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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Actors: Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell
Director: Terry Gilliam
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
PG-13     2010     2hr 3min

Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is cursed with a dark secret. An inveterate gambler, thousands of years ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell
Director: Terry Gilliam
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/27/2010
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 11/07/2008
Release Year: 2010
Run Time: 2hr 3min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 20
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Member Movie Reviews

Hannah H. (Apollyn)
Reviewed on 12/6/2010...
Well this is definitely an interesting movie to watch. I was able to follow the story pretty well until the end where the scenes really start jumping around. Besides being a bit confusing...When the credits started rolling I was still unsure what had happened to one of the characters. I looked the movie up online though just to clarify everything that had happened and discovered that I simply hadn't recognized the character when they were shown.

Overall I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys magic, the unusual, and fantasy.
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Holly C. from HEBER CITY, UT
Reviewed on 11/23/2010...
This is the worst, most boring movie ever. Was hugely disappointed. I agree with the last rating, I'd love to have that time back that I spent watching it, although I did get my checkbook balanced at the same time.
2 of 9 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sheryl B. (Momof2boys)
Reviewed on 8/1/2010...
Hated it. Wish I could get back the 2 hours of my life I spent watching it.
4 of 12 member(s) found this review helpful.
Michelle S. (Chelly10s) from W HOLLYWOOD, CA
Reviewed on 6/2/2010...
Spectacular. Wonderful fantasy film.
5 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

This is my kind of weird
Monkdude | Hampton, Virginia | 01/14/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Are you ever in the mood for something fresh and original? Are you tired of all the safe movies designed for the masses? Well, take a trip through the mirror of Doctor Parnassus. Terry Gilliam is a love him or hate him type of director, but for some reason I'm more of in the middle. I like half or so of his films and just don't get the appeal of the others. In this case, I loved just about every second of it.

Most people know that this was Heath Ledger's last role and that he died during the filming process, but what surprised me was how much he is actually in the movie. I would say around 50% of it. His performance is really good here as expected. He totally dropped the Joker influence completely and showed us once again that we were looking at a guy who had just begun to scratch the surface of his talent. Christopher Plummer (Doctor Parnassus) and Tom Waits (Satan) both turn in equally excellent acting showcases. Even newcomer Lily Cole does a good job and is very nice to look at to boot. Verne "Mini-Me" Troyer is not the best actor in the world, but he seems to be trying hard and is given a couple of good lines. Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell fill in the gaps that Ledger could obviously not. Depp gets the least amount of time, but all three bring the right amount skill to each "tribute" version of Ledger's character. Since Ledger was able to film all the reality parts before his death, his ever changing look could easily be explained in the fantasy realm.

The visuals and music are wacky as can be, but in a good way. It's nice to see so much imagination and unique storytelling in modern cinema. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is not for everyone, but I think most who give it a shot will find themselves lost in the the mind of one stange filmmaker."
Eccentric and quixotic
C. Sawin | TX | 01/12/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is first and foremost a Terry Gilliam film, which could make or break the overall experience for you. Gilliam has a very specific style that is best described as an LSD trip with a more cohesive story. His films are usually incredibly visual, are wrapped around a unique story, and above all else spectacularly weird. The one thing his films can always guarantee though is originality. Doctor Parnassus is very similar to Gilliam's The Brother's Grimm, which also starred Heath Ledger. At least as far as visuals go. So if you're not a fan of other Gilliam films like Time Bandits, Baron Manchausen, Twelve Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Brothers Grimm, or Tideland among others, then it's safe to say you probably won't enjoy this film.

The other piece of information that's worth knowing going into this is to not expect much Heath Ledger. Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell were brought in for a reason. You're left wanting more, which is probably a good thing. It's not a stab at Depp, Law, or Ferrell as they all portrayed Tony pretty flawlessly. Ledger is around long enough to show potential. He has a few standout scenes and a great speech or two. Then he's gone. Out of the three actors that also played Tony, Depp did the best job. When you first see Johnny Depp as Tony, he still looks like Heath Ledger. His actions, his body language, his dialogue, it all feels like the same character. Without giving too much away, it feels as if Tony changed every time he stepped through the mirror. Well, that's not entirely true. It's more like Tony's true nature was revealed more and more with each transformation. Depp seemed to be the Tony we were first introduced to while Jude Law was the version of Tony that was swept away in Doctor Parnassus' imagination. He wanted to escape. To reach the clouds. Then there's Colin Ferrell who is the true Tony. Despite the fact that four different actors played the same character, it all still felt like the same person.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus isn't a film for everyone. It's incredibly bizarre and it takes a while for things to actually get rolling. People who see this film solely for Heath Ledger's appearance will probably be disappointed and those who aren't a fan of Gilliam's work most likely won't have their minds changed with this film. But if you're willing to give a different kind of film a chance, a film that winds up capturing your imagination, then step through the mirror and enjoy the eccentric journey to The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus."
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Jason C. Wilkerson | Green Bay, WI | 01/17/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is immortal. He made a deal with Mr. Nick, aka the devil (Tom Waits), that has kept him alive for over 1000 years, but at a price. Now Dr. Parnassus travels England with his daughter Valentina (Lilly Cole), Percy (Verne Troyer), and Anton (Andrew Garfield) inviting people into his Imaginarium, a place where you can peak into Dr. Parnassus's imagination where you are given a choice between light and darkness. When Mr. Nick shows up with a new challenge to collect five souls first by Valentina's birthday, Dr. Parnassus jumps at the chance. But when they save the allegedly amnesiac Tony (Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell), Dr. Parnassus wonders if Tony's been sent by the devil or his chance to right a wrong he made when he gained immortality.

Terry Gilliam is one of the most visually unique directors of all time. From classic movies like Brazil to cult classics like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the only American from the Monty Python troupe has generally bucked conventions working outside the studio system to create uniquely original works of art. As a result Gilliam is no stranger to controversy and issues with filming. Gilliam's take on Don Quixote was derailed from spectacular budget overruns, back injuries, freakish storms, and more; with the result being so catastrophic it became the subject of the 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha. But even as devastating as that was, it could never have prepared Gilliam for what befell his 2009 movie The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Filming had to be shut down when Heath Ledger died mid-production. Fortunately, Gilliam and co-writer Charles McKeown were able to rewrite partsof the film, and Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell stepped in to finish Ledger's role so the world is able to see his last performance.

The reslut is nothing short of amazing. Imaginarium represents a marked return to Gilliam's former visual style. Being the first movie that Gilliam storyboarded since 1988's The Adventures of Baron Munchasen, you can see the return of certain visuals that remind you of his directorial work with Monty Python as well as his great films like Time Bandits and Brazil. Visually this is one of Gilliam's most over the top films to date, but in the scheme of the Imaginarium it also represents his most successfully use of his visual style in years. The writing also represents one of his most original works in years, while also being one of his deeper works with more fully realized characters than has been present in his movies as of late. Also, the way they handled the passing of one of their main characters was also brilliant and possibly even serves the movie much better than expected and in the end just felt right.

The acting is naturally superb as you'd expect when you view the talent in this movie. Christopher Plummer is a veteran actor (The Philadelphia Story, Hamlet as well as newer movies such as 12 Monkeys, and voice parts in 9 and Up) you'd expect nothing less than a stellar, even Oscar worthy performance from on the screen. And, naturally, Heath Ledger was coming off an Oscar winning performance for his work as Joker in The Dark Knight and was formerly nominated for his role in Brokeback Mountain. While honoring the late Heath Ledger for this posthumously released role would seem the natural thing to do, I'd have to say that the best performances are delivered by Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell. It's hard enough to play a real person, but to step into a role taking over for an actor that passed away, who still remains in the final film is beyond daunting. These three actors take his place in the film admirably, carrying on the spirit of Ledger to the fullest. Even among these Colin Farrell rises to the top in my mind as he ends Ledger's role, having to give the toughest performance of the character.

The only problem I can say that I have with this movie is that at times the plot can be impenetrable and even incoherent at times. For all of Gilliam's strengths, he has a tendency at times to be too in the moment without looking at the full picture, and particularly early on in the movie this can be slightly problematic. At first the movie seems like a series of vignettes rather than part of the whole. You'll also be lucky if, at the end of the movie, you can fully understand what the movie is all about. I'm one of those viewers that loves a movie with replayability, but as is the case with any viewer, it can be frustrating to watch a movie and wonder if it's just your ignorance or the fault of the filmmaker that I didn't completely understand what went on. While I think I have the movie pinned after hours of contemplation, I can't honestly say that I do until I rewatch it, which will be when it comes out on DVD.

Overall, though, I would have to highly recommend this movie. Yeah, it's a mindscrew (I would use other wording, but this is a family friendly publication), but it's a fun mindscrew. Visually stunning, superbly acted, and refreshingly original this is by far Terry Gilliam's best movie in years, and if you like any of his other movies (or Monty Python) you're most likely going to love this movie.