The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Review – Explore your Imagination

Close your eyes and paint this picture.  On the night of November 2, 2009, you walk down Hollywood Boulevard and enter the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to explore and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.  As you sit and watch, your imagination is taken to another level. 

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was screened at the AFI Fest as a Gala piece.  The Theatre was just about full and people of all ages attended.  The film was an official selection of the Caanes Film Festival as well as the Toronto Film Festival.

As the movie unfolds, an open mind with imagination and an ability to follow a story is a necessity.  There were a couple times at the end where scenes were run quite quickly and one could find themself a little confused at where the movie was at.

L to R: Heath Ledger as Tony, Verne Troyer as Percy Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

This fantasy tale tells the story of Dr. Parnassus ( Christopher Plummer) and his extraordinary ‘Imaginarium’, a traveling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom.

Christopher Plummer as Doctor Parnassus Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Doctor Parnassus leads the audience, one by one, into a world of their imagination through his ‘Imaginarium’.  His traveling theatre troupe helps him out with his show.   His sidekick Percy ( Verne Tilroy), young Anton ( Andrew Garfield) and daughter Valentina ( Lily Cole) all play a part in the show.  Along the way, an outsider who is named Tony ( Heath Ledger) becomes part of the crew as well.   

L to R: Christopher Plummer as Doctor Parnassus, Lily Cole as Valentina and Andrew Garfield as Anton Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Unfortunately, Doctor Parnassus carries a secret with him that has haunted him for centuries.  At one point, Doctor Parnassus made a bet with the devil and won immortality.  Years and years later, Doctor Parnassus met his one true love and made yet another deal with the devil.  This deal traded his immortality for youth under one condition – when his daughter turned 16, she would become the property of the devil, Mr. Nick ( Tom Waits). 

L to R: Tom Waits as Mr. Nick, Christopher Plummer as Doctor Parnassus Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Doctor Parnassus’ daughter, Valentina, is now getting closer and closer to turning “sweet 16” and Doctor Parnassus is trying to make another deal with the devil to reverse the one that he made years prior.  Mr. Nick shows up to collect his prize, but renegotiates the wager. Whoever can seduce the first five souls, will win Valentina, and Doctor Parnassus will grant her hand in marriage to the man that completes this. Through many different wild and funny determined characters, the story carries on.  Will Doctor Parnassus win his deal with the devil?

Lily Cole as Valentina Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

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!

Verne Troyer as Percy Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Overall, the film was a very pleasant movie to watch.  Oscar®-winner Heath Ledger (“ The Dark Knight”, “ Brokeback Mountain”), stars as the mysterious stranger Tony, with multiple award-winner Christopher Plummer (“ The Insider”, “ The Sound of Music”), recent BAFTA®-winner Andrew Garfield (“ Boy A”, “ Lions For Lambs”) as Anton, Verne Troyer (“ The Love Guru”, “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and “Goldmember”) as Percy, supermodel Lily Cole (“ St Trinian’s”) as Valentina and the legendary Oscar®-nominated musician Tom Waits (“ Wristcutters: A Love Story”, “ Bram Stoker’s Dracula”) as the devilish Mr Nick.

Triple Oscar®-nominee Johnny Depp (“ Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”, “ Neverland”, “ Pirates of the Caribbean”), multiple award-winner Colin Farrell (“ Miami Vice”, “ Alexander”) and two-time Oscar®-nominee Jude Law (“ Cold Mountain”, “ The Talented Mr Ripley”) stepped into the breach halfway through the production, to portray the other aspects of Tony.

Colin Farrell as Imaginarium Tony #3 Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

The supporting cast includes such notable character actors as Sweden’s Peter Stormare (“ The Brothers Grimm”, “ Dancer in the Dark”) as The President of the Universe, stage and television stalwart Maggie Steed as the Louis Vuitton Woman, comedy favourites Mark Benton (“ Three and Out”) as Dad and Simon Day (“ Run, Fat Boy, Run”) as Uncle Bob, with newcomers Paloma Faith (“ St Trinian’s”) as Sally, Richard Riddell (“ Dogging: A Love Story”) as Martin and Montserrat Lombard (TV’s “ Love Soup” and “ Ashes to Ashes”) as Sally’s friend.

L to R: Maggie Steed as LV Woman, Johnny Depp as Imaginarium Tony #1 Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

 

The Director, Terry Gilliam is from Minneapolis and immigrated to England in 1967 to become a writer and animator for Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  He has compiled 12 feature films including, Monty Python, Flying Circus, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Fisher King and Twelve Monkeys

Director Terry Gilliam Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Gilliam has completed a very creative film in doing The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.  This was not an easy task for him, due to the unfortunate and unexpected passing of Heath Ledger.  Thankfully, through the help of Depp, Farrell, and Law, imagination created these characters to take on the various roles of Tony (Ledger). 

Heath Ledger as Tony Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

“I am grateful to Johnny, Colin and Jude for coming on board and to everyone else who has made it possible for us to finish the film,” added director Terry Gilliam, “and I am delighted that Heath’s brilliant performance can be shared with the world.”  None of Heath’s performances were modified throughout the completion of the film. 

Jude Law as Imaginarium Tony #2 Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

The costumes, set design and make-up were a major part in bringing the “Imaginarium” to a scene of wonder and astonishment.  The cast itself brings so much to the table with so many talented actors in one film.

Tom Waits as Mr. Nick Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Who could wish for a better Holiday present?  The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus will be released on December 25, 2009 in a theatre near you.  Additional information about The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is available at www.doctorparnassus.com.

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