The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnasus

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” is fairy tale of Dr. Parnassus 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. Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is cursed with a dark secret. Long ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr. Nick (Tom Waits), in which he won immortality. Many centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr. Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his first-born reached its 16th birthday she would become the property of Mr Nick. His daughter, Valentina (Lily Cole), is now rapidly approaching this coming-of-age milestone and Dr. Parnassus is desperate to protect her from her impending fate. Mr Nick arrives to collect but, always keen to make a bet, renegotiates the wager. Now the winner of Valentina will be determined by whoever saves the first five souls, promising his daughter’s hand in marriage to the man that helps him win.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Terry Gilliam brings us, what he calls, his most mature and immature film. I think he said it best, because it is his most mature film as a director, bringing us his best visual experience to date while delivering a fairy tale that is immature in all the right ways.

I’m not a huge Gilliam fan. I think he’s hit and miss. I’m not at all a fan of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “Brazil” is highly overrated. But this movie brings us a true morality fairy tale about choosing between evil and good, and asks whether redemption is possible. Ledger gives a nice performance in his last film before his death, and he’s surrounded by excellent characters and performances. The film starts slowly, and it takes time to adjust to the concepts and visuals, but once it gets going, it’s hard to turn off. I’m a big fan of fairy tales. If you enjoyed “Pan’s Labyrinth,” you’ll enjoy this film.

6 responses to “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnasus

  1. Good call on “Pan’s Labyrinth.” I likened it more to “Big Fish,” but I can see where you’re coming from there.

    • “Big Fish” would be a good comparison, though I don’t think this movie is nearly as good. I really loved “Big Fish.” I think it’s Tim Burton’s best film.

  2. Terry Gilliam has yet to top “The Fisher King”, although “12 Monkeys” came close. I haven’t seen this one yet.

  3. Hey Matt and Brian, Kevin and Denis

    Just chiming in. I tried desperately if not optimistically to sit through Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which by-the-way is a terrible title. Bad titles in movies are akin to a suicide pact where no one knows until it’s too late and the cool-aid is gone that it was a bad idea.

    Fisher King and 12-Monkeys are favorites, not to mention Pan’s Lab. It’s been too long since Big Fish but as I recall, I wasn’t quite impressed.

    Hey, check out my review of Parnassus:


  4. Pingback: Following « The Movie Brothers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s