Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

"I am to die and Johnny Depp, Colin Firth and Jude Law are to take my place.
Haha. Must be a joke."

At a glance:
What a mouthful. The unquiet mind of Monty Python's Terry Gilliam has done it again. While Imaginarium is definitely more accessible than his 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 anythin, the unfortunate death of Aussie star Heath Ledger (pic) this time last year has improved the movie, as the good director has been tellin the press that "the movie made itself" when initially he thought it was good as dead. Recruitin only friends of Ledger (Johnny Depp, Colin Firth and Jude Law, as adjudicated by Gilliam) to shoot the bits that he 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 (2009) at the time.
Verne Troyer
Perennial wonderment:
There are reports that Ledger was monkeyin about in a scene and the director said to him: "I know what you're doin... you're doin Johnny Depp!" How strange it must have felt for Depp when he learned this. The two do have similar qualities, don't they?
I can't remember if I cried:
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.
God knows what's goin on here.
Most memorable line:
Maybe this was the problem. I don't remember any lines. Just a lot of talkin.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Like all of Gilliam's works, The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus is impressive with a chance of engrossin, but operates at a wavelength beyond those whose appreciation for fantasy don't fall too far from, say Lord Of The Rings. Watchin Gilliam is like watchin Lynch and Burton at the same time. Well, at least we can respect old hand Gilliam for stickin to his integrity. After all, he did reportedly snub Tom Cruise when approached for one of the three replacement roles.★★ 1/2