Movie Moron
August 02, 2014, 02:30:25 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Having problems joining the forum? E-mail the webmaster using the address here.
 
  Website   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (A-)  (Read 2273 times)
dalmatianjaws
Hero Member
*****

Karma: +4/-1
Posts: 3242



View Profile WWW
« on: November 09, 2009, 09:36:13 PM »

Watching a Terry Gilliam movie is a lot like having lunch with your weird cousin Melvin. It’s been a few years, things don’t really make sense at first, but after twenty minutes you remember why you love hanging out with someone so creepy.

Gilliam’s latest film is The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a mesmerizing fantasy made infamous as the late Heath Ledger’s final film. And, like all his films before, it takes a bit of time for the audience to situate itself within the bizarre world of Doctor Parnassus.

The story’s launching point is a simple fantasy concept: what if a magical theater act still traveled around modern London, struggling to find an audience?

But soon the story expands into an intricate character study as we learn that years ago, the titular Doctor Parnassus made a deal with the devil, and has spent the past 1,000 years competing for human souls. The prize: the doctor’s beautiful daughter. The Doctor’s troupe is blissfully unaware of the dark cloud that follows their wagon, a cloud in the shape of Tom Waits, who plays the devil with his usual quirky ad-libs and mischievous smirks.

Doctor Parnassus, as played by the mesmerizing Christopher Plummer, is far more nuanced than many of wiseman archetypes that appear in fantasy stories. He’s a wise old wizard who yearns to be the trickster, lax in his duties as leader because he longs to make wagers with the devil. As a result his band of actors is perpetually in shambles and his proclaimed desire of bringing the magic of storytelling to the world is hindered by his alcoholism, erratic behavior, and guilt.

Thrown into the mix is the mysterious Tony, played by Heath Ledger. The troupe finds him dangling from a noose under a bridge and rescues him. Waking the next morning and claiming amnesia, Tony quickly becomes part of the show, using his snake-oil charm to seduce unsuspecting women onto the stage and through the magic mirror.

Once inside the mirror, each person unconsciously builds an entire fantasy world with their mind. Tony is intrigued and follows the “clients” inside. As he does, his face is transformed by their imaginations, a fantastic gimmick conceived by Terry Gilliam after Ledger died part way through the filming schedule, allowing for Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell to step in and finish the movie.

As the story unravels and Tony’s charm begins to wane, revealing something much darker underneath, Ledger’s absence is truly felt. While Colin Farrell does an amazing job as Tony in the third act, when most of Tony’s best character moments happen, it’s such a shame that Ledger missed out on the juiciest parts of his final character.

Despite this, the transitions from actor to actor are seamless, a testament to the consummate writing and directing. This is Gilliam at the top of his game. While magic gateways, twisted landscapes, impromptu musical numbers, distorted faces, and slightly over-the-top performances have been a Gilliam trademark for over two decades, in Doctor Parnassus these elements are woven together into a masterwork. There are multiple characters with multiple goals, and at the end of the movie these goals switch, turning good guys into bad guys and bad guys into innocent bystanders. Throw in endless, bizarre visuals and some dancing police officers and you have a recipe for disaster, but in the hands of Terry Gilliam, it’s a brilliant fantasy film with emotional resonance - the perfect stage for one of our best actor’s final bow.
Logged
ad4m22
Sr. Member
****

Karma: +0/-0
Posts: 406


chainguncharlie@hotmail.com
View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2009, 02:09:23 PM »

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Review

A film by near-legendary filmmaker Terry Gilliam is a lot like eating out at an expensive restaurant – it doesn’t happen as often as you’d like and when it does you want to savour every exquisite moment.

Happily, this is one of those times where it’s absolutely well worth the wait and by the time the credits roll, you’ll be glad Gilliam stuck with the film through all the troubles on set – the death of star Heath Ledger, the death of producer William Vince and Gilliam himself breaking his back in a traffic accident. It really is a film that struggled against all the odds just to get made – and that makes this even more special.

Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is in a bind. He’s a gambling addict with one huge problem – the man he keeps making bets with is none other than Mr Nick, the devil himself (the sublime Tom Waits), and now he has come to collect the fee for his latest gambit – Parnassus’ own daughter, Valentina (Lily Cole). However, the devil decides to up the stakes one last time: if Parnassus can win over five souls through the Imaginarium before the devil can claim them, she can go free.

Complicating this task are the members of the Imaginarium’s travelling troupe – dwarf Percy (Verne Troyer) is becoming frustrated with Parnassus’ heavy drinking, while Valentina is blind to affections of sleight-of-hand expert Anton (Andrew Garfield). Adding to this is the sudden arrival of amnesiac assault victim Tony (Heath Ledger), a man who may or may not decide the fate of the entire group.

It would be foolish to say that Ledger’s performance is as remarkable or as incredible as his portrayal of the Joker. Instead, it is simply as enjoyable as all the other characters on screen, each one as deep, as complex and beautifully drawn as most whole protagonists and all deserving of their own film. It is disappointing to note that the only three scenes Ledger did not get to finish are the most important three his character has in the film. Thankfully the always reliable Johnny Depp, the wonderful Colin Farrell and the passable Jude Law step in, adding another dimension onto Tony’s fractured character.

Like going through the Imaginarium’s door, delving beneath the surface of the film reveals far more than what at first seems so straightforward. Parnassus is a representation of Gilliam, a man desperate to tell the world amazing stories, while Mr Nick is the Hollywood studios – constantly interfering and influencing the tales in a different way. It’s an ensemble piece of the greatest variety; the titular Imaginarium – a horse-drawn double-decker carriage – is possibly the closest thing to a protagonist, a storyteller in a world that simply doesn’t care for its own imagination anymore.

Add to this some of the most incredible CGI visuals in recent cinema history and a film so heaving with imagination it’s in danger of collapsing under the weight of its scope. The only real criticism to be made is that the final twenty minutes feel slightly dragged out, as if Gilliam couldn’t bear to finish a film that cost two and a half people to make.

Wonderful, spellbinding, intoxicating. Take a dip in Gilliam’s mind once more, but be warned – this time you might not want to come out.

5 stars
Logged
Sheridan Passell
Administrator
Hero Member
*****

Karma: +4/-2
Posts: 6934


Movie Moron Founder/Editor


View Profile Email
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2009, 09:17:52 PM »

Nice review.

Quote
some of the most incredible CGI visuals in recent cinema history
Is this really true?

Quote
a film that cost two and a half people to make.
Zinger.
Logged
ad4m22
Sr. Member
****

Karma: +0/-0
Posts: 406


chainguncharlie@hotmail.com
View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2009, 06:35:35 AM »

Both are true. The worlds in the Imaginarium are outstandingly beautiful and incredibly well designed.
Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Related Topics
Subject Started by Replies Views Last post
Will Johnny Depp Replace Heath Ledger In "The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus"? Movie News erin anadkat 1 2878 Last post February 06, 2008, 09:00:00 PM
by Sheridan Passell
Doctor Who For The Big Screen? TV MissyVonDoll 0 1868 Last post August 26, 2008, 07:31:06 AM
by MissyVonDoll
Comic-Con 2009 - Update #4: The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus Movie News dalmatianjaws 2 1503 Last post July 26, 2009, 02:32:54 PM
by dalmatianjaws
New 'Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' trailer released Movie News twaddington 5 2060 Last post August 11, 2009, 02:51:46 PM
by Sheridan Passell
First trailer for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Ledger's Last Film) Trailers AristotleP 6 2293 Last post August 15, 2009, 06:58:38 AM
by Sheridan Passell
Scott Derrickson Set to Direct Doctor Strange Movie Movie News lawliet94 0 102 Last post June 06, 2014, 07:43:30 AM
by lawliet94

[Having trouble joining the forum? Send us an e-mail using the address here]
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!