Monday, May 3, 2010

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus DVD review

You know; as a movie lover, I look forward to movies that are "different". That movie, that "different", unique movie that I looked forward to was The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

As the news was coming out, we kept you up to date. The passing of Heath Ledger, would the movie be completed or not, how, etc? The movie was completed; with the help of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell sharing the same role as Heath Ledger. You might ask yourself, how did they make it work? Well, without giving anything away... it works! Let's get to what I liked and didn't like.

What I liked:
The Story
If you read this blog, even a little bit, you'll know how upset I have been with Hollywood the past year or so; why? Because there are no more risks taken, there's no more creativity. It's a remake here, a reboot there and the studios make a boat load of money. Then, every so often, I get to see a movie like 'Parnassus'. Director Terry Gilliam truly is a visionary. I have to admit, I haven't seen all of his work, but visionary is the easiest way to explain it.

He wrote the script and it's great! The story is very unique. The story of fantasy vs. reality, good vs. evil, easy and difficult choices in life. That all comes together in this movie. I'm watching the movie thinking to myself, "I haven't seen anything like this in a long long time". The special effects are top notch, something I didn't expect solely based on the trailer. The imaginary world is cartoony and it's on purpose. It works great.

The Acting
I posted a few months before the movie premiered that there was Oscar talk for Heath Ledger. It's a valid argument. Ledger is amazing in this film; he's charming, he's mysterious, he's smooth, all of the above. He's so good, it really is depressing that we wont see him again in new movies.

Model turned actress Lily Cole did well; but really could have been replaced by any other pretty face in the world. Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell did great with what little screen time they had in the film. All three actors channeled Ledger's performance and were able to give it their own person spin. Christopher Plummer is great as Dr. Parnassus, but really is a supporting character in this. Ready for this?... Verne Troyer is really good in this movie. Other than the Austin Power movies, I've never really seen him act. He's not bad, and plays a very caring sidekick to Plummer's character. Great cast.

What I didn't like:
The Score
Some people don't give a hoot about this, but I do. The score can help a movie tremendously. It can help set the mood, help with pacing, emotion, etc. The score is so flat, it's only because of great performances the movie succeeds during slow, plot driven parts in the movie. Pay close attention if you watch it, you'll see (or hear rather) exactly what I mean.

The Editing/Pacing
This is more of a sub-section to the score, but it needs to addressed. I can see where the general public didn't like the film. I can understand the criticism the film received, but I think it could have been averted. The editing and pacing of the movie are so off. Quick sudden changes in pace leave you scratching your head. The editing felt like it cheated the audience at times. Cutting away from action, cameras showing things that have nothing to do with the scene, etc. That could be a bad cinematographer, but still. Small things that had a huge effect on the movie.

The DVD and Blu-Ray are now available. There's a few, very cool, special features to keep us busy. I especially like how this DVD succeeded where The Dark Knight failed... giving us more Ledger! I never understood why Christopher Nolan opted to keep Ledger out of the special features, but oh well. Gilliam has a wardrobe test featuring Ledger as well as an interview about the film he gave before his untimely death.

Check out this movie and lets compare points. I enjoyed it, and really loved the creativity of the story. Let me know what you think.

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