Terry Gilliam remains one of the more idiosyncratic and creative writer/director/producer phenomenons in the business. His ability as an illustrator and as a satirist date back to his college years at Occidental College in Los Angeles where he daily startled students and faulty alike with his broad but biting and well groomed antics. For this viewer THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS is one of his strongest forays in the field that can only be described as the Gilliam Genre. He combines a superb cast of characters portrayed by some of the finest actors in the field with his gift for creating visual effects that step beyond mere illustration but stay within the realm of painterly artistry instead of depending on CGI. And despite the zany story line that is typical of Gilliam's output, he also has some strong philosophical points to make. Comedy and fantasy combine to make drama in the line of Shakespearean creators.
The story, written by Gilliam with and assist from Charles McKeown, is a mixture of fairy tale an the Faust legend all played out in the present day world - with very special exit points through mirrors into the world of pure imagination. Christopher Plummer gives great dignity to the immortal Doctor Parnassus who is the Faust of the tale - selling his beloved daughter Valentina (a wonderful Lily Cole) to one Mr Nick (the Devil) played subtly by Tom Waits. Parnassus runs a bizarre sideshow with his daughter Valentina, his lead man Anton (Andrew Garfield) and the 2'8" Percy (Verne Troyer). Into their lives drops (from a hanging under the bridge! rescue) the odd Tony (Heath Ledger, proving in his last role that he was truly a fine actor). Tony helps Parnassus alter his pact with Mr Nick in a series of strange events and in the course of these events the character of Tony is developed as three others - Colin Farrell, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp. The rest of the tale is left up to the audience to squeeze in the moments of high comedy and advanced, surrealistic creativity that Gilliam offers this project. 'All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances...'. It is a pleasure to give into fantasy with Gilliam's films, and this one is a jewel! Grady Harp, May 10
I knew very little about this film when I went to the theaters to see it. I had seen a couple of previews online, which got me excited. The movie looked very promising. I expected a fantasy/science fiction adventure with performances that were going to blow my mind away. Instead, I left the theater feeling disappointed and confused. I kept asking myself, "Is that it?" The special affects and computer animated scenes were truly exceptional. When characters … more
As much as I admire the style and finesse Terry Gilliam brings in his filmmaking, I find that his final product in direction is more or less a hit or a miss. I loved “12 Monkeys” and “the Fisher King” wasn’t too shabby as I can remember. I was however real disappointed with “The Brothers Grimm” that I avoided “Tideland”. Well, I gave Gilliam’s latest movie a shot since the reception is somewhat of a mixed bag and a lot of people … more
I liked the premise of the movie. Basically, a deal with the devil is struck and that when the deal maker's child(ren) reached 16 years old, they became the property of the devil himself. In turn, the deal maker would have immortality. There is a great case of characters in this movie: Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrel, Jude Law and Heath Ledger (in his last film where he passed during the filming and was covered by the previously … more
As you probably can tell, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is one odd movie. I think it's worth checking out, but I'm not yet sold on it. The plot is essentially a fairy tale of a man who made a bet with the devil He and his traveling troupe possess a mirror into a bizarre world in which people are forced to make a choice between good and evil. Visually, the film is stunning. It contrasts the drab reality with the vivid colors of the mirror world. The movie also does keep … more
If there is one thing the British are good at, that would be making very original movies, and none excel at this better than Terry Gilliam. Their latest release is this combination of drama, fantasy, action and comedy. Starring a cast of many famous actors, this movie is probably the biggest release so far for the red-headed beauty Lily Cole. Like all of Gilliam's movies, this one deals with fantasy but is ultimately about relationships, and what one does for love and friendship. Unlike Gilliam's … more
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a 2009 fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Charles McKeown. The film follows the leader of a travelling theatre troupe who, having made a deal with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations.
Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, and Heath Ledger star in the film, though Ledger's death one-third of the way through filming caused production to be temporarily suspended. Ledger's role was recast with Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell portraying transformations of Ledger's character Tony as he travels through a dream world.
The film's world premiere was during the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, out of competition. The UK release of the film was scheduled for 6 June 2009 but pushed back to 16 October 2009 due to its successful premiere at Cannes. The film was given a limited release in the US on Christmas Day 2009 and a wide release on 8 January 2010.