Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Adventure,Mystery The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus – 6.5

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus – 6.5

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus was not your average movie for sure. The setting is hard to describe as portions of it were modern while others were from a time you cannot place or have never seen. The cast, made up of many well known actors, was perfectly suited for the roles they played. With names like Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrel, Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits and Lily Cole filling positions in this case, you can’t help but want to see it. I believe this movie was slated to be a Mystery/Fantasy/Adventure and in my opinion it covered all three.

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus was a fairytale kind of land which was created by the imagination of Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) when temporarily inhabited by any one individual. The lands were all different depending on who inhabited them and the scenes before the audience were nothing short of spectacular. Dr. Parnassus had made a bet with the devil as a younger boy and having lost the bet, he was forced to enter into another. This continues all the way throughout the movie and you, as the audience, are in agreement the bets are necessary. He finally reveals the stakes of the wager at hand and they are quite grave indeed, as they involve the ownership of his one and only daughter Valentina (Lily Cole). Along the road Valentina and her friend and partner in the “shows” Anton (Andrew Garfield) discover a body hanging from a bridge which they rescue. The body is that of Tony (Heath Ledger) and he is in fact not dead. Tony joins the traveling show and shows great promise as he wields more earnings than they have seen in months simply from one show. In and out of the Imaginarium, Tony changes form from Heath Ledger to Johnny Depp then to Jude Law and finally to Colin Farrel. This was well done and fit the storyline amazingly.

The set, costumes, lighting, music and acting were impeccable. The directing was of a unique style but it was also done well. I can simply say, the only thing I can find wrong with this movie is, as an audience, you have no idea what it is you are watching or what to expect. You have no idea what or how to follow along and you are confused the entire time. I will say, however, there were some definite funny parts which made you laugh easily. The humor was not hard to follow and you understood the objective of most of the characters at times but you still find yourself constantly searching for the true meaning.

I watched this movie and will more than likely watch it again yet I honestly don’t expect to learn much more than I did the first time around. This movie seems to me to be a mixture of Alice in Wonderland, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a number of other very strange movies. I can’t say it wasn’t entertaining but I can say I am not sure what type of audience they were shooting for. I don’t know if this fits in any of the usual categories and I don’t know what they were trying to accomplish when making this film.

Though there were laughs, great acting and an incredible cast (my reasoning for rating it as I did), I am going to have to say don’t go out of your way to see this one. I think most will find themselves lost early and stay that way as I am not sure if there is any true meaning or deeper symbolism in this film. I think it was as the title suggests…someone’s imagination.

ADVICE: Splurge!
(ONLY if you are certain you want to see this movie as the scenery is worthy of the large screen, otherwise…Save.)

1 thought on “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus – 6.5”

  1. Indeed Terry Gilliam’s movies are not for the average movie goer, and that is why I enjoy them so much. If you have not seen any of his other films, they all have one thing in common; a highly intelligent multi-layered story line that usually only becomes clear at the end of the movie. For this reason, his movies are definitely the type of movie that you will want to watch more than once in order to “get” everything. Gilliam is a very bright director making movies for people who like to think, and no other film director save Alfred Hitchcock is as thought-provoking (in my opinion).

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