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Friday, February 5, 2010

[6.50/10] The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

The Imaginarium of
Doctor Parnassus

"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" is trying to be a quirky, symbolic film, one that revels in its own weirdness, a film with magnificent ideas and imagination. Well, the film's ideas are brilliant. The way those ideas come together, however, is messy and flawed. The things that should be immediately clear are not, and a lot of things that should have been left unclear aren't. To explain, the normal, ordinary facts of the story are unclear and confusing, while the quirky symbolism- the bit that's actually meant to be unclear- leaves nothing to the imagination. The film itself concerns the travelling theatre troupe led by Doctor Parnassus who offers unsuspecting members of the public a chance to enter a magical mirror to unbeknown worlds of an almost hallucinatory nature. These worlds are classic Gilliam animations of a similar theme of those first espoused on Monty Python albeit using modern CGI to create an ethereal reality reflecting the subjects mindset. Those who enter the Imaginarium are manipulated by Dr Parnassus to offer them an experience of a lifetime. One of the big buzzes of Parnassus is Ledger's performance, being his last before his untimely death. While he has extraordinary bits as the salesman of the show, the meatier bits in the Imaginarium, unfortunately, were not filmed before he passed. In an act of true genius, Gilliam used three other actors to fill in - Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrel, with the explanation being that his appearance changes. Which would have made sense had the other characters had their appearance change as well, although one other exception does occur, giving it somewhat more validity. All three actors pull their weight wonderfully to help the film. Despite its weaknesses, "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" is still a fine movie, with a certain charm, and there's no denying the special effects and the writer's imagination. It's a decent fantasy flick, and if anything, it's nice to watch a film that doesn't resort to clichés or tired plot devices.

  • My Rating: 6.50/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 66% (6.0/10)
  • IMDb: 7.4/10

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