REVIEW: The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus

This became perhaps the most anticipating film of 2009 for me even more than Avatar, Up and Inglourious Basterdsbecause I was deeply touched by the tragic death of Heath Ledger and the fact he died half way through filming, I really needed to see this! When I did, I enjoyed it but it wasn’t amazing seeing as it had a rather weak story but after a rewatch, I really disliked it! There are quite a few reasons for this but those will be spread out in my review but I think the main reason was that despite it is a fantasy story, it is perhaps one of the most complex if not the most complex story I have ever had to watch. I have watched it twice now and I didn’t fully understand it.

Another fault (more of a weakness than a major flaw) was that although it isn’t Heath’s fault, people were sort of led away by Gilliam’s work on the film as well as the rest of the actors involved because everyone wanted to see Heath and what will be his final scene and when the actors who took over replaced him. I will say that the effects, art direction, costume design and cinematography are all pretty impressive but I wasn’t completely clicked with the world we are taken into and the modern world. Sometimes it works pretty well but in others, it really doesn’t.

Heath Ledger was at the stage of his career where one is at the very top of the mountain so to speak especially after his mind-blowing performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight for which he received a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2009 and for his very heartfelt but solid performance in gay/bisexual western Brokeback Mountain which received him his first Academy Award nomination and, quite frankly, I was expecting another award possibility for Heath in this film but unfortunately, he wasn’t half as good as I wanted him to be or as good as he can be. I wasn’t even sure whether three actors replacing one actor in one role was a good idea at all whether they were all friends of Heath’s or not. It just made Tony have an almost empty soul because we see four different actors play him! Why not just the one actor to replace Heath? Personally, I think it should have been just Johnny Depp, not only because he is a better actor than Jude Law and Colin Farrell but also because Johnny looks the most like Heath than the other two actors. I mean, even Johnny Depp’s appearance disappointed me because he was in it for like 5 minutes then actor switches. Christopher Plummer was decent as Doctor Parnassus and I did like Verne Troyer (aka Mini-Me in Austin Powers trilogy) and Lily Cole too.

Terry Gilliam has never really been in my good books seeing as I have never really understood any of his films and haven’t been entirely impressed with any of the films that he has ever done although he does seem to go for unorthodox stories. To be honest, I didn’t find The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus any different to any other film he has done. However, I will give credit to Gilliam to still manage to make the rest of the film and release it after Heath Ledger’s sudden death. As first, I was rather intrigued with Gilliam’s theory on dreams that are spoken about in the film’s script but, quite frankly, after a second viewing it is a flat theory that is an absolute lie.

Overall, The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus became a huge disappointment to me and I really wish Heath’s career truly ended with a much better film! Perhaps one as fantastic as The Dark Knight! Unfortunately, this isn’t a fault but it was just the attraction that the film received and it just became nothing more than a tribute and dedication that really didn’t show great expectations and was just really flat. May you rest in peace, Heath Ledger, and you’ll never be forgotten.


~ by SJMJ91 on 21/05/2012.

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