Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - 3 out of 5 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: People who liked the fantasy scenes of What Dreams May Come and people who can enjoy a movie that doesn't answer all the questions it introduces

Best Mood to Walk In With: Alert

Don't See This Movie If: You don't care that this was Heath Ledger's final film and actually want a substantive work
I wish I could know what The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was originally supposed to look like before Heath Ledger died halfway through filming. I have to say, it is truly remarkable to see how the film makers utilized Colin Farrell, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp to finish the film and even a tad creepy when you realize how much they resemble Ledger. (Depp even sounds like him.) However, this was the most impressive feat of the movie, as the film seems to try to do too much and thus does not accomplish much of anything.

To be honest, if you're expecting Ledger to show the immense acting skills he did in The Dark Knight or for Christopher Plummer to show us why he is one of the most casted veterans of Hollywood, you're going to be surprised that it was Verne Troyer who impressed me the most. Perhaps it's because I only have farcical movies like Austin Powers to compare it to, but Troyer did a fantastic job with his character. I look forward to seeing him in more roles that focus on who his character is rather than making fun of his size the entire time. Tom Waits is also delightfully and charmingly sinister as Mr. Nick.

As for the visuals of the imaginings, they are interesting, but there are not enough of them and now that Avatar has changed the game it is difficult to be too impressed. Basically, it reminded me of seeing Moulin Rouge for the first time. Part of me was confused, part of me was intrigued, and part of me was wishing I had tried LSD at some point in my life so I could compare the two experiences. Unfortunately, Moulin Rouge also had a stellar storyline and wonderful performances, things that The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus did not have the fortune of possessing.

To quote the SciFi Wire review, "I have no idea what it was about." And although that review continued on to say that the movie was still enjoyable, I found a journey that I expected to be fantastical and imaginative to be a wandering that seemed pointless and forgettable.

Surprised that: even in an uninspired role and with the vestiges of old age written on his face, I still find Christopher Plummer incredibly handsome. Shows how Captain Von Trapp remains imprinted on my heart no matter what form he takes...
My Suggestion: Wait until it comes out on DVD unless you have a big Heath Ledger obsession.

All in all, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was not bad and kept my attention for two hours. However, I stayed tuned in because I kept expecting more and never got any resolution to the plot questions I had. Although we currently categorize the film as Heath Ledger's last, in a decade we will not be calling it one of his best, if it comes to mind at all.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

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