Monday, January 11, 2010

Thursday Night at the Movies - The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

A special Sunday afternoon edition. I saw a trailer for this on Apple's web site a few months ago and thought it looked great. I hadn't seen any trailers in the theater. The Apple site does not have the trailer anymore but you can see a trailer here. It is Heath Ledger's last movie, in fact, he died while it was being made. For awhile, the movie was in limbo, but director Terry Gilliam got other actors involved and saved it.The review in the local paper was not good but my daughter and I wanted to see it so we did. It's pretty much a mess of a movie but an enjoyable mess. The 1,000 year old Dr. Parnassus long ago made a deal with the devil. In exchange for immortality, the doctor would give up his first born child at 16 years of age. It's three days until is daughter turns 16 and Parnassus is in a panic.

Parnassus, his daughter, and a few other characters operate a run down little carnival with a magic mirror. Pass through the mirror into the land of your imagination. Tony (played by Heath Ledger) is saved by the cast when they find him hanging by his neck on the underside of a bridge. Apparently, most of Ledger's scenes on this side of the magic mirror were filmed before he died. Gilliam used Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrel to play Tony on the other side of the mirror. It isn't explained why only Tony has a different face when he goes through the mirror, but that's a pretty minor point if you can accept everything else that happens through the mirror.

This is very much a Terry Gilliam film. If you didn't like his other films (I'm thinking Brazil and The Time Bandits) you probably won't like this either.


Motherscratcher said...

The first Gilliam film I saw was Time Bandits and I absolutely loved it (still do). Then I was delighted by the critically panned Adventures of Baron Munchousen. I was a kid. I didn't know who Gilliam or any director was. And, I sure as heck wasn't aware of what critics thought, and I wouldn't have cared anyway.

When I got older I obviously payed more attention to that stuff. I love Brazil and The Fisher King. 12 Monkeys remains one of my favorite movies of all time.

I guess the point of this long rambling comment is to share my undying love for Terry Gilliam. I haven't seen Imaginarium yet, but I will.

And, I couldn't care less what the critics think about it.

I thought your description of "an enjoyable mess" was good. I would expect nothing less.

White Sox Cards said...

I love Gilliam movies! Your review makes me want to go see this film. It was already on my short list, but I think it will move up now.

capewood said...

I forgot about 12 Monkeys. Whenever Time Bandits (which isn't too often), Brazil, or 12 Monkeys show up on cable when I surfing, I just stop and watch, no matter where in the movie it is.