Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

WORTH-IT: (Terry Gilliam) For anyone who doesn't know, Gilliam's twisted, fantastical, devilish Imaginarium was the late Heath Ledger's last acting gig. He passed before filming was complete, leaving Gilliam with his tall tale unfinished--and no lead. He and co-writer Charles McKeown sat back down to re-work round 2, bringing in Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to split Ledger's character. Although hard to imagine how one could simply substitute faces and expect it to work was questionable in my mind, but the duo did it, and flawlessly no less. Depp's appearance even gave me goosebumps (yes, this might be a little based in bias)- he does a fantastic job and leaves shoes too big for either of the other Ledgers to fill. And though I won't spoil how he does it, their creativity amazed me. No one would know an actor died halfway through the story.

To give you a little background, the imaginarium is a magical world completely fabricated from literally, your wildest dreams. One simply steps through the mirror and basks in every one of their fantasies come true. Its a journey of rediscovery and liberation, helping save souls and clean up bad eggs. Yes, the lines are fuzzy and not a lot makes sense, but we've come to expect that with Mr. Gilliam, haven't we? So, we're going with it.

The selling point for this film is the candy land carnival brought to life on screen. Bright colors, cartoon people and chocolate rivers making it a big top of entertainment wrapped up in two hours. The nonsense matters little, really... at least not to the general public. In my opinion, it doesn't have to. Life is nonsense often, dreams certainly don't make sense, and ultimately it's the what-ifs and the fantasies that make the journey so interesting. See this film to laugh out loud and exercise your imagination, while challenging your youth and spirit. We will surely miss Heath Ledger, as this script added to a short set of films just beginning to explore the depth of talent the young man had.

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