Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang YangWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Alice In Wonderland”, “Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes”, “The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen”
What a mouthful. The unquiet mind of Monty Python's Terry Gilliam has done it again. While "Imaginarium" is definitely more accessible than his "The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes" in 2005 (an impossible movie for most to understand, though it is rather beautiful), the project lacks the energy of his other works like "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" (1998) and will go down in the books mostly for being Heath Ledger's last appearance on the big screen.
Not that it's not worth a watch. If anything, the unfortunate death of Aussie star Heath Ledger this time last year has improved the movie, as the good director has been telling the press that "the movie made itself" when initially he thought it was good as dead. Recruiting only friends of Ledger (Johnny Depp, Colin Firth and Jude Law, as adjudicated by Gilliam) to shoot the bits that Heath didn't get to complete, you know this movie wasn't easy to make, especially when you read that Depp had to cram all his scenes into just one day due to his attachment to "Public Enemies" at the time.
Some might feel little sad when Ledger's character changes face for the first time, to Depp's. The character is Tony, a mysterious drifter who joins a nomadic theatre troupe led by the titular doctor (octogenarian Christopher Plummer, still recognisable as the captain in "Sound Of Music). The old man is like an immortal eastern mystic and we learn he has made a deal with the devil (singer-songwriter Tom Waits) so together with dwarf assistant (Verne Troyer, who else?), illusionist Anton (Andrew Garfield, "Boy A") and beautiful daughter Valentina (busty model Lily Cole), they must work to reverse a certain arrangement.
Like all of Gilliam's works, "The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus" is impressive with a chance of engrossing, but operates at a wavelength beyond those whose appreciation for fantasy don't fall too far from, say "Lord Of The Rings". Watching Gilliam is like watching Lynch and Burton at the same time. Well, at least we can still respect old hand Gilliam for sticking to his integrity. After all, he did reportedly snub Tom Cruise when approached for one of the three replacement roles.
Next up, "Alice in Wonderland".Cinema Online, 07 January 2010