" and the jazzy "Slow, Love Slow." The full band appears in these dream scenes. The "Storytime" scene is comprised of a nightmare carnival while "Slow, Love Slow" takes place in a retro jazz club.
(One note: Those with kiddies be aware. The film does get a bit dark thematically at times. And the snowman Mr White is definitely a bit creepy.)
This film made me feel all the feels. That is enough to get me to recommend this film highly.
The music is great, it looks quite good, but that's the only pros of this movie. A bit too long for a music video
A journey with mysterious theme, beautiful music which leads to the secrets paths of minds.
Nice heartwarming tale of remembering those close to us. If you like the music it adds to the film, but if you don't it's just an interruption to the film
It's essentially an 80 minute Nightwish music video - make of that what you will.
Fantastic movie, recommend to anyone and everyone.
Imaginaerum is a dramatic musical about a dying father and how he is loosing his mind due to his overwhelming love for music and how this has cost him his family and all his other loved ones.
The movie takes you on the roller coaster ride to find out why this guy called Tom is so out of his mind and although the story really anoyed me the musical numbers were top shelf.
Like a musical piece of music his mind comes back note by note but its not an easy journey.
This is a weird movie and its out there and the only reason why i am giving it 3 stars is because of the musical numbers.
Although unrated here I would say its too dark for the kids and should only be viewed by the adults and high school music students.
This is something different you will never see a movie like this.
I loved the movie. Always been a big fan of Nightwish and the fact that they actually made a movie, not to mention a movie that was actually pretty good, blows me away
Love this a must for nightwish fans
Excellent music as expected, and wonderful dream like visuals, however the lack of any real plot drags the film down.