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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

April 9, 2010

Director: Terry Gilliam 
Writers: Terry Gilliam/Charles McKeown
Producers: Terry Gilliam/Samuel Hadida/Amy Gilliam/William Vince 
Starring: Heath Ledger/Johnny Depp/Verne Troyer/Colin Farrell/Jude Law
Year: 2009
Country: UK/France/Canada
BBFC Certification: 12a
Duration: 123 minutes

Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Doctor Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. An inveterate gambler, thousands of years ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr. Nick, in which he won immortality. 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 daughter reached her 16th birthday, she would become the property of Mr Nick. Valentina 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 seduces the first five souls. Enlisting a series of wild, comical and compelling characters in his journey, Dr. Parnassus promises his daughter’s hand in marriage to the man that helps him win.

“Nothing’s permanent…not even Death!”

Do you ever have one of those really crazy dreams where you wake up confused and you ask yourself “was that real? what the heck just happened?”  That is basically the questions you’ll ask after watching this movie. When the story is read, it sounds very good and very much like an old fairytale but the way it’s portrayed in the movie is quite boring. From the very start, it wasn’t easy to follow the story as your attention couldn’t be kept on the movie. The movie has an all-star cast but it’s a shame they weren’t put to good use. The acting was above mediocre but the characters weren’t well done, I found them to be quite boring at times and I genuinely didn’t care what happened to them at all. The direction of the movie is so-so but the CGI were nothing but brilliantly bright colours and some okay scenes but that wasn’t enough to save this movie.

This, to me, is the Marmite of movies, you can either love it or hate it and I wasn’t very keen on it. There might be a brilliant line-up of actors and actresses but it wasn’t enough to save the movie and I felt that they wasn’t really put to good use like their characters. This had the potential to be something great if done correctly but it was just missing that spark that makes a movie stand out in your mind. The only way this movie really stood out in my mind was because of how it changed from bland scenes to weird yet wonderful scenes and even then, it got boring sometimes. I also felt that there wasn’t enough depth to the characters, I felt that they could have been written better. However, in saying this, I can’t really fault the ‘imaginary’ scenes, they were bright, colourful, weird and wonderful but this is the only thing I can say positive about the movie.

I liked the CGI but nothing else, I just felt like the scenes were here, there and everywhere. Also, your attention didn’t stay on the movie for long because some scenes dragged on. I think this will mostly be remembered as Heath Ledger’s last movie. If you adore fantasy fairytales then there’s a chance you might like this.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Hev permalink
    April 23, 2010 2:31 pm


    The scenes was all over the show because heath ledger DIED half way through filming. Therefore, the film was never released to top the charts or to be thought of as amazing. It was purely there as a tribute to Heath. Thats why it had top names in it such as Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell – they did it for their friend, not because they though the film would be any good.

    As a tribute – it was amazing!

    • April 24, 2010 8:33 am

      Almost everything about the movie (the story, the script, the scenes, how the movie would work. etc.) was written and planned before Heath Ledger died so I would hardly say it was made purely because it was a tribute to Heath Ledger.

      Thank you for commenting 😀

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