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 ». Nick (Tom Waits), in which he won immortality. Centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr. Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his daughter reached her 16th birthday, she would become the property of Mr Nick. Valentina (Lily Cole) is now rapidly approaching this ?coming of age? milestone and Dr. Parnassus is desperate to protect her from her impending fate. Mr. Nick arrives to collect but, always keen to make a bet, renegotiates the wager. Now the winner of Valentina will be determined by whoever seduces the first five souls. Enlisting a series of wild, comical and compelling characters in his journey, Dr. Parnassus promises his daughter?s hand in marriage to the man that helps him win. In this captivating, explosive and wonderfully imaginative race against time, Dr. Parnassus must fight to save his daughter in a never-ending landscape of surreal obstacles ? and undo the mistakes of his past once and for all! Also starring Heath Ledger, Andrew Garfield, Verne Troyer, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law.« less
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.
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.
I'm Glad Gilliam Finished It, But It's Still A Puzzling Film
Alan Caylow | USA | 01/10/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let me say right at the top of my review that I'm glad that Terry Gilliam finally finished "The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus". Needless to say, Gilliam and the cast and crew of "Parnassus" were dealt a horrible blow with the untimely death of star Heath Ledger in January 2008, who finished all of his scenes in the real world but did not live to complete any of his fantasy scenes inside Dr. Parnassus' mirror. Fortunately, the film's abundant fantasy elements allowed Gilliam a way to finish the film: bring in three other actors (who also happened to be good friends of Ledger's)---Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell---to play Ledger's character of Tony whenever he steps into the mirror. Great, problem solved. And I'm sure that finishing the film must've been a true labor of love for Gilliam and the surviving cast & crew (and, of course, the dedication to Ledger at the film's end is also greatly appreciated).
But, as an audience member, I reacted to "The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus" the same way I've reacted to all of Gilliam's films that I've seen: it's a great movie to *look* at, but the film is simply much too strange for me to fully embrace. I think Gilliam should switch to art direction from now on and stick with that. He's a very visual director (to say the least), and all of his movies are certainly very eye-popping to look at, with magnificent art direction in every one. "Parnassus" is no exception: all of the fantasy scenes in the mirror are a feast for the eyes, and Gilliam certainly has a way with a camera, whether it's the camera angles or the lighting. And, speaking as a longtime Monty Python fan, of course I'm a huge fan of all of Gilliam's wonderful comedy work with the Pythons. But, as a filmmaker, Gilliam seems incapable of telling a straight story that you can actually *understand*. Why does he insist that all of his movies have to be so weird? Obviously, it's just Gilliam's style, but I do wish he could make a simple film for a change (if not simple visually, then at least simple in storytelling). But I guess Gilliam simply doesn't do simple.
I get the main plot of the film, though: long ago, Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) made a deal with the Devil (Tom Waits): in exchange for immortality, the Devil gets the soul of Dr. Parnassus' daughter (Lily Cole) when she turns 16. So, when he's not running his traveling sideshow, he tries to find a way to save his daughter's soul. But Gilliam has the movie's story shoot off into several puzzling directions. At times, nothing meaningful or logical is happening onscreen, and the film teeters on being boring. Then Gilliam brings the film back from the brink by giving it a good shot of adrenaline, such as with a fantasy sequence inside the magic mirror. And this happens over and over again throughout the film, with Gilliam keeping "Parnassus" afloat, but only just. And the ending....well, I don't know what to make of it.
Besides the amazing visual effects and art direction, "Parnassus" is also helped along by an excellent cast. Heath Ledger's final film performance, sadly, may be incomplete, but he's in the film enough, and he still gives a strong, winning performance as the mysterious Tony (in the real world). Depp, Law, and Farrell each pop in and do excellent stand-in jobs as Tony (in the fantasy world), though Farrell is easily given the most screentime of the three. Both Christopher Plummer and Tom Waits are wonderful as the kind Dr. Parnassus and the scheming, cigarette-smoking Devil. And, a star is truly born in the form of gorgeous young model Lily Cole as Parnassus' daughter. She's an excellent actress, and yes, a goddess too.
In the end, "The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus" is a decent film. It's entertaining enough for me to give it a passing grade of 3 stars, and, if you like Terry Gilliam's visual flare, and/or if you're a Heath Ledger fan and you want to see him in his final film, then by all means go. Just be prepared for a very bizarre story that you may find a bit perplexing. I really don't know if I'd ever watch it again, but "The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus" is definitely worth seeing once. Try catching it at an inexpensive matinee screening if you can, or rent it on DVD."
A magical film, the Antidote to the loud and shallow blockbu
N. Wold | 04/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's difficult to rate this film honestly for so many reasons, but giving it five stars wouldn't be out of place. This film should be viewed as a tribute to the late great Heath Ledger who's sudden death almost meant that this film would have been scrapped all together when it was near finished. And to say that the genius Director Terry Gilliam has had a tortured and difficult career despite the amazing films he as gotten the funds to make, this film is no exception to that difficult career but he does create a magical film nonetheless. Some may call it over indulgent on Gilliam's part, but I think that's where Gilliam really shines.
This film was no exception to the many films Gilliam has tried to make, but ends up having to have it funded outside of a Hollywood studio system, and its easy to see why. Hollywood has been ruined by idiotic directors like Michael Bay who have made cinema impersonal, loud, and just plain stupid with their films. Gilliam is one of the people who's left holding the tent up for the artistic integrity of cinema and this film is no exception. It is really the antidote to the blockbuster film devoid of any artistic merit, and this is exactly why it was made outside of Hollywood. There are not car chases. No slow motion. No overacting. No bouncing tits. No exploding cars, trains, planes, or boats. This is exactly why this film should be watched like a antacid for the indigestion caused by s many awful Hollywood films that, unlike this film, are churned out quickly for no reason other than to make some quick money.
The film focusses on a traveling side show which is magical in every way. And yet they are struggling to bring in an audience. It is run by a man who is a thousand years old, and has made a deal with the devil to live that long. The deal? He promised his daughter to him, a deal which he has regretted ever since. Soon they pick up a lone drifter: Tony (played by ledger). Heath Ledger as usual shows why he is so missed, because he lights up the screen with a captivating and dynamic performance. He's got some ideas on how to turn around Doctor Parnassus's traveling show.
Overall the film may not stack up right next to an absolute masterpiece like Brazil or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but it shows Gilliam returning to making good films and showcasing his incredible storytelling and simultaneous insanity. But for the year of it's release (2009), it was by far one of the best films, and certainly better than any awful dribble that won any academy awards this year. This film, like much of Gilliam's films will most definitely be one that ACTUALLY LASTS. A rare thing today when we have so many awful films dominating the market. So if you do buy this film, you're not gonna see it in the clearance rack next to Transforms 2, the Twilight films, and Anaconda 3. It's worth the buy now, and it will be worth the buy ten years from now, continuing to delight so many with it's magical charm the way it does today."